“FYI: For Your Info,” New Era, June 1997, 34–37
by Jeanette Waite Bennett
Do you ever feel like you’re on the outside, watching everyone else have the laughs and the friendships? If you’ve ever felt like that, especially at church, it doesn’t have to be that way. Feeling alone happens to everybody at some time or another, but here are some ways to help you accentuate your talents and abilities so that you feel more comfortable and can be a better friend.
Things to Put on Your “To Do” List
Be patient. Things won’t change overnight, but your attitude can. Don’t quit going to church if you don’t feel comfortable at first.
Smile. Others will smile back at you.
Volunteer to help plan or work on an activity. Being in the middle of things will help you feel like you belong, and people are usually eager for a willing helper.
Make eye contact when you’re speaking with people.
Cultivate and share your talents. When you feel comfortable about yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable around other people.
Good grooming habits and clean clothes will probably make you feel more confident when you’re around others.
Find things you have in common with others. Riding bikes, playing the piano, and studying are a few things that are more fun with more than one person. Plus, focusing on an activity rather than yourself, will help you feel less self-conscious and shy.
Focus on Others
Set goals. Try giving yourself an assignment, such as meeting two or three new people a week.
Talk to others about themselves. Learn the art of asking questions and complimenting others.
Learn people’s names and use them when addressing others.
Befriend others who seem lonely. As the saying goes, “Whenever you’re down, whenever you’re blue, just help another who’s bluer than you.”
The Lord Is on Your Side
Read the Book of Mormon every day. Its calming influence will put you in a good frame of mind, not only to meet others, but to set a good example, too.
Remember you’re not alone. If you ever start feeling sorry for yourself, try getting on your knees. Heavenly Father will always understand.
The Savior endured hardships and persecution that made him feel unwanted by his peers. Remembering his sacrifice will help you put things in the proper perspective.
Ask the Lord to make weak things strong unto you. Heavenly Father won’t give you any trials that are too hard to bear. If you sincerely desire to be more friendly and comfortable, he will help you.
When you think of the Netherlands, you probably think of wooden shoes, tulips, and windmills. But the Netherlands is also home to youth who are strong in the gospel. Here’s what some of them had to say about their testimonies and beliefs in gospel principles:
“I was home-teaching and had to give the lesson. I talked about Jesus Christ, the Resurrection, and life after death. While I was teaching the lesson, I felt it was true. I almost cried because I really felt it deep inside me.”
—Jos Reijnders, age 16
“I keep to my standards, and my friends know what I stand for. I can have fun without drinking and using drugs.”
—Talita van der Put, age 17
“I received a testimony through reading the scriptures daily with my father. Each morning, we read scriptures together and work on my home-study seminary course.”
—Robert Kat, age 14
“One of my friends joined the Church last year. I had taken her to church and had invited her to activities. She started to get involved and wanted to know more, and eventually she was baptized.”
—Tanya Broekman, age 16
The Las Vegas Nevada Redrock Stake might seem a funny place for stars to be born. But youth there really shined when they put on a play called “Star Child” for their stake as part of their youth conference activities. The play, which focuses on some of the same eternal principles that are important to know before entering the temple, provided a lot of fun for the youth and great entertainment and learning for the audiences. And while there were plenty of challenges, the youth all say they feel they had heavenly help making the play a success.
These priests from the Bend Third Ward, Bend Oregon Stake, made it! They biked along the Oregon coastline and crossed the California border in four and a half days. To accomplish their goal, the boys had to average 80 miles per day. To keep their bodies going, the young men ate mass quantities of bananas, bagels, and pasta. To keep their minds and spirits going, the boys sang hymns while they rode.
“It sounds a little weird,” says Matt Dustin. “But it worked. By singing as a group, we stayed together. We also stayed happy and cheerful.”
When Barbara Jinx Boquecosa, 18, of Mandaue, Philippines, and the rest of her family became less active, she noticed the difference in her life immediately. “When we stopped going to church, there was no peace in our home, and I really missed it,” she says. “I felt I was responsible to get us back active again, so I encouraged my family to go back.” That was more than a year ago, and since then, Barbara, her parents, and her two brothers and one sister have returned to full activity in the Mandaue Fourth Branch, Mandaue Stake. “It’s really a different feeling to be active in the Church. I can’t describe the happiness that I feel.”
Young Women in the Scotch Plains Ward, Morristown New Jersey Stake, went out on a limb for scripture study. What started out as a project for the “Experiment upon the Word” program has turned into a growing tradition.
Each girl set a goal for personal scripture study and wrote it on a piece of fruit made from construction paper. For each week that she reached her goal, every girl put a leaf on the tree, which is now loaded with them!
“Reading the scriptures has helped me in my life. It has made me feel more peaceful, and it has given me more faith in the gospel,” says one Beehive.
“Experiment upon the Word” has ended, but the girls in Scotch Plains are still adding leaves to their tree and building testimonies that are firmly rooted in the scriptures.
Young Women in the New River Virginia Stake spent some time on the Appalachian Trail last year as part of their girls’ camp “Adventurer” experience. They discovered that their hike had many parallels with their lives. Here are some of the things they learned on the trail that will help them in life:
Carrying a useless burden, whether it be extra gear in your pack or unresolved sin on your conscience, really slows you down.
Using a map is a good idea on the trail. In life, reading scriptures and following Church leaders makes the way much easier.
Going downhill can be just as hard or even harder than going uphill, and the rewards of going uphill are much greater.
Working together makes the way easier for everyone.
Enduring the difficult times (and climbs) makes the easy times even more enjoyable! (See 2 Ne. 2:11.)
As we struggle, we learn. Ultimately, we achieve.
“I remember hearing once that ‘it is in the temple where we learn to become perfect.’ I now take time every week to go to the temple and sit on the grounds or do baptisms. I learn so much there that nothing could take me away from my ‘temple time.’
“So many wonderful things have happened in the temple, things that leave me with a fire of truth and light that burns stronger every day. I find myself thinking more of Christ. What a wonderful strength and comfort my time at or in the temple is to me!
“Even if there isn’t a temple nearby, it’s important to spend time on spiritual things like reading the scriptures, praying, and being charitable.”
—Anna Sorensen, West Jordan, Utah