Inspired

Ask Jules Vol. 1

I absolutely love receiving all your emails! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and trusting your concerns with me. If I didn’t answer your letter this week, keep checking back because I will try to get to as many as possible.

xo
Jules

Hello!
I just started college in August and have found myself having a hard time making friends. Granted, it is only the first semester and I still have quite a while for making friends. The biggest issue I have run into is how much partying people do around here, and by partying, I mean drinking. I choose not to drink because my family has a long line of substance abuse. This puts me at a higher risk of addiction, and I have no desire to test those waters. I don’t particularly mind if other people party, but that just isn’t something I want to participate in… unfortunately that means I miss out on a lot of opportunities to connect with other people.
My friends understand and support my decision to not drink, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on some rite of passage. Is there any advice you might offer to me and other students like me? Is there a way for me to connect with my peers that doesn’t involve drinking?
Thanks!
Cassidy

Cassidy,
First of all, I respect you so much for not only recognizing what doesn’t work for you but also for refusing to conform to what works for others. That takes a very strong and special person! I know what it’s like to miss out on things. Often I have to keep a very strict regimen when it comes to eating and drinking clean, plus going to sleep extra early in order to keep up with work demands. Doing what’s best for me sometimes means I’m not able to join my friends in whatever they’re doing. Like you, it used to bum me out because who wants to miss out on a good time? I quickly learned there are many other social activities that allow me to connect with others in ways that promote a healthier lifestyle. My advice for you is to be proactive and organize these alternative activities. Reach out to friends or friends of friends and invite them to join you. It may seem like all anyone wants to do is party but you’ll be surprised how many of your peers will appreciate a break from beer pong.

Some of my favorites:
• bowling is a blast whether you’re a beginner or pro
• host a pot-luck dinner party (themes are good!)
• movie night: have everyone come in pjs, bring a pillow and a blanket. You supply the film, hot cocoa, candy and popcorn (a must).
• volunteer: find an organization that hands out hot meals to homeless or collects toys for kids

Readers – if you have any other ideas for Cassidy, please leave them in the comments!
Good luck, Cassidy! Keep being you!

xo
Jules

Julianne,
So I’m 18 years old, well… I’ll be 19 tomorrow, but that’s beside the point. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I just started college and everyone seems to have had multiple partners or at least one, and here I am, single. That’s been the status of my relationship my whole life. Everyone seems to think I’m strange because I’ve never dated anyone, and honestly I get mocked and teased about it quite often. I’m just not sure what I should do or how to respond to people in this situation.
Autumn

Autumn,
Personally, I think it’s pretty cool you’ve waited for someone extra special to come along to start dating. As far as getting mocked and teased, you have two options. You can either choose not to let their words get to you, or tell your friends they’re hurting your feelings and you wish they’d stop. If you’re not ready to date, don’t date. Life is full of other experiences to be had! Whatever is meant to happen will happen when it’s supposed to. When you are ready, I suggest making a list of qualities you’re looking for in a potential partner (some of mine include: honest and trustworthy, nice to strangers, loves their family, loves DOGS! etc.). Let that list guide you through the dating world, helping you decide who is right for you. This list is going to change and grow over time, trust me!

xo
Jules

Julianne,
My name’s Bella and I’m going through a tough time with one of my friends. We used to be best friends — inseparable — but we’ve grown apart. I want to fix our friendship but it feels like she’s replaced me and doesn’t care that we’re not close anymore. The whole situation makes me very sad and I don’t know what to do :(.
Isabella

Bella,
I’m sorry you are feeling so sad. Friendships sometimes do come and go in waves as we grow and go in different directions. I have had this happen to me many times over and over so I understand how you feel. Have you told your friend about your feelings? If you’ve tried communicating this to her and she’s not being responsive, maybe it’s time to focus on the friends who are being present. Make plans with them and keep yourself busy with people who appreciate what an awesome girl you are! Chances are she’ll come back around and when she does, you can talk about what happened and possibly reconnect. Hope that helps!
Sending you big hugs.

xo
Jules

Hi Julianne,
I first have to say how big of a fan I am. I was so excited when you posted this for advice! I’ve been dancing since I was two and just graduated college with a degree in math adolescent education and a minor in dance. I wondered how realistic it is for a plus size dancer to make it in the dance world? I have training in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, musical theater and ballroom. I choreograph for most of the schools and community theatre groups where I live, and teach at three different studios. Dance is truly my passion but one thing has always set me back is my weight; I’m currently a size 16. I would love to get tips on your thoughts of sizes and possible weight loss help.

Courtney

Courtney,
You are trained, you choreograph, and you teach… Sounds to me like you are a dancer making it in the dance world! Your weight will only set you back if you allow it to. Not everyone has the same standard when it comes to dance. Continue to let your talent, passion and your heart lead you exactly where you want and deserve to be.

xo
Jules

Have a question for me? Email askjuleshough@gmail.com and I’ll try to help!

photo credit: anyaberkut

Julianne Hough
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Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough is just trying to be a nice person who dances as often as possible, usually in public. She recently wifed up to NHL star Brooks Laich and is the proud dog-mom of two pups, Lexi & Harley (they’re the real brains behind everything).
Julianne Hough
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  • Emily Miller

    All of Julianne’s answers were pretty spot on! One this for Bella, just remember that sometimes it hurts more to keep people in your life then it would to let them go. I have noticed that as I grow up, what I look for in friends changes and because of that I have lost connection with some of my greatest friends. As much as it hurts to let them go sometimes it’s just something you have to do and it will make you a stronger person.

  • Brittany

    Autumn, I am in the same situation as you-literally. I’m turning 19 soon and have never had a boyfriend. Sometimes I feel depressed about it, but other times I value the time I have to myself, my family, and my friends. I guess whatever God has planned for me He has planned. All the best and know you’re not alone!

    Courtney, I am in the same boat as you. I am a size 18 and have been dancing since I was 4. I always feel insecure and like I’m not good enough. I want to try out for SYTYCD one day, but I want to wait until I lose weight. I also want to minor in dance. If this is the Courtney I think it is, then no worries. You dance with Derek!! You are already set in the dance world. Lol.

    I guess I don’t have to submit my questions now because they were two I was going to ask. Thanks Jules! ♡♡

  • Brittany

    Cassidy, I don’t drink either and everyone I meet looks at me like I am from another planet. I commend you for staying true to yourself. Friends will come around!

  • Nikaila

    you have wonderful advice. I really hope my question will be answered because the topic i discuss is something i struggle with regularly. Thanks Jules 🙂

  • Emily

    Cassidy, I chose not to drink until I turned 21, and even now that I am 21, I rarely drink. I also am not a big fan of parties, and have gone my whole college career without attending one, just because it is not something I am interested in. I have found friends who share the same interests, and I’m sure you will too, it just may take some time!
    Autumn, I am 21, almost 22, and I have never had a boyfriend or been on a date. You may feel like the only person, but trust me, you aren’t! There are plenty of people who are in high school or college and have never had a boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s not the end of the world, and one day when you least expect it, the right person will come along and make all the waiting worthwhile!

  • Kelli

    Cassidy, I had a similar experience when I was in college. I went out with my roommate and class mates to parties a few times my freshman year, but I wanted more out of my friendships than just partying together. Drinking wasn’t really my thing. Julianne gave you great advice! During my freshman year, I started a work study program at the college and that is where I met my friends. My co-workers and I got along really well, so one of us (I don’t remember who) suggested we start doing a weekly dinner. Every week, we’d go to someone’s apartment and we’d all pitch in and cook a meal together. It was so fun! Then that eventually led to us also meeting up each week to watch our favorite tv show together. It started a wonderful friendship that has lasted! We are 11 years down the road, married with children, and are spread all over the place and we still make it a point to meet up for a reunion about twice a year. That one suggestion for a dinner night has turned into a lifetime of wonderful friendships.

  • Ashley

    Bella,
    I went through two similar situations throughout college. I am now 27 and I have lost two very close friends. All I can say is that you can only put so much effort in before it is time to move on, and although it is hard to do so, there is only so much one person can do to show their love for someone. If I had any advice it would be to give it your all and try to set up a dinner or movie date with your friend and try your best, then you can say you gave it your all. I did have a friendship since I was 6 years old that went poorly in college, we didn’t talk for nearly a year. I reached out to her, telling her how much I missed her and how sorry I was for everything that happened and she felt the same. We rekindled our friendship and this past month I was her maid of honor in her wedding. Those were two different scenarios, but both times I reached out and expressed how I was feeling, gaining one of my best friends back, but losing two. True friendship will succeed. I hope this helps, because I am so glad that I reached out and tried with my friend Marissa, now I am a part of her life and her baby twinsies 🙂

    Ashley

  • Danielle Poirier

    My advice is for Cassidy. Much like everyone else, I had a very similar issue my first year in college. I have always been outgoing but hated the “party scene” and I started to get down on myself, thinking I probably wasn’t as outgoing and likable as I thought. So, I turned to a complete opposite direction and became an RA (resident assistant). To a lot of incoming students, RAs get a bad wrap, since they are commonly notorious for breaking up parties and getting students in trouble. Turns out, that is completely opposite of what is true. I gained so much of what I was missing when I was trying to find my niche freshman year. I found a group of people I could relate to, I gained a leadership position that not only made me feel confident, but taught me more about myself than I could have possible imagined. From meeting students across the globe, to organizing floor socials, helping mediate student conflicts, or hosting insane dance parties in the hallways, being an RA was a total blast. And as a boost, my busy schedule kept me more in control of my time, resulting in higher grades in my classes. I had so much fun as an RA and gained the personal strength I needed to get me through the next 4 years. If being an RA isn’t your thing, I hope you can find something at your school that allows you to connect with people and feel good!

    Xo
    Danielle

  • Kayla

    Cassidy and Autumn, boy oh boy am I similar to you! I am not a drinker at all and went away to university and was shocked at how many people partied. Some friends I didn’t even get to keep because they didn’t like how I was different from them. I suggest that you go out and dance for the sake of dating…if you are self conscious about not drinking just say you are a designated driver or are on anti biotics! It sounds silly but it works. Autumn, I am 27 and have never had a boyfriend…it seems crazy to even type that lol. I’ve learned it’s not about looks or personality, it’s about circumstances and I haven’t met anyone that is worth me spending that much time with and being committed to. Wait til you find someone who makes the wait worth it. Never settle!

  • Jaxta

    Cassidy, I’m 26 and I’ve never been in to drinking. I don’t really like the taste of alcohol and waking up feeling sick in the morning is a complete turn off. I’ve found that being the “day time friend” has really worked for me. My friends and I do fortnightly brunches (which allows them to go out the night before if they want to), or we do early dinner (before they go out to a party afterwards). We go to the movies, or concerts. Exercise dates are also a great alternative – hiking or going to the gym together.
    If there are exercise (or hobby) groups at your college you could join one, which makes meeting like-minded people easier. But most of all, I think it’s important to remember that a handful of great friends are better than a pile of acquaintances. Great friends wont care that you don’t like drinking, and will be happy to do other things. People who only want to party aren’t worth the effort because they’re fundamentally different, and your friendships will always be work. Good luck!!

    Autumn, I honestly think that never having had a boyfriend is 100% okay!! It’s something that girls who’ve never had boyfriends feel insecure about…but people who have been in relationships won’t even think about enough to judge you – everyone is too caught up in their own issues.
    It’s easy to tie your self-worth to whether or not a guy has liked you, but ultimately, having a history of relationships doesn’t mean anything. If you’re kind, and generous and take care of yourself first, the guys will come. You just have to be in the right place at the right time, and that hasn’t happened for you yet. It will!! Just believe that. And in the meantime, hold your head high and work on being the best version of you you can be, don’t let others make you feel bad about it. 🙂

  • Jamie

    Cassidy- Definitely take partner dancing lessons. Studios usually have a monthly dance party where everyone can practice what they’ve learned. And there is no exclusivity. It’s understood that everyone dances with everyone whether they’re dating or not. AND dancers rarely drink! They’re too busy dancing! You can meet lots of fun people this way. I also think it would be cool to form a “cards” club where people come together to learn and play older card games like Bridge or Pinnocle. Autumn- My dad had a saying “It’s better to be single than with someone you can’t stand.”

  • Hadar Lourie

    This is such a great idea!! Love this.

  • Salima

    Hey Jules,

    How much time do you take to answer to the e-mails ?

    Cheers
    Sali xx.