Friday, March 23 , 2018, 12:45 am | Mostly Cloudy 54º


Louise Palanker: Dealing with Social Anxiety, Depression Over Weight and Body Image, Boundaries

Question from Theo

Hey, I’m 13 and the typical kinda anti-social kid. My friend invited me to his birthday at his house where he is having a sleepover. The problem here is that there are about 10 to 15 other people going, and I have no idea who they are. I only know three or four of them, and there are some people I hate a lot.

I’m asking what I should do. If I don't go, my friend will be kinda pissed cause I’m one of his best friends, but if I do go, what do I do there? Just sit there awkwardly regretting everything? Or what? PLEASE HELP!


Here’s how I think you should look at it. This is 24 hours of your life that will come or go whether or not you are at this party. At 13, you should start challenging yourself to get out of your own comfort zone and try new things. This is also an age when you can venture further from home and be in a better position to meet people whose interests are in closer alignment with yours.

Yes, 13 year olds can be challenging and even horrible people. This is because being an adolescent is a giant scramble for a sense of identity. Mix that with hormones, and the recipe is not a good look on everyone.

But don’t write anybody off too quickly. Bullies are the most insecure people, and when you scratch their surface you can find out that their home life is not the best or that they almost died as a baby or that their parents have money problems or that they move every two years. You just don’t know until you know the person.

I respect your anti-social nature, and you don’t have to love this sleepover, but think of it as a gift you are offering to your friend on his birthday. The sleepover is also an opportunity for you to prove something to yourself. You can be brave and try something difficult, and maybe even learn from it.

Here’s your parachute: There will be parents nearby. You can call home if you need an immediate evacuation. But try this. Stick with your buddy. Be friendly to people you don’t know. Make eye contact. Laugh at their jokes. Steer clear of the people you hate, but be open to not hating them forever. I think you can do this.

(alpha m. video)

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Question from Taylor

Hi, Weezy! Hope all is well. I am going through a tough time in my life with depression. I have gained weight and I am trying to go to the gym and eat properly. Recently, I had to miss work because it was not good for my health and mental state, and I became really stressed out. I go to the doctor’s a lot, so right now, I am trying to repair myself and get healthy.

It’s really hard for me, and my boyfriend thinks I make excuses. I know I gained weight, I know my tummy isn’t like a model’s, but he makes me feel insecure. I really am not making excuses because my main priority is to be out of depression and everything will follow. He puts a lot of stress on me about my weight and it makes me very sad. I’m thinking maybe the other reason why I’m not losing weight is because of him.

Do you think maybe we should go on a break so I can just have time for myself to reach my health and weight goal? Because I tell him all the time to stop nagging me about it and to stop stressing me out, and he thinks he’s not ...


You and I have much in common. We both disagree with your boyfriend. You are a wise, wise woman. You answered your own question. I agree that it is time for you to be single and get healthy — emotionally healthy. You are correct. The rest will follow. You will also find that when you are dating the right guy, he will know better than to say word one about a woman’s weight! Good Lord! That is a no-go zone! A great guy will celebrate you and your body and your hopes and goals and dreams. Go find yourself, and only then go find that guy.

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Question from Julia

I pretended to be someone else and inboxed my crush, and I said, “If you have any friend problems, I’m here for you.” She said, “What? I’m confused??” I said, “I mean if you have a situation you’re in with a friend and need help, you can tell me how it is making you feel.” She said, “Aww, thank you.” I said, “Yeah, no problem. How are you?” She said “I’m qoood.” I said, “That’s good. How’s school been?” She said, “Wait, who are u??” I said, “Don’t you know by my account?” She said, “NOPE.” I said, “Oh, I thought you would but don’t be mad.” She asked, “Why would I be Mad??” I said, “Because this is Julia.”


I said, “I just want to say I’m sorry.” She said, ”LEAVE ME ALONEEE!!!!!! CAN U GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD!!!!” I said, “OK. I wanted to talk about this and fix it. I thought you did, too.” Then she blocked my account.

What should I do? She is avoiding me because I like her, and she never had this happen before and she feels weird and avoids me. She doesn’t like me like that. She likes me as a friend, and it’s making it hard to look at each other or speak to each other at school without feeling weird about this.


She is asking for space. Give it to her.

It is important for all of us to understand that being a successful human is not just about getting what you want. It is also about learning how to sense what others want and being sensitive to their needs. You don’t get to just imagine that she would feel better if she talked to you. She is telling you otherwise.

It sounds like I am entering the story after you have already attempted various methods of getting this girl to engage with you, and she is now at a point of exasperation and rage. Back off. Yes, you get to initially express your own feelings and wishes, but you then need to hear what someone is saying to you and respect it.

We live in an age in which gratification can be fairly immediate. You want something. You tap a screen. You have it. As much as technology is racing forward, people are still people. We don’t really grow up or feel comfortable or fall in love any faster than we ever have. Tapping on screens has led you to believe that there must be a workaround.

“I know! If I could just make a fake account and pretend to be another person, I can talk her into liking my posts and following me and loving me!!” It doesn’t work that way. Let her all caps be your lesson.

She may be ready to hear what you have to say one day, or go back to regular friendship one day, or to even be your girlfriend one day. That day is not today. Here is where you must practice the counter intuitive art of walking away from what you desire. Let it come to you or not.

You can speculate all you want as to what is causing her severe reaction. Until she chooses to share that information with you, her inner-most fears and feelings are not your business. What is of primary importance is that you respect her words. No, she should not be cursing at you but I don’t know the beginning of your story. I can only assume that she believes she had previously made herself very clear.

You will feel weird about this for a little while — until you don’t. Just continue being a most excellent person. Learn how to read the room and give people space when they ask for it. One thing I do know is that real love will come to you one day. When it does, treat it as sensitively as you must treat unrequited love.

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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 also hosts a weekly video podcast called Things I Found Online, and 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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