Tips to Making New Friends

friends hugMaking new friends it is not always easy. Sometimes we try so hard to create new bonds and we wonder if it’s us or them.  Making friends doesn’t have to be difficult, so we asked our Latinitas familia to shir their advice on making new amigas (or amigos):

  1. Keep a friendly attitude.
    If you treat people badly, the only thing you are going to gain is that they will run away from you. Be nice to the new people you know, even if it is for a few minutes. You never know how or where you’re going to meet a friend, or future BFF, but being standoffish and mean makes it more difficult to form new friendships.
  2.  Smile
    Smiling will show that you want to make friends and that you are open for people to approach you. Try to not put on a fake smile; genuine smiles comes from within and demonstrates that you are interested in being friendly.
  3.  Say hi!
    It may sound kind of simple, but knowing someone’s name and greeting them makes you look more friendly and it shows that you acknowledge them.
  4.  Learn to be a good listener
    Demonstrate your interest in your potential friend by listening to what they have to say. From family to their pets, listening to what he/she likes, doesn’t like, or what is going on with them in his/her life will not only show that you care, but will also help establish common interests.
  5. Share your interests and be supportive
    If at first the other person does most of the talking, that’s fine! But don’t expect for this to be the case all the time. Be supportive of his/her interests while sharing some interests of your own. Complimenting other people is helpful if you mean it. Classmate has a cute new backpack? Don’t be afraid to tell them.
  6. Stop criticizing
    Judging is one of the worst qualities of human beings, everyone acts according to what it considers appropriate.
  7. Do not talk ONLY about yourself
    This can be annoying and uncomfortable. Contribute when and where you can, but forming a friendship is not a one way street.

Tips to a Festive Holiday

Make this holiday season a blast and create memories that will last with these helpful tips from Latinitas for a festive holiday.

Do Holiday Activities Together
“To have fun this holiday, do holiday activities that involve your whole family. For example, one of my favorite things to do during the holidays is bake. It has turned into a tradition. Every year we pick one thing to bake together as a family. Like cookies, brownies, of course adding holiday decorations to go along with the festive days. It is fun to do something different together plus the house gets all warm and smells delicious! Then we share what we did with a cup of hot chocolate,” adds Itzel Barraza.

Play Fun Games Together
“If you’re gonna spend it with your family, play fun games with them! I go to visit my grandparents every year, and after every dinner every day we spend it playing Loteria until 1 am,” shares Fandi Zapien.

Have a Good Attitude
“Start the holiday season with the right foot. Forgive all the things that made you sad or angry. If a person close to you, did something that you didn’t like…forgive them. Why would you focus on things that already passed instead of happiness?” adds Ariadne Venegas.

Smile
“Try to smile. I know that is hard to be happy all day, but at least on these special days. Start by sharing your smile on this holiday,” shares Ariadne Venegas.

Unplug & Focus on Loved Ones
“Try putting your phone down or turning off your computer at least for a little while and spend time together. We spend so much time on computers, cell phones and working. Instead of technology, you can spend time together playing board games, going ice skating, or baking, and talking to each other and spending time together,” says Itzel Barraza.

Plan a Family Outing
“Another good thing to do is plan a family day, go to the mall, downtown, to visit other relatives, but do it together,” shares Fandi Zapien.

Friendship Advice

Advice by Elizabeth Enriquez

Dear Latinitas, I’m having problems with my friends. How do we talk about our issues to find the best solution? ~A Hurt Friend
Having friends doesn’t always mean agreeing on everything.  It is healthy to have your differences, as long as those differences do not make you compromise your values.  I think you answered your own question, talking about the problems is the key.  Keep the lines of communication open.  A strong friendship is based on mutual respect and the right to express yourself for how you feel.~Elizabeth
 
Dear Latinitas, I feel like I don’t fit in. People dislike me because of the things I like. Basically I am different and people hate it. I don’t want to change the things that make me happy, but I would like to not be judged. ~Feeling Different
If you have to compromise who you are to make friends, you will never be able to be yourself.  It comes down to who you want to be and what role you want in life.  Would you like to be someone that isn’t genuine to be friends with others or rather be yourself and have those around you who respect and like the true you?  If you love who you are, why would you ever change that?~Elizabeth

#GrowingUpLatina

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Whether we grew up watching “Dora the Explorer” or “El Chavo del Ocho,” there are certain traditions that have shaped who we are today. However, because of all the countries that belong in the Hispanic community, it may seem like each heritage has a different culture. Nevertheless, our cultures have influenced our upbringing and, despite the many countries, Latinas have a lot in common.

Name: Vanessa Barajas

Age: 17

Heritage: Mexican

How has your culture influenced your life as you grow up Latina?

“I grew up with Catholic laws that somewhat shaped who I am. Things like don’t steal, respect your parents, and forgiveness. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that show this. For Thanksgiving we say a prayer for what we are thankful for then eat. For Christmas we go crazy. Each child much sing to baby Jesus (a little statue of him) while each of us take turns and swing him side to side in a blanket. We all have maracas and tanneries. Then pray some more.”

 

Name: Stephanie Argote

Age: 18

Heritage: Peruvian

How has your culture influenced your life as you grow up Latina?

“The greatest thing about my Peruvian culture is the music because I love to dance. Even though I love my cultures food, my favorite is ceviche, dancing is the main focus when there are get togethers or reunions. The music could be salsa, merengue, or my favorite artist Group Niche which represents and reminds us of who we are and where we’re from.”

Name: Sarah Thomas

Age: 19

Heritage: Guatemalan and Mexican

How has your culture influenced your life as you grow up Latina?

“Growing up Latina has made me proud to be who I am. Growing up Latina, I grew up Catholic and so being religious kind of gives me something to lean on when I’m having a rough time. I also grew up with having family as my #1. We always went to family parties and get togethers. Even now, my family and I still try to find a time to sit down and eat out on Sundays together. Since my parents are from outside the United States, I know the struggle they had to go through to come here and start from scratch. Thankfully my dad, through hard work and more than a decade without a vacation, now owns his own business. So we’re pretty fortunate to have better luck than others.”

How to Beat the Heat

Girls JumpingEl sol is going down but do not let it fool you, take the necessary precautions for the remaining days of sun. That’s why it’s important to watch out for signs of dehydration and alert familia and amigos as well.Be mindful when you go outside to have some fun and come up with a hydration plan. Agua is essential because it fuels your body and it helps you more than you think. Therefore the more you know the better, learn how much water you need to perform at your best and the most important part have fun under the sun.

Every city in the United States is different in so many ways and weather is one of them. No matter where in the country you live staying hydrated is very important. The weather changes constantly so it is important to stay updated and alert for any drastic changes in the weather conditions. For instance even though summer is practically over; precautions still have to be considered and taken when doing outdoor activities.

First things first what’s dehydration? It is basically the loss of water and salts that are essential for regular function of your body for this reason at the first sign of dehydration let someone knows. Not sure what to look for, well here is a list that will describe signs of dehydration.

  • Thirst: it may not be the best indicator that your body needs water but is a big one. At this point your body is already 1-2% dehydrated. (NAFC newsletter 08/2015.)
  • Urine color: the clearer the better. The more water your drink the clearer your urine output will be, dark urine is no good.
  • Mental Changes: You will feel dizzy, light-headed or confused.
  • Dry mouth: Dry lips and feeling thirsty after drinking water.

Planning ahead never hurts; a smart chica is always prepared to deal with whatever comes her way. Consider to use a daily planner that you can easily have access to it, either on your phone or on a notebook; think of activities that you must do outdoors and find alternatives when you have to be outside and you know it will be muy caluroso! Check the weather forecast in advance and do not let the sun melt your plans.

Agua, agua and more agua! You might be wondering how much water is enough? Although the exact amount of water needed per day has not been determined by scientists, it really depends on each person’s activity, diet and complexion. So if you are the type of chica who is all about outdoors activities bebe plenty of water the day before. A healthy number of water intake recommended is 8 glasses of water a day, that way you’ll be good to go and have plenty of energy the next day.

Did you know that the human body is made of approximately 65% of water? In fact, water is essential for life to exist; it makes us healthier, help us to maintain the balance of all of the body’s systems, avoid cramping in muscles, temperature control just to mention a couple of its benefits.

Water makes everything mucho mejor, have H2O with you at all times and it will always be your best ally. Keep in mind dehydration signs and share them with amigos and familia. If you want to know more and have an accurate number of water intake consult your primary doctor or a nutritionist to get more informed according to your complexion and lifestyle. Enjoy the end of the summer and have a healthy return to escuela.

Pope Francisco: Our First Latino Pope!

Pope-Francis-smilingOur current Pope, Pope Francisco, is the first Latin American Pope to grace the Vatican. Pope Francisco was born Mario Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina and worked as a nightclub bouncer before entering the seminary to become a Catholic priest. He then went on to become Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and when his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI resigned in 2014 he was voted into the papacy.

In office since the end of 2014, his election caused great celebration throughout Latin America as they cheered on the beginning of a new era, one in which the head of the Catholic Church and one of the most powerful world leaders, was Latino.

Many Latinos remember the moment they learned that a fellow Latino had been named as Pope. Maribel, 18, of Mexican descent and a devout Catholic, says that she recalls watching on television as Pope’s Francisco’s election was announced. She immediately jumped up cheering and screaming and her whole family gathered around to embrace and celebrate. “It’s not just because he speaks Spanish,” she says. “Latin America needs a Latino Pope who knows the problems in Latin America and how to deal with them.”

Laura, 19, says that she was shopping when she found out via text message, and that she left the store almost immediately to go to her parish Cathedral and give thanks for his election. There she found plenty of other Latinos gathered around praying a Rosary for their new Pope. She says, “I know the Pope is one of the most powerful figures in the world. Having him in office while bring more awareness and attention to our region of the world.”

But while most Hispanics were overjoyed that their new Pope was Argentine, others criticized Pope Francisco as ‘not Latino enough.’ An article published in Huffington Post: Latino Voices, entitled “Is Pope Francis Latino?” suggested that because the Pope’s parents migrated to Argentina from Italy before his birth, he is not Latino.

But why can’t Pope Francisco be Argentine just because his parents were immigrants? Latinos in the United States have heard this argument before, as others sometime criticize them as not ‘real’ Americans if their parents or grandparents came from elsewhere. But truth is, the Pope was born in Latin America, speaks Spanish, and is intimately aware of the culture and issues in the region. Discrimination against him based on the fact that his parents were immigrants takes away from the reality of the situation: Latin America has a Spanish-speaking Pope who was born and raised there and is dedicated to addressing their concerns. Pope Francisco himself has demonstrated his concern for Latin American affairs in his numerous critiques of income inequality in the region, and his urging of their leaders to adapt policies that support workers’ human dignity. He has also worked closely with the impoverished and marginalized peoples of Argentina. The world carefully watches and listens to the words of the Pope, and his repeated speeches and efforts concerning Latin America both revives cultural pride and encourages the rest of the world to heed the needs of the region.

Real Talk About Your Self-Esteem

Latinitas share their self-esteem advice, thoughts on true beauty, ideas on how media impacts girls and their confidence tips.

How does media negatively impact girls’ body image?
Media affects girls by making them think they are not pretty enough or that they are not wearing a pretty size and it makes girls want to change themselves in the wrong way.
-Jacklyn, Nicole & Kayla

 

Why is it important to have a good body image?

 

  • So they don’t have to feel bad about themselves.
  • So you could stay healthy.
  • So young teenage girls won’t self abuse themselves because they think they are ugly or hideous.
  • They will be happy with themselves and love life and not hate it.
  • So they could think good things about themselves and not think they are not pretty.
  • So they won’t lower their self-esteem.

-Destiny, Kendrea, Desiree, Julia, Lanal

 

What are the negative consequences of having a low self-esteem?

  • Harming yourself
  • Feeling less confident
  • Thinking low of yourself
  • Being angry
  • Feeling depressed and unpleasant.

-Layla, Ashley, Alex, Iris, Savanna

 

Why do you think photoshopping model photos is bad?

  • Because if they don’t like your picture they change it.
  • Because it is not the real you.
  • Even if you think you are pretty, they change you up.
  • You don’t look the same.

-Nevaeh, Chriss, Katelyn, Nicole

 

Do you think altered photos can hurt girl’s self-esteem?

  • It is awful because they don’t look that way and girls wish they were them.
  • It makes me angry because we want to be appreciated for who we are and not just what we look like.
  • It makes girls sad because they don’t appreciate how they look.
  • It makes girls sad because they don’t actually look that way.

-Avan, Dyani, Aileen

 

Why is it important not to compare yourself to models?

  • Because you are beautiful the way you are
  • You should just be yourself all the time
  • Models aren’t perfect they just use photoshop.

-Ayla & Amanda

 

What would you tell a friend if she wasn’t confident in herself?

  • To believe in yourself
  • To think positive
  • Don’t listen to other negative opinions
  • Be who you are

-Natalie, Alyssia, Natalia

 

What advice do you have to help girls boost their self-esteem?

  • Remember people don’t all look the same.
  • You are pretty in your own way.
  • We should focus on the brain and not just the body.
  • You are perfect the way you are.
  • You don’t need makeup to look perfect. You are beautiful the way you are.
  • Everyone is different.
  • We can’t all be models.
  • Say positive things about yourself.
  • Remember a lot of the models are photoshopped and don’t look that way for real.

-Amree, Tatiana, Johnnie, Diamond

Advice by & for Girls

Got a question? These girls have answers. Latinitas help girls solve their problems.

-How can me and my friend stop fighting over the same guy?

You should make a compromise decide whose best for him. I bet you’ll meet someone twice as better. – Danielle

 -My best friend ever has been hanging out lately with another girl that I don’t like so much. Although I have never spoken to this girl I don’t know if I should get mad or not?

You should not because you don’t know her! You never know you might end up liking her if you get the chance to talk to her.

-One of my best friends started to hang out with other friends and my best friend started ignoring me. I tried to play with her but she kicked me out, what should I do?.

Make another friend and she will go back with you – Brianna

 -I have a question I am fighting with my friend because they tell me what to do. What do I do?

You could tell them to stop or you could go with other friends and forget about them. – Sam

 -My friend and I were supposed to do a big project together. It was really important to me because it counts towards my grade and not her because it was voluntary for her class. We had to work on it, but every time she didn’t feel like working. Eventually, I just got frustrated. My teacher says I have to think about what’s best for me. I am thinking of kicking her out of the group. What should I do?

You should tell her to help you or you will just kick her out and you get all the credit.

 -Two of my friends that don’t like each other are fighting over me.

Well get them together and make them talk and be friends. – Josie

 -My friend likes a guy, but she think I like him too, but it don’t. I tell her that, but she won’t believe me. How can I prove that I don’t like her crush?

Just keep telling her. If that does not work just say that you like another boy for show. So if you like another boy, you cant like the other guy.

 -My friend (well kinda my friend) wants to play a game that all my other friends made up. The problem is that she always cheats and fights with everyone. I don’t want to hurt her feelings when I tell her that she can’t play anymore. How can I tell her not to play without hurting her feelings?

Just tell her nicely and she will not be hurt.

-I have a friend that does not hang out with our other friend. What can I do to fix it?

Tell them to talk about it so they fix it.

 

Surviving a Friendship Breakup

Breakups are hard. It’s even harder when it’s you and your best friend that are cutting ties. Whether it was a fight or you guys drifted apart because your interests changed, losing friends is a part of life. Of course, it’s a sad part that no one likes. But you will survive and figure a lot out about yourself along the way. If you and your BFF are no longer friends forever, there are things you can do to start to feel better again. Latinitas Girls and Latina leaders

Realize That it’s Normal

It may not make it hurt any less to know, but drifting away from friends is a normal part of life. You are at a point in your life when you are figuring out who you are. You are exploring your interests and different things are important to you now. Maybe you guys don’t have a lot in common anymore, and that is okay. Realizing that friendship breakups are normal is the first step to feeling better. You don’t have to blame yourself or wonder what went wrong.

Stay Away from Blame

Your first instinct might be to blame your friend or blame yourself. Don’t do that. Nothing will be accomplished by sulking over a fight or saying mean things about your friend. If you were in the wrong, apologize and mean it. If she doesn’t forgive you, then don’t keep beating yourself up over it. Know that you tried your best to make it right and now it is time to let it go and hope for the best. If she did something to you, accept her apology. It is up to you to decide if the friendship is worth continuing. Don’t keep blaming her. It won’t make the mistake reverse in time and not happen. Let it go or let her go. Of course everyone deserves some time to feel hurt, but realizing where you are both coming from keeps you from hating her or hating yourself.

Find What is Important to You

If you and your BFF stop talking, that doesn’t mean you will never have another best friend. Instead try joining a club of something that really interests you. If you like running, take up track. If you’ve always imagined yourself on Broadway or in movies, try out for the school play. Even if it isn’t the coolest thing, as long as you enjoy it you’ll enjoy hanging out with the people that you meet. You might have a lot in common and you’ll be on your way to being great friends. If you and your friend drifted apart because you became interested in different things, then make the most of the bad situation. You don’t have to have everything in common with your BFF, but exploring things that you like is a good way to meet people you like.

Losing a friend is always hard, but blaming yourself and playing it over and over in your head won’t make you feel any better. Give yourself time to feel sad and forgive yourself and your friend. Once you begin to move on and focus on you, you will be able to look back on the friendship a little more clearly.

Instagram & Your Self-Esteem

Is Instagram destroying girls’ self-esteem? Instagram, the newest social media to take the world by storm, is nothing but photos, with over 60 million new images uploaded everyday. Its popularity has ushered the era of the “selfie” into a whole new level of perfectionism. Before taking a selfie many girls spend a long time perfecting their hair, makeup and outfit. Then, they take dozens of photos of their own face, experimenting with different angles and lighting until they find an image to their liking. Then, they browse Instagram filters until deciding on the one that best flatters their features.

And those are just the regular girls. The Instagram “pros” as some call them take this art to a whole new level. Many are professional makeup artists who often utilize filters and airbrushing effects from apps outside of Instagram that will perfect skin and features even more. In fact, there are even apps out there that can change anything: eye color, size of eyes or nose, shape of cheekbones. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner are widely suspected of using such techniques to radically change their physical appearance in photos.

The “pros” that aren’t makeup artists are often professional fitness trainers, and they specialize in showing off their bodies. They too use body makeup and filters and the poses and lighting that most flatter their figure. Outside of Instagram most spend hours every day in the gym, and much of the rest of their time planning meals and eating accordingly.

Between the makeup artists and the professional gym rats it’s virtually impossible for a regular girl to emerge from the depths of Instagram feeling secure about her own appearance. After speaking to teenage girls about how Instagram affects their own self-esteem, the negative results are obvious. Most girls log off Instagram feeling discouraged about their own bodies, agonizing over perceived flaws and wondering how to ‘fix’ themselves, so that they can feel as beautiful as the Instagram “pros” with their hoards of fawning fans.

In fact, a study from University of Michigan that collected data about social media users found that those who spent more time browsing the virtual world were less happy than those who limited their exposure to social media. A similar study published in the research journal Cyberpsychology found that women who regularly post photos of themselves online feel the urge to compete for attention based on physical appearance. As a result, lack of ‘likes’ or comments on a photo causes self-esteem to plummet instantly.

“Instagram causes me a lot of anxiety sometimes,” Viridiana, age 15, says. “I’m always comparing myself to other girls wondering why they look so much better than me. Wishing I were more in shape. Or sad that I don’t have enough money to dress cooler.”

Laura, 17, echoes a similar sentiment. “Mostly I just wonder: why can’t I look like her?!”

Clearly unhappiness caused by social media is a common occurrence. So what’s a girl to do in a world dominated by social networks?

Follow people that you admire for their character.
There are three ways to keep self-esteem intact in an online world where people are presenting ‘perfected’ versions of themselves. One way is to limit time on social media and unfollow accounts that cause you to feel depressed or insecure. Instead of following accounts that make you doubt your self-worth look for those that inspire you to become the best version of yourself. Follow people that you admire for their character instead of their pretty face or fashionable clothes.

Remember no one looks as good in real life as they do online.
The second way to ward off self-esteem attacks is to keep in mind that no one looks as good in real life as they do online. At the end of the day no matter how much money we have or are how good we are with a makeup brush, we are all imperfect humans with skin problems and bad-hair days. The images on social media and in magazines are art, not reality.

Don’t just focus on outer beauty and focus on the importance of inner beauty.
Lastly, remember that appearance is but one aspect of who we are as humans. There are many ways to be beautiful. A toned stomach is attractive, but intelligence and kindness and passion are more so. The most beautiful people are able to endure and overcome hardship, and are compassionate towards others. While looks fade with age, those qualities will never lose their beauty. Laura says that when she starts to feel discouraged by images online or in a magazine, “I count my blessings and remember that I am surrounded by loving family and friends. I try hard every day to be a good person and work towards my dreams.” Now that’s beautiful!

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