Thursday, March 22 , 2018, 7:30 pm | Overcast 57º


Louise Palanker: Struggling with Toxic Relationship, Feeling Threatened by Pretty Girl, Mean Streak

Question from Angela

My boyfriend and I got into a really bad argument over something stupid. You see, I had promised to wear my hair down for him but then I didn’t. (I rarely wear my hair down.)

I know that this sounds really dumb but it led to a break up. I kept talking over him and so he walked away from me! He stormed out into the street. I ran after him and yelled his name, and he kept walking and did not turn around.

I told him I was sorry and he ignored me. He walked so fast that I couldn’t keep up. I texted him more than 50 times and called him 20 times. He did not answer me.

So I was like, you know what, screw this. I don’t need someone like that in my life. Do you think I did the right thing? Should I cut it completely off with him or try to fix things? I’m confused and sad ...


First let me say that if someone does not answer one text you can maybe text him again and then that really needs to be it. He got the texts. Now it’s time to wait.

Our ability to communicate instantly has us believing that we should. Two texts say, “I really want to talk to you!” 50 texts say, “I have no impulse control!!!! : /” They also hold up really well in court. Calm it down.

Silence is very loud. It has a lot to say. Let it speak.

Now on to your relationship problem. This guy has no business insisting that you wear your hair exactly the way he likes it. He then shows a hand of insecurity and control issues by having a meltdown when you don’t. He gets to express a preference and then the rest is up to you. It’s your hair.

He is behaving badly and you are giving that behavior power by blowing up his phone. Just stop. Do not take part in a toxic exchange of energy.

If you can muster the courage to walk away and mean it, you will be delivering a strong message. You will be saying, “I am a person. I get to decide how I wear my hair. You can choose to be with me or not under those terms and conditions. You do not own me.”

When you hear from him, as I expect you will, talk calmly and tell him where you stand and how you feel. He will either hear that and get that or he won’t. In either case, you will retain your dignity.

Here are Dr. Phil and Oprah with Eight Signs of a Toxic Relationship:

(OWN video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Jenna

I have a huge crush on this boy who likes me back. We only recently confessed our crushes even though we have liked each other for a year. Over the summer we have been texting and talking. I like him so much.

The issue is that this year we are going into high school. There is this girl in our partnering town who will be going to our high school. She is very tall, has long blond hair, blue eyes, and she’s just plain stunning. She is so gorgeous and you can’t help but stare at her. She is pretty and sweet and athletic.

I’m petrified that my crush will like her because everybody does. I try not to cry about it because it’s pathetic and I feel guilty for being jealous. I can’t help it, though. She is amazing and I don’t want to lose this guy to her. What can I do?


You can be her friend. In your mind you have created an enemy that does not exist. You have also conjured up a situation that is imaginary. She may have no interest in your guy, she will be brand new to this group of kids and she will be scared. The vulnerable one is not you, it’s her.

Think of all the beautiful, accomplished, interesting, funny, kind, loving women on this earth. If this guy likes you and you like him and you grow up and walk out into the world together, you need to both trust that neither one of you will be easily distracted by another seemingly perfect person. If that is not the case, then your bond was not true in the first place.

Women who see other women as a threat rather than as a friend miss out on wonderful people and experiences. They waste a lot of time worrying about something that hasn’t happened and by so doing, they often create it.

Unless or until this guy gives you cause for concern, he is into you. Trust that. Own that. Love can not be explained. It’s two people clicking. When it happens, enjoy it and stop looking over your shoulder.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Stephen

How do I be kinder to others? I tend to be honest with others. I mean, I don’t say that someone is fat or anything, but I’m honest in my opinions and like debating and those sorts of things. I tend to hurt other people’s feelings, though.

What I say to someone else wouldn’t offend me if someone else said it to me. I’m often getting in trouble for being argumentative defiant, et cetera, but I can’t help it. How do I make it stop? It’s just who I am. Questioning people, being a troublemaker, not following the rules if there are better options. But others don’t like it. I don’t do it to hurt others.


Your goal may not be to hurt others, but if the end result of your behavior is that others are wounded, then you need to take responsibility and see that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between your actions and people's feelings.

Your question is a lot like saying, “I don’t mean to run people over when I drive on the sidewalk. I just really like driving on the sidewalk.” If you do not want to hurt people, you can avoid doing so by steering your car back out into the street.

There is a fairly clean line between honesty and cruelty. That line is drawn in front of personal attacks.

So, if you are debating and you say, “I believe in the death penalty because the Bible says, ‘an eye for an eye,’” and another person says, “Well, I believe that only God should take a life,” and you say, “Well, then you’re an idiot,” you have crossed over that line.

Your comment is not honest. It does not further your argument, it is simply mean. You can debate and debate heartily, but stay classy. Go after the issue rather than the character of your opponent.

Yes, you do get to have your own unique opinions. Use them thoughtfully and effectively. When you blow up the entire room, there is nobody left to play with you. What have you accomplished?

Just because you have thick skin doesn’t mean that others do. It’s not enough to say, “That wouldn’t hurt me.” Maybe not, but If you see that someone else is hurt, take note and think, “How can I make adjustments that will steer me toward better relationships?”

You have written and asked me this question. Therefore, you care about not just people’s feelings but about how you are perceived by these people. You do not have to compromise your sense of self to be kind and thoughtful. You can be strong and opinionated and knowledgeable and snarky and fascinating and still be kind. You can be sarcastic with a twinkle and a grin that keeps the mood light.

You can also choose your arguments carefully. You can learn to apologize and defuse a tense situation with a simple, “Oops, you’re right,” and a warm smile. You do not have to always win. When you fight to be right, both sides lose.

You may always have a rebellious streak. Wonderful. Steer that tendency toward a cause that needs a champion. When you go to the wall, do it over something that matters.

We are “Wired to be Kind.” Here is Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor and founding faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley:

(Fig. 1 by University of California video)

                                                                 •        •        •

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, 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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