I've been thinking a bit lately about that old question of what advice i'd give to my younger self if i could. Thinking about this the other week, i realised that some of the things i came up with may be just as relevant for me now as then. Unfortunately, i've since forgotten much of what i had in mind. So i'm going to try to work out what i was thinking, put those thoughts down here and hopefully fill in the gaps as they come to mind again:
1. Never, ever, try to impress people. Don't try to be cool or clever or funny, don't try to fit in or be accepted, and don't look for approval or validation from anyone else. Instead, always look for opportunities to give validation and acceptance to other people. Don't try to make friends, but try to be a friend for whoever needs one.
2. Don't go out looking to get lucky. Ever. Don't go to a party or club or enter a conversation in the hope that it will lead to some hot and steamy sexytime. If the occasion arises where you get a real sense of mutual attraction, by all means explore it further and see what happens, but don't set out with that objective in mind, on the lookout for suitable candidates to hit on. Don't be that guy.
3. Listen more than you speak. Hear what others have to say, take a genuine interest in their lives and stories, and don't just wait for your turn to talk. As the old saying goes, "seek first to understand, then to be understood". See also point no. 1.
4. Base your self respect on maintaining a sincere and positive motivation and trying your best to do the right thing. Listen to that little voice that tells you when you're doing something to be embarrassed or ashamed about, but when you know that your motivation is good and unselfish, rely on that as your source of self confidence and direction.
5. Try to make a positive difference in the world, and base your long term plans around that as a primary goal. If possible, look for a career path that will have real meaning for you and make a real contribution to the world, not just pay the rent.
While no. 2 isn't really relevant any more, and 5 is an ongoing struggle (and maybe a ship that's already sailed), i think the other three points are worth listening to and bearing in mind even now.