Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 7:35 pm | Overcast 65º

 
 
 
 

Louise Palanker: Bullying, Talking to a First Crush, Boyfriend ‘Likes’ a Girl’s Selfie

Question from Johnny V.

I Am 12 And I Have A lot Of People Bullying Me. I Am Really Depressed And Upset. Can You Please Give Me Some Advice?

Weezy

Start with one good friend and recruit that person to help you. Bullies are cowards and if two or more people stand up to them and make a fuss, they do not like it and they will usually back down. Bullies would love to continue bullying you slyly and covertly while everyone else cowers in fear. A bully is often someone who is being bullied at home or someone with a history of being bullied. For example, an eighth-grade bully may have been a fourth-grade victim.

I don’t believe that ignoring the bully works. The problem is that you may try, but you won’t really be able to truly ignore horrible words and deeds. You will flinch. Your shoulders will sink. Your face will reveal that this is getting to you.

Instead, make a plan with your friend to turn, face the bully and say, very loudly, “Really? This is a thing you need to be doing with your time?” Or, “Just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.” Then have your friend add, “Yeah! Cut it out already!” Both of you need to be nice and loud. Draw attention to the behavior of the bully.

99 percent of the kids at your school are very uncomfortable with your being bullied. They don’t like it, but they are too afraid to do something. All you need to do is turn the tide.

There are far more nice people in the world than there are bullies. Do not let the bullies run your school. Kindness will always win. Give people a chance to do the right thing and they will. It starts with one bystander. One voice. Recruit that person and stop the bullies.

Watch what one kid did to turn the tide toward kindness at his school:

(WestJet video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Valerie T.

Should I tell my crush that I like him and I miss him? I don’t want things to get too awkward?

Weezy

If you and your crush are friends, then your liking him is already making things awkward. The truth just helps both of you gain the information you need to move forward accordingly.

If you are not yet friends, make it your goal to become better friends. But for the sake of this conversation, let’s assume that a friendship is already in place. Once one friend has a romantic interest in the other friend, then the friendship has already gone out of balance. He may see the two of you as just friends, while you will always be trying to read something into his every word and action. He may find your emotional investment confusing. For example, your feelings could be hurt very easily and that will be uncomfortable for him.

Once you state your truth, he has the information he needs to understand your behavior. Since you have now been honest and vulnerable, you can back up and give yourself space to heal if your feelings are not reciprocated. On the other hand, if he does like you as more than a friend, you have given him a clear path to tell you his truth.

How and when you tell him about your feelings is up to you, but I recommend that you do it face to face. You can say, “The truth is that I kind of like you.” Let him take the conversation from there.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Marissa D.

Do I have the right to get mad because my boyfriend “liked” this girl’s selfie on Instagram?

Weezy

You have a right to get mad if you feel mad. Are you justified in being mad? Let’s take a closer look.

I really love this question because it’s extremely valid and timely. It’s not a problem that existed 100 years ago. Although I am certain  it would have been outrageously vexing to watch your suitor admire another woman’s portrait painting.

Things change, but people really don’t. If your new boyfriend was used to “liking” his friends’​ selfies before he had a girlfriend, then maybe you should let him continue doing that. It’s sort of like him saying, “Hey, I like your photo.” It is not necessarily him saying, “Hey, I think you are more beautiful than my girlfriend.” If he were to post flirty comments, that would be a different story.

First, you need to speak with your boyfriend about your expectations of behavior within this relationship. While you talk, explore what seems reasonable. You currently feel uncomfortable with your boyfriend “liking” a girl’s selfie. OK, that is understandable.

But where are you going to draw the line? Can he “like” a group shot of girls? Can you “like” a group shot of boys? What if one of his buddies is in the photo with the girls? What if it’s a photo that the girl took? What if it’s a picture of her cat? Come on, cats are adorable and they pretty much own the Internet.

The two of you need to talk this through and think it through. You will both continue to have friends. You will both continue to use social networking. What will make each of you feel safe and loved within this relationship while still allowing each other to interact with your peer group? Only healthy conversation will bring you the answers.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently airing on Showtime Networks), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Our Place, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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