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Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Intimidating Stares, Self-Conscious About Challenges, Smothering Relationships

Question from Marina

I have a crush on this guy who always has this cold expression on his face. He is really quiet in class and acts like he doesn’t give a shit about school.

I don’t know if he knows that I like him or not, but this one day in class I was talking to a guy friend and at the corner of my eye I see him staring at me with a blunt and dry expression. He then turned to talk to his friend and they both looked at me. Throughout the period, I felt nervous and embarrassed because they were staring and making me feel very uncomfortable.

The next day, he began to stare at me in class again and his expression was intense. I turned and we made eye contact. I expected him to look away, but instead he continued to stare at me, almost like he was studying me.

At one point he was handing out papers. He gave me too many many and when I went to hand some back he bumped into me on purpose it seemed.

I may be overthinking it. What does this mean? Like what is he trying to pull here? Because he still continues to stare at me in class and watch every single one of my moves ... Please help me! I am freaking out.

Weezy

I think you should be careful. His behavior sounds kind of predatory to me. It feels like he’s both scoping you and intimidating you. If he wants to know you, he needs to do much better than this. You can try smiling at him or saying something friendly or ignoring him completely.

I would say you need to shut this game down immediately. Let him know it is not working on you. You are a person with thoughts and ideas and hopes and dreams. Nobody gets to just stare at you and assess you. Frankly, that’s rude. If he is that interested, he needs to speak.

(Stephan Erdman - Authentic Game video)

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Question from Ariel

I have got ADHD and depression. Everyone in my year thinks I’m weird, and I want to tell them but the last time I told people I got bullied.

Weezy

Every kid who thinks you’re weird has something about him or herself that they would rather you didn’t know. They all have something. Most have more than one thing. Depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD, psoriasis, toenail fungus ... You name it. They have one thing or another thing, or many things.

You are not weird. You are distinctive. Why blend in? Do your own thing. Be your own true self. Your only obligation to others is that you treat them with kindness and respect.

Your particular diagnoses are nobody’s business unless or until you choose to share that information. I advise that you do that only after you have made a true friend. If you need a friend, be a friend. Soon enough you will come to understand that being unique is a blessing.

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Question from Marla

I’ve been involved with a guy for a few months. Our relationship is not quite defined because we agreed that a romantic relationship is not an option right now. We clicked immediately and harmoniously, and it evolved into us spending A LOT of time together.

We’ve had some disagreements, all centered around him accusing me of asking too much of him. Recently, he has been acting very distant and has stopped coming over, which caused me to worry that our friendship isn’t as tight as I’d hoped.

I had him come over and we talked — a lot ... I told him how I feel that the vibe has changed. He said he feels that he’s in the same place he’s been in the whole time, and I’ve just been asking him to come over way too much lately and I ask too many questions about us.

So, I asked him how he feels about me. He said, “I feel like we’re friends ... I feel like you’re a good friend.” I told him to be more specific and he insisted I just wasn’t accepting his answer because I wanted to hear something different. He said to me, “I think you like me ... a lot.” I couldn’t deny it but I said, “What does that have to do with anything?”

I then asked him, “Do you like me?” and he said “I like being around you.” So, I just said “You like me.” He laughed and stared at me. I said, “Am I wrong?” I just stared back. He put his arm around me and pulled me close. He alternated between staring at me, then nothing for five minutes ... that is all.

Weezy

This guy loves you and he loves hanging out with you. But, he knows that this comes with strings attached. You want more right now. He is not ready or willing to give you what you need. That makes him feel obligated and guilty.

You two can talk for hours and hours about this but that won’t change the reality of your situation. This is a friendship out of balance. He wants to be good friends. You want more. You will tend to read what you want to see and hear into everything he says and does. That will cause him to pull away.

I have been in this exact situation ... But trust me, when I started dating my husband it was different and easy. We were a couple. That was abundantly clear. The doubt and fear and worry and yearning were gone. Things just flowed into a romantic relationship. When it’s right, you will know it.

Stop peppering this guy with questions and scenarios designed to paint him into the corner you want him to occupy. He won’t go there. He wants to be your good pal. If that will always leave you wanting more than this is not the friendship for you. Pull away and let your heart heal. We can’t bend emotional energy into something it is not.

Real romantic love is really going to happen for you, just probably not with this guy. So give this a rest and keep your heart open to other options.

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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 (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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