Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 6:42 am | Fair 49º


Louise Palanker: Lying to Impress, Friendless and Feeling Alone, Memorization Tips

Question from Justin

Weezy, I really need help on bettering myself. I need tips on how to stop trying to impress others by even lying. If someone asks me if I go to college, I say yes, even though it’s not true.

When I’m in a conversation, I always feel the need to interrupt and mention a similar experience. I always apologize when I don’t understand something that was explained to me, and I also want to stop taking the blame for things that are not even my fault.

I know there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging your mistakes, but I feel like I overdo it, and that just makes me seem dumb. Do you have any tips??


Since all of your issues seem to be based in insecurity, I will suggest that you see a therapist so you can understand the root of your impulses. Now may be a good time to stop blaming yourself for something that may or may not have happened in your childhood. This will lift a weight.

Remember that children are basically reacting to their circumstances. If they make mistakes they should take responsibility and aim toward making corrections, but a child’s mistake — or any mistake, really — is just part of learning.

Mistakes offer us feedback that informs our adjustments. A mistake will never define you. The overall body of your behavior and content of your character is what best defines you.

How can you shift your circumstances so that you may more fully own your position? How can you feel better about the choices you make each day? How can you steer yourself down a path that encourages you to hold your head high?

Start with slight adjustments. If someone asks you if you are going to college, do not lie. Instead, you could say, “Not yet.”

Have you heard of the Improv Comedy Philosophy? The rules of improv begin with this cardinal decree ... “Never Deny.” Stated more positively, this is the “Yes, And...” philosophy. It accepts that the word “No” brings a dialogue to a screeching halt.

You may understand this on some level when you lie about going to college. But you do not have to lie. You can say, “Yes, and I will be signing up for classes at CC in the fall.”

That answer is so open ended and positive, it actually encourages you toward the understanding that you could go to college!

Much of your question indicates your deep fear that you will not be liked UNLESS ...

You believe you need to choreograph some sort of tap dance to trick people into liking you. So you feign experiences you have not had, you one-up the experiences of others, and you apologize for things that are not your fault. You are a chronic “pleaser.”

The irony is that all of your hard work is doomed to fail because people respond best to authenticity.

What if you knew for a fact that everyone feels inadequate in one area or another? Well, know it. Even really smart people may feel “dumb” at dating or “dumb” at dancing. Nobody feels across-the-board, 100-percent confident at everything. NOBODY!

So, what if you once again change your language? Instead of apologizing when you do not grasp something say, “OK, help me understand ...” People really love teaching others. Especially if you start with a compliment. Say, “Mark, you’re really good with technology. How do I use the time lapse on my iPhone?”

Take the focus off of yourself by noticing the great things you see in other people. Use the “Yes, and ...” philosophy and GO TO COLLEGE! Start with just one class. The next time someone asks if you go, you will get to say, “Yes, and how about you?”

Here is more about bringing the “Yes, And ...” philosophy into your life from Katie Freiling:

(KatieFreiling video)

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Question from Natalie

Help! I feel like everyone hates me. In fact I know that they do! They tell me.

I wish that I could be happy, but I’m not. My mom keeps saying I have no friends, and you know what? She’s right! They’re all leaving!

Life is really hard, and I’m tired of feeling this way over and over again! I just wanna go back to being that happy person I used to be. Life’ll always get the best of me! So I’m about ready to say I’m done. Oh, and don’t think I mean ending my life ... I just wanna be alone forever and be happy.


You won’t be happy if you are alone forever. I think you would really like to be happy and feel loved and appreciated.So, what can you do to make that happen?

First, let me say that growing up is hard. Kids often reach an age of overwhelming realization, which causes them to believe that life was so much easier when they were 7 and clueless.

Maybe it was. Nobody retains an accurate memory of what it was like to be 7, and 7-year-olds lack the cognitive ability, the perspective and the vocabulary to express their relative sense of happiness.

To bottom line it, we don’t get to stay 7. We have to grow up.

My view is that most of life gets easier but seems harder. Here’s what I mean: Now that you are older, you can make your own toast and and reach your toothbrush and your clothes match. BUT, you want more.

At 7, a Blues Clues marathon and a bowl of cheddar Pirate’s Booty may have kept you content for hours. Now, you need to be invited to that party and you need that text returned and you need your crush to like you back and you need to know that you are included.

In fact, seeking and finding social connections is the primary concern of adolescent children. However frustrated your mother may be with her life, she does not have the right to tell you that you have no friends. She is the mother. She needs to be part of the solution.

Your ability to nurture good friendships is a direct reflection of the kindness and nurturing you are receiving at home.

If your home life is pretty stressful, YOU can decide to break that pattern. Go to school and be the kindest, most nurturing friend anyone has ever had. Compliment people. Encourage them. Tell people that they did something well.

If you want a friend, BE a friend.

Dr. Dan Siegel explains the essence of adolescence:

(Dr. Dan Siegel video)

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Question from Andy

Any memorization tips? I have 25-30 days to memorize a poem and I have a terrible memory. Thanks!


People do learn differently. Some learn better through hearing. Some through reading. Some through writing. Some through repeating. Some through repeating while in motion.

I call it the walk and talk. Try all of these and see what works for you.

The key word here is “work.” Learning your poem will require work, so be willing to put some time into this task.

I suggest that you come to fully understand what your poem means. Don’t just attempt to memorize it. Truly know what you are reading, writing and saying.

As you go about committing this poem to memory, you will be teaching yourself how you best learn. Here is an approach you can try:

Read your poem into the recorder on your phone.

Play it back and listen.

If you do not understand the poem, look it up on the Internet and come to know what the author may have meant when he or she wrote it.

Now start playing the poem back a bit at a time. Stop the recording and try to say the next line.

Repeat until you know your poem.

Have fun with this!

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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, 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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