How To Be Popular During These Times

By Dr. Robert Wallace

December 17, 2020 5 min read

DR. WALLACE: I was so excited to finally be old enough to be in high school, join clubs, play sports and make new friends, but none of that happened due the worldwide pandemic. Now our entire high school is learning from home via videoconferencing.

This makes me really depressed since I was so looking forward to meeting new people, learning where to hang out on campus and navigating my high school as a new freshman. I'm a social girl, and I thrive in social situations! I now feel like my best attributes are being stifled and that I'm just another face on a video screen.

How do I succeed socially when everything in this stupid new world is remote? — Frustrated High School Student, via email

FRUSTRATED HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Be friendly; smile; and reach out to start conversations online. Remember that everyone in your class has to make the very same adjustments you're making. All of you are now faced with the challenge of learning how to communicate remotely, so it's actually a level playing field if you look at it this way.

Let your big, friendly personality shine through! There will be opportunities if you keep an eye out for them. Stay upbeat, and encourage your fellow classmates. Many young people respond well to positivity, so be sure to stay positive at all times and make the best of the unusual circumstance you are now dealing with.

The good news is that this COVID-19 pandemic will end at some point, and there appear to be several successful vaccines about to be launched in the U.S. and around the world as we head into 2021. Fortunately, this has impacted only your freshman year so far, and if you're lucky, you may get three full years of on-campus learning in your future.


DR. WALLACE: My brother is 16, and he lies about everything and anything at any time! Well, at least, I think he lies about everything since there are so many times he says things that I have firsthand knowledge about that are not true. So, when I hear my brother say other things that I don't have specific knowledge about, I just assume he's lying about that, too.

My brother tells his friends that he's an expert motorcycle rider, and I know he's never ridden a motorcycle because my dad forbids it. Once, when my dad was not home, our uncle came over and asked my brother if he just wanted to ride his motorcycle for 30 yards down our alley, and my brother admitted he didn't even know how to ride it.

In addition, my brother tells his girlfriend that he isn't dating other people, but he does date other girls behind her back, seemingly every chance he gets. Maybe it's not a big deal that he doesn't tell the truth, but we were taught by our parents to tell the truth, and I just don't understand why he thinks it's cool to lie to everyone all the time.

My question is, should I tell my parents my brother's lying, or should I just have a conversation with him and ask him why he's such a lying puppy? — The Honest Brother, via email

THE HONEST BROTHER: The reason why your parents told you to tell the truth is because telling the truth is always the easiest, most honorable thing to do. Telling the truth demonstrates good character and will help you avoid many difficult situations.

Your brother is being deceitful, and I'm not sure why, but it could possibly involve self-esteem issues.

You could engage your brother directly at first and discuss this issue with him, but be prepared to receive some pushback. It's likely that he won't be interested in turning over a new leaf, but you can tell him that you'll stay out of his business and his lies unless safety and/or severe consequences for others might be at risk due to his dishonesty. When you do bring the issue up, do so in a low-key way, and tell him you'd really like to help him if ever he would like to make a change in his behavior. I call it "planting the seed," as in, you put the idea in his head and then you back off and don't push it further.

This way, you've put him on notice that you might reveal one of his future lies if it could seriously impact someone, and you've also have given him a potential path to making positive changes if he ever reaches the point where he seriously would like to seek to do so.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: StartupStockPhotos at Pixabay

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