- The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. Ernest Hemingway
Adjust Your Attitude
Be proud to strut your stuff
Having swagger is all about having confidence. If you just bought a new piece of clothing or are trying out a new hairdo and are starting to worry that you may look ridiculous, it will show. If you don't have faith in your appearance and are feeling iffy about your personal style or the words that come out of your mouth, then the people around you will start to doubt you as well. Whatever you're doing, own it. Don't look around, seek approval from others, or ask people if "it's okay" if you check out the movie you wanted to see or step into a funky clothing store. Don't spent hours looking in the mirror, checking yourself out, or asking your friends if your new kicks are ridiculous. Look in the mirror, know you look good, and walk on. Stand tall, walk with your head high and your shoulders up instead of slouching. Look ahead, not down at your feet or the floor, to let people know you're happy to be who you are and are proud to take up space.
Make it personal
Having swag isn't just about copying urban trends or mimicking your favorite rapper -- though your role models and friends can help influence your style, you should add your own personal flair to your wardrobe, your mannerisms, and your words. Figuring out what makes you unique is part of finding your personal brand, the thing that you can do that is undoubtedly a part of who you are. Here are some ways to make your swag personal: Maybe you like to dress urban chic as a girl, but you also love to rock pigtails once in a while. Maybe you're the only guy in your school who can make neon kicks look cool. Maybe you love giving a thumbs-up while winking in a way that's so corny that it becomes cool again. Maybe you're the guy who is always laughing, no matter what.
Don't be a hater
You may think that having swag means being so cool that you're surrounded by little underlings who are vying for your attention -- that you need to constantly put people down and make them feel like they're not good enough to prove how cool you are. Well, in fact, the opposite is true. To have swag, you have to be cool with everyone. This doesn't mean you should be best friends with everyone, or spend hours complementing or sucking up to everyone you see -- it just means that people should want to be around you because you're not consumed by hate, jealousy, and bitterness. You may think that putting people down will lift you up, but in reality, it'll just show how insecure you are. If people around you are hating, then you should check them or find some new friends to hang out with.
Hang out with people who make you want to be better
This doesn't mean you should latch on to the hip or popular kids at school just because you think it'll make you popular by association. It does mean that you should gravitate toward other people with swag because they'll make you know what it means to truly have swag, and because you'll be able pick up some tips on how to act and what to wear just by hanging around you. If you hang around some people you would describe as "dead weight" just because you're too nice or you've been friends for a long time, but they don't have much to offer, then it may be time to cut them loose. If you know some people with swag but you don't know them well, then take it slow. Don't just start trying to hang out with them all the time or they'll think you're a lackey.
Get inspired by your role models
Pick a few people that you admire, and let them guide you in your path to swaghood. They don't have to be the coolest people in the world, but they do have to inspire you in some way, whether it's because they make you want to pursue your dreams, kick your style up a notch, or even to improve on your lack of patience. Here are some role models that can inspire you: Someone in your family. Do you wish you had your mom's sense of humor or your grandma's ability to make anyone in the world feel better? Maybe you've always admired your older brother's work ethic. Do what you can to try to develop these qualities. Favorite musician. Do you love Mariah, Kanye, or Lady Gaga? Or are you more into the retro artists like Mick Jagger or Otis Redding? Whoever your favorite artist is, see what you can learn from him or her apart from the musical talent -- you can probably learn to be more independent, to have more fun, and to walk with style. Favorite athlete. What can you learn from LeBron, Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, or Coco Crisp that you can't find in the halls of your own school? Watch these athletes both on and off the field and find something you admire about them. Favorite public figure. Do you admire Obama, Wendy Davis, or even more outlandish figures like Snooki from the Jersey Shore or the comedian Bill Burr? Whoever you like, figure out what qualities you like about that person and what you can do to achieve them. Someone in your social circle. Find a role model right in your own friend group or community who can teach you a thing or two about life.
Stop caring what other people think
If you really want to have swag, then you should do whatever makes you happy and not care about how others may perceive you -- as long as you're not being offensive or hurting people in the process. You should wear and say what makes you feel good -- not what you think will impress the hip crowd at your school. If you're obsessed with impressing people and trying to please others, you'll never get their respect. If someone makes fun of your clothes or something you like to do, don't let them bring you down. If you stop wearing a certain outfit because you got picked on, you're just giving in. Wear it again with even more pride. It's okay to ask the people you care about for their advice and opinions -- it's not okay to ask your friends to validate every little thing you do or every thing you're thinking of doing.
A person with true swag is just as comfortable on his own as he is with a pack of friends. If you want to have swag, then you should work on being independent and being happy with doing your own thing instead of following what everyone else is doing just because you don't want to be forgotten or left out. To be independent, you have to develop your own interests, goals, and dreams. It's cool to spend a lot of time with your friends, but don't spend every minute of your free time being social. It's important to spend some time on your own to pursue your interests, whether it's writing songs, reading, or working out. Part of being independent is being an independent thinker. Don't be afraid to have your own thoughts instead of always agreeing with your friends just to avoid conflict. If your friends ask you to hang out but you'd rather do your own thing, level with them. They'll respect you even more if they know you have your own goals to work on.