Your problems are not unworthy or petty. Your problems are your problems and they are giving you pain. I’m happy to try to be helpful.
To give your parents the benefit of the doubt: They may think that comparing you to your brother will inspire you to do better. Unfortunately, it’s a strategy that seldom works. Your brother is your brother. You are you. You each have talents and gifts and interests of your own. Sadly, pressuring you to be like your brother is preventing you from finding yourself.
At this point, you have adopted a strategy that may be relieving some of the pressure but is making things even tougher for you. Procrastinating and avoiding means that you don’t “fail” at something. You can tell yourself that if you did it, it would be fine. It’s a strategy that saves your pride but ultimately will set you back.
One thing you are apparently good at is social skills. You know how to make other people comfortable. Not everyone can do that. That’s an important asset in making friends. So — let’s start from the beginning.
I suggest you seriously cut back on extra-curricular activities that don’t give you joy. Not everyone is cut out for athletics. Not everyone can juggle many, many activities and do well.
Really think about what gives you satisfaction and makes you feel alive. I’m hoping that there is something within that realm that will put you in touch with people who share your interests. A bonus as far as your self-esteem goes would be if that activity makes some kind of contribution towards making the world a better place. If you get really engaged in that activity, chances are that friendships will naturally evolve — especially since you know how to make other people laugh.
Limit yourself to doing that activity and school. It’s better for you to do two things well instead of a lot of things badly. Many successful people are terrific at only one or two endeavors. Think about the famous people you have heard of. Most of them have focused on one major interest and have become very, very good at it.
Do try to talk to your parents. This is going to take every bit of maturity you’ve got. Calmly, tell them you understand that they mean well and want the best for you. Explain that you are very different from your brother and that being compared negatively to him is making you miserable. And here’s the most important thing: Give them a plan. Ask for their support in focusing on school and the one thing that you’ve chosen to give life more meaning. If they hear that you see a problem and have a strategy for solving it, they may feel relieved. They may be motivated to be helpful if they know what kind of help you need.
If you don’t succeed in getting their support, start working on your plan on your own. Stop relying on “luck” and take charge of your own life. Dress for success. Get enough sleep and take care of your body. Research does show that when we treat ourselves well and act “as if” we are already at our goal, we have a better chance of getting there.
Once you have some success, do enlist the help of your school counselor or a teacher you trust in talking to your folks. We parents don’t always get the kid we had in mind. Instead, we often get someone who shows us equally valuable traits that enrich our lives in unexpected ways.
I wish you well.