"It's disgusting how people assume all these things about us."

Question

Hello Kids Help Phone! So, I go to a school where everyone is very flirty, insults each other for races, skin color, and more. And a lot of people feel the need to date someone even if they don't like them that way. And if they do it usually is a dare. Anyways me and my closest friend are pretty known in school and a lot of people want to be our friends just because we dress good, and are "pretty". And we revolve around a large amount of "cool" kids that don't really care about us as much as we'd like them to. And the fact that we know all these people and all these people know us in our school is weird because they don't even know us, or even talk to us, but they just assume were popular and cool because we look that way. And it's making me and my friend worried on what kind of behavior and reputation we are surrounded with. Such as fakes, two faces, racists, and more. The more controversy and rumors there are about you the cooler and more popular you become. And it's disgusting how people assume all these things about us yet they do it themselves. And also we know half of our friends are fake, talk bad stuff, and we know a lot of kids younger than us may think were b****s because of the rumors about us. We are sick and tired of how things work in our school. The worse you are the more friends you'll get, which to me and my friend is so stupid. Because of all this bullying(kind of) we started to do things to calm us down which aren't good. We started to vape and drink once in awhile together because of everything stupid that is happening, not only school but personal family problems. We know we have each other, so we do it and we know it's bad but we have no other person or thing that can help us relax and be there for us. So we decided to at least try drinking and stuff. We are disappointed but at the same time addicted. We want this school thing to stop because everything gets into our minds. We are out of focus and need advice ASAP! We don't know what to do. Please help

Answer from counsellor

I can see that you've chosen the hurt emoticon to indicate how you've been feeling. I'm hearing that you have been feeling a lot of pressure at school to hang around people that you don't really feel a connection to (aside from your close friend) and because of that, you're worried about the reputation you may have among your peers. I can sense that all of this has been affecting your well being in a negative way. I'm hearing that you're concerned about some unhealthy behaviours you've been engaging in as coping strategies. You mentioned that you were "addicted", which presents a problematic issue. In order to recover from any addiction, professional help and support is needed. This may be something that would be important for you to inquire about through your family doctor. As for the situation with your peers at school... from what I'm understanding, you don't want to be hanging around people you don't like or respect and you wish that things could change at your school. Might there be a way that you and your friend start the process of change? First, it would be important for you to figure out what it is you'd like to see change... you can't change people themselves... but maybe you can begin to facilitate change through some kind of charitable event or activity that you and your friend organize with the help of a trusted teacher or school counsellor. Perhaps you guys can start a program that would benefit others in some way... a peep support program, or a collection for homeless shelters or animal shelters. These are just a few examples to hopefully help you to start thinking about ideas that you like might to develop! Sometimes introducing an activity or program that help others see the importance of giving and caring about others can cause change in how some people behave and perceive things! Maybe that can be your goal for the new year... to plan something like this for your school with the help of staff members who work within the school! I hope that this has offered you some useful ideas! Be well.