Sunday, December 17 , 2017, 7:29 pm | Smoke 48º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Pressure of Popularity, Afraid to Ask If a Guy Likes Me, Drinking

Question from Alexandria

I’m in this huge group of “popular” girls and I feel like everyone ignores me. I might be trying too hard. My best friend in the whole world has even just not been talking to me and she replaced me with this other girl, and I’m really upset. I don’t know what to do? Please help.

Weezy

Being in the popular group is like trying to balance on the head of a pin. Here’s why. Everyone in the popular group knows that everyone else is watching them and judging them. It’s sort of like being in show business. You’re school famous. So friendships can often be less genuine. Any tiny slight, rivalry or jealousy can cause someone to turn and everyone else to scramble and follow in a desperate effort to remain on the right side of the popular party line. That makes it harder for you to figure out who you are in the world, and it can create more drama and worry about the strength and quality of your friendships.

I recommend that you join clubs and activities that contain a cross section of kids and stay on the lookout for new friendships. Open up your world of options. You do not have to spend the rest of your high school career battling to remain “popular.” Outside of that bubble it is far easier to find friends who truly value you.

(ThinkTank video)

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Question from Katie

So there’s this guy, and a lot of people think we like each other and would make a cute couple. I really do like him, but sometimes I’m not sure if he likes me. I’m definitely not the kind of person to outwardly say I liked him, but neither is he. We’re good friends anyway, and I don’t want to ruin that. What should I do???

Weezy

You basically have three choices. You can say something, say nothing or hint. The only person who knows how he feels about you is him. So, if you don’t want to just come right out and say, “Hey, I like you,” try hinting at it.

For example: Take a picture of the two of you and say, “Oh, we are so cute.” Walk ahead of him, look back and say, “Come here!” reach your hand back to grab his and pull him along. Touch his arm when he says something funny. Joke and say, “We’ll probably wind up married someday.” That sort of thing. Then gauge his reaction and take things from there.

Or you can always just look at him and say, “Do we like each other?”

It’s up to you. Stating your truth will change your friendship, but I believe that a friendship changes the moment one person starts liking the other. In that instant, the energy shifts and a tension is created that will release itself in some form at some time. There is no going back to the a time when you were both just friends. Whether you both like each other or the crush is unrequited, the dynamic has forever been altered.

That is just the way life and relationships work. I vote for you to say something. Eventually you will learn his truth. If you want it now, ask for it.

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Question from Tyler

So I was invited to a party by some work friends tonight. I am not a big party person. I like to have one-on-one conversations or small conversations with a group of friends I’m comfortable with. I also don’t drink simply because I’m under aged, I don’t like it and I don’t want to. I’m also not very expressive and I have a serious face, which doesn’t help with my party moods at all.

So tonight I kinda felt like an outsider. I wasn’t drinking at all, and everyone was playing drinking games and having crazy fun making a fool of themselves cause they were so drunk they didn’t care. Everyone kept telling me they were surprised I showed up but were glad to see me. Simply because they know I don’t drink and most of them respect that, which I like. But they kept asking me if I was having fun cause I was sorta left out of all the games.

I am wondering, should I start drinking to have fun? I think I know better. I don’t think I should put myself in situations where drinking is involved. But it’s just hard cause everything seems to be involved around drinking these days. Should I look for a new social cycle? I really don’t know. Tonight I just felt left out and boring. How can I be more expressive or fun?

Weezy

You have answered your own question. You are not a big party person. That is not your thing, and that is fine. You enjoy one on ones and small groups. Create them. Ask one or two or three people to hang out. Initiate the social situation you would love to be invited to. Have a couple of people over to play board games or make s’mores or watch movies. Go hiking with a few people. Visit a museum. Take an urban walk to a park. Volunteer in your community. Meet some friends at a Starbucks. Do what you like to do.

I will go on record as seriously questioning whether any meaningful moments have ever been shared over beer pong or whether anything profound or touching has ever been said while everyone else in the room was chanting, “Chug, chug, chug!”

Go with your gut here. There is absolutely no reason why you should start drinking to join the fun. Quite the contrary. Make better, more lasting memories by planning and executing truly meaningful experiences.

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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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