Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 8:45 am | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Sexting Signals, Despair Over Being Replaced, First Moves

Question from Nicole

How do I tell if a guy is into me? This guy, Greg, recently asked me if I was dating someone, and then the next day his friend from another town added me on Snapchat. I’m always sending selfies to Greg with a ton of cleavage, but I send them to 50 other people as well. Is this misleading? We’re 14. Greg’s not my type and I don’t want to lead him on.

Weezy

Ask yourself what you do want. You are sending your cleavage to a mailing list. It’s an effective advertising campaign. New customers appear to be signing up. But what is the exchange? What are you hoping to receive in return? Compliments, likes, crushes, hearts, love? What is your currency?

I understand that the guys in your life are asking you for sexy photos. I get that the next logical leap for a newly minted 14 year old girl in our digital age is, “Hey, here’s my cleavage. Do you like me now?”

But let’s stop and think. Yes, you are leading Greg on, along with every other boy who receives your photos. You are presenting a version of yourself that is not the true you. What is your desired outcome? These photos are sending a strong message. They may be providing you with a ton of attention but what kind of attention?

Who are you? What are your beliefs and values? What matters to you? What are your talents? Are you kind, interesting, musical, artistic, athletic, intellectual, sweet, sensitive, funny, nerdy? WHO ARE YOU? That person is not reflected in sexy photos.

You are not how you look. Don’t feature that. You are 14. Be 14. The sexual side of you can wait until you are older and it should wait until you have learned how to honor and protect that part of yourself.

Any guy worthy of knowing the sexual side of you will wait for you to grow into a woman who understands her sexuality and her body. He will make it his business to care for and respect her body. These 50 guys on Snapchat have not made that cut.

Until someone earns the right to know you that intimately, show the world WHO you are. Learn WHO they are. Value your true self. She is enough.

(Stuff Mom Never Told You - HowStuffWorks video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Adam

Earlier this year in January, my first girlfriend left me. She’s a sophomore and I’m a junior in high school. She claimed that she wanted to end the relationship because she was feeling “independent.” It was really sad, but as time went on, I began to accept it.

But recently she sent a text telling me that she’s found someone else and wanted to tell so I wouldn’t get hurt when I saw a picture of them on social media. I got really angry and now I feel a sense of sadness that has been truly the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I never thought that I would consider myself “depressed” but here I am.

Furthermore, an aspect of this whole situation that is currently playing a role in my sadness is the feeling of “replacement” that has emerged in my thoughts.

We met at a martial arts class. A friend introduced us and we naturally fell for each other. This friend was also the facilitator of forming the groups for school dances. Being included was the best feeling in the world. I felt that I had friends that I could trust, and I had the girl of my dreams in my arms.

Now that this breakup has occurred, I felt like I have been replaced. This new guy, dating my ex, is essentially playing my role. Seeing them laugh as a group with their girlfriends makes me so sad because at one point I was in that group laughing, too.

What can I do to move on? (My feelings about her are still lingering.) What can I do to feel contented and satisfied with my life again?

Weezy

You are experiencing a universal pain and you do it very well because you are an excellent writer. This is what heartbreak feels like. It’s horrible. You have articulated all of the aspects of this sorrowful state very eloquently. There is no shortcut to getting through it. You just have to keep pushing forward until you see daylight.

I can tell you that you have not been replaced. You are still the only YOU on this planet. What you had with this girl will forever belong to the two of you. It’s your memory to honor. The energy that radiated between you two was unique, and what she has with another person is different. Your relationship happened. You both learned and grew from it, and most relationships do not last. But they all teach us.

This girl may feel that she connects better with her new boyfriend. She may leave him heartbroken in a month. She may marry him. She may marry you. We just don’t know. There is nothing wrong with YOU. This is what happens when people date.

If you loved everything you felt when you were a part of that group, find it again. Get involved. Join clubs and activities. Volunteer. Take part in life. Become part of a community.

She is not the only girl and that is not the only wonderful group of people. You say that your friend was the facilitator of forming groups. BE what you seek in the world. Facilitate. Form groups. Invite people. Organize. Give back to your community. Become a part of something. Create something.

How can you help? Gather a bunch of people and go do it. Stop looking at your ex on social media. You will fall in love again. You will feel invested in a group of people again. Create that group and go do something fantastic.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Erica

So there’s this guy I started talking to over winter break back in January, and he’s a couple of years older, but he made the first move. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and started talking more when he messaged me on Instagram, and then we were flirting and talking.

Then all of a sudden he said we had to stop talking in that sense because he was committing to another girl. He ended up not going out with the other girl and eventually asked me out to dinner and a movie, but I couldn’t go. And then he called me gorgeous and we had a deep conversation about personal values and stuff.

Then three days later, he got a girlfriend and blocked me on Snapchat, but now they just broke up, and he still blushes whenever he walks by in the hallways. What does this even mean?

Weezy

It means he’s not being very clear with his actions, his behaviors and the way in which he is treating you. This is a warning. He is probably not all that clear in terms of what he wants, which is fine but he still has an obligation to treat others with respect.

If he is unsure about what he wants then he needs to let you know that. He needs to be consistent. He needs to tell you that his love life is complicated and therefore the two of you should remain friends right now. If and when he is sure that he would like to be more than a friend to you, then he can let you know. But don’t leave yourself vulnerable to the mixed messages. Go out and open yourself up to other possibilities.

You can be friendly to him but treat him as though what he does or doesn’t do is not of any major consequence to you. He does not deserve to have you hanging on his every move and word. If he wants more of your attention he must treat you as though you really matter, because you do.

                                                                 •        •        •

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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties


Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
"We both love this business. We strive to make life long relationships from each real estate transaction."

Full Profile >