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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 7:44 pm | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Socially Anxious for a Date, Hiding Feelings Behind Emojis, Physical Development

Question from Marissa

So I am very socially anxious, but I like a guy and we are going out on a date soon. I am equally excited and dreading this because of my anxiety! What should we talk about? Can anyone relate or help me? I just feel like my anxiety is ruling over me, but I can’t stop it even though I’ve tried!

Weezy

We all have anxiety. Some people have more than others. Some are better able to manage and contain it, but EVERYONE is going to be nervous about a first date.

Honesty is your friend here. As the evening begins, tell the guy that you are nervous. Get that out in the open. Sunlight is healing.

Next, I advise that you store up five questions. Make sure they do not have yes or no answers. For example, ask him how far from home he has traveled. If he tells you about a trip, get ready to tell him about one that you have taken. For each of your questions, have an answer of your own to share.

Bear in mind that he, too, will be doing his part to keep the conversation going. You will probably never get to most of your questions. Ask him follow-ups. Get to the good stuff. If he tells you about something difficult that he has been through, ask him how that made him feel. Once a conversation goes from facts to feelings you are really beginning to connect.

Also, assume that he is nervous, too. Smile reassuringly at him. Make good eye contact, focus on making HIM feel more comfortable and do not forget to HAVE FUN!

(Jill Cimorelli video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Charlotte

Hi, Weezy. I have been talking for about a week to this guy I met online. He did call me beautiful the first day we talked. He asked me a lot of questions and we do have a lot in common. Then he revealed that he is a very reserved person. Having been hurt in the past, he explained that he tries not to invest fully in someone for fear of getting hurt.

He is local so I went with my friend to his work place, and I was nervous so I kept avoiding him even when he waved at me and smiled or when he stared at me for a moment without saying anything. Later he said I had looked cute and he wished we could’ve talked some more. We even FaceTimed once and he helped me with my chemistry homework.

Sometimes he will send smirky face emojis as if flirting, but then he will act like it never happened. We texted all day every day for the past week and he usually initiates the conversation, but I just feel like he’s not interested in me or he doesn’t notice that I am interested because he’s so guarded.

I just wanna get through to him and know how he feels, but I don’t want to pressure him to do something that makes him uncomfortable.

What should I do? And do you think he’s interested in me?

Weezy

If he is interested in you then he needs to step up his game. The text flirting emoji winking has gone far enough. By now this guy should be asking you out. If he is not initiating that, then you can do it. Just text him, “Hey, when can we hang out?” His response should give you the information you need.

Sure, romance is a bit of a dance. It’s OK and even natural for both of you to move carefully and slowly for many reasons. Primary among these being nerves, fears and insecurities. You don't want to rock the little boat of a connection you've built. You don't want to come on too strong and scare him away, and you certainly don't want to be rejected.

But by a certain point someone just needs to be brave.

I understand that there is this whole “talking” phase that precedes dating nowadays. By “talking,” you of course mean texting. But as the talking continues with no sign of dating in sight, I worry that the guy is talking to a lot of girls and also possibly asking for the type of photos and conversations that you should not be sending him. Remember that emotional intimacy should come far before physical intimacy. This includes photos. Guys who ask too much of you before asking you out are not worth your time or your emotional energy.

Claiming he is a “reserved person” may just be part of his racket. If he likes you, he can spend some time with you and treat you the way you are hoping to be treated by a great guy. Let him do that before you invest any more of yourself in him. A guy worth dating will tell you AND show you that he is making you a priority.

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Question from Mageaux

I haven’t started my period and my friends keep taking the mic out of me and saying that if they throw things at my boobs it won’t hurt because I have small boobs. But it still really hurts, and they always exclude me from conversations and say I wouldn’t get it and I’m too innocent to understand. I don’t know what to do because it’s really affecting my self confidence.

Weezy

You may not be willing to fully believe this, but I am about to tell you the honest truth. This is a tiny moment in your childhood. You will barely remember any of it.

When your friends pull this line of teasing simply say, “Our rate of physical development in no way correlates with that of our emotional or intellectual development. In fact, that is something you would know if you were more intellectually mature.”

That should sufficiently throw them off.

All kids mature at different rates. We have no control over Mother Nature’s timeline. We don’t know when you will get your first period. And even that has no impact on when your breasts will develop or when you will see hair in new places or when you will need to start using deodorant. We only know that you will ultimately go all the way through all of puberty and come out the other side.

Once you and your friends are post pubescent you will barely remember what happened to whom when. It just doesn’t matter. Your friends don’t get to use any of this against you.

It’s just mean. Let this be a lesson. A big part of emotional maturity is learning that kindness should always come first. Sure, you can use a little humor to defend yourself, but do it with a smile and with love. Show your friends that you are above and beyond weaponizing a physical characteristic. Laugh off their taunts. They are meaningless. You are on your way to becoming a wonderful woman.

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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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