Monday, February 19 , 2018, 10:08 am | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Too Shy for Guys, Detecting Emotions in Text Messages, Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

Question from Sally

Hopefully this isn’t taken the wrong way ... but I’m a high school sophomore and I’m just sooo shy to talk to "good-looking" guys, or at least guys I find attractive.

I can never make eye contact, which is so awkward because I have classes with them. If I do talk to one, I start freaking out inside. I just look at them, like, once and start looking around somewhere else. I also feel really insecure inside when I have to talk to them/work with them, and I feel as if they’re secretly judging me when I’m talking to them.

What can I do!!!? I’m 16, and I just freak out when I talk to a guy I find attractive. Please help!!!

Weezy

This is a very universal problem. Know that you have a right to talk to anyone. And given your shared experiences, it is expected and required that you talk to them. Rather than worrying about what they think of you, attempt to focus on making them feel welcomed and comfortable. Eye contact means “I see you.” We all need to be seen. Even cute boys.

Yes, there is a lot of judging that goes on at your age. It’s natural. People are measuring themselves against each other. It is happening and you, too, are a part of it. You are judging who you find attractive and who you would like to know better and who makes you nervous.

You are also assessing your social infrastructure. You are noticing who is talking to whom and what that says about everybody. We all do it. This is human, social behavior and it is essential to our survival within a society.

In essence, you are just like everyone else. Don’t let anyone allow you to feel inferior. You need them. They need you. Sure, everyone is either posturing or retreating, and so you may not be getting an accurate read on their comfort level. Therefore, no matter what you think you see, assume that everyone is as scared as you are (they are) and attempt to make them feel more comfortable. In order to do this, you NEED to look at them. They need to see you seeing them.

Keep an open, kind, warm, loving and approachable look on your face. Be nice to someone who seems even more terrified than you. That should give you courage when it comes to talking with someone you find intimidating. Offer a compliment. Laugh at a joke. Everyone needs that sort of reassurance and validation.

Remember that what you are offering is your friendship. If someone wishes to turn that down, that is his issue. It is still your right to offer it. Isn’t that why we are all here? We are doing this thing called life together.

Oh, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Be someone who does something scary. Know that you can.

Good people to ask for advice on talking to boys are ... boys:

(Sam and Colby video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Laura

My best friend and I have been getting into arguments a lot lately, which led to our not speaking. We’re in one of those arguments at the moment. Basically, I was having a tough time with my parents and was really upset. I texted her and she ignored my text and just said something about her teacher not explaining the homework. I got upset about how she seems to not care when I’m going through something and so I just said bye.

I also noticed when we get in these fights I’m always the one to say sorry first. I was thinking about doing it today but I’m not sure. I do miss her but I’m questioning if it’s worth it. I sometimes feel like she doesn’t seem to care since whenever we fight she always blocks me and never texts me to apologize. I feel like she doesn’t miss me. Should I try to keep her as a friend? Should I try to apologize?

Weezy

Texting is a really not a great medium for expressing negative and/or complicated thoughts and emotions. Relationships are about meeting each other’s needs and managing your own expectations. If you feel that your friend has not met an emotional need via text then call her. If you are clearly expressing yourself and she is still not listening, understanding, supporting and comforting you, then you should think about moving on from this friendship.

But first, look at texting as a really inadequate means of communication. Seek other, more direct avenues when you need to express how you really feel about everything to everyone in your life.

Texting is for fun and facts. It is not for depth or substance. Talk to her and tell her that when you are down you love to receive some reassurance from her. We all need to be heard and we deserve to be heard. Use your voice. Have the conversation and then make your decision about the friendship.

Here are Key and Peele with a chilling example of just how unclear we can be via text:

(Marzban Cooper video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Melody

This is the second time a guy who has a girlfriend already, likes me, which makes me feel bad. I said no to the previous person, but this time this guy is serious and wants to break up with his girlfriend and wants for me to accept.

Is he a good or bad person? More detail: I’m a friend of his girlfriend, so am I a bad friend? I actually did nothing, I didn’t flirt with her boyfriend or anything. He said he had feelings for me before getting with her. Did I do wrong or am I a horrible friend? Thanks.

Weezy

Let’s not assign good or bad qualifications to this situation. Let’s just make sure that you attempt to do the right thing as you move forward.

A guy with a girlfriend does not get to flirt with you unless you allow it. Meaning, when he starts flirting, shut it down immediately. You can look directly at him and say, “Stop. You are dating my friend and this is just not cool.”

If your communication is via text then send him that exact message with a finger wag emoji. That’s as nice as you need to be regarding this. Don’t be flattered when he flirts. Don’t smile or giggle. Just stop him.

If he likes you and wants to date you and if you want to date him, then you both have a lot of work to do before that should ever happen. He needs to end his current relationship respectfully. He needs to wait. You need to have a conversation with your friend to see how she will feel about your dating her ex. You need to hear her response, take it in and then understand that no matter what she says, your dating this guy will affect your relationship with this girl. Based on everything you have learned you can then make your next decision.

Children are basically just reacting to their world and to their circumstances. The older you grow, the more you are able to first think, process, explore, ruminate, contemplate, deliberate and sort through potential consequences before you act. This situation requires that of you.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. You can call this karma or slap back or cause and effect or whatever, but you can not escape it. Words and actions are energy. When you generate activity it travels into the world and bounces off of everyone and everything before rippling on back to you.

Think about what you are doing and how that is impacting others. Then adjust accordingly. That is how you become a BETTER person.

                                                                 •        •        •

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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