Question from Katrina
OK, so I have a friend group with about 10 people. One of the people in the group is really clingy to the point where it’s annoying, and she uses past trauma against you when you try talking to someone else or tell them to not hug you or something.
And me and another person in the group have talked about it and we don’t really want to be friends with this person anymore, but we don’t want them to hurt themselves. What do we do?
With a group this large there is good news and bad news. Together you can soften the irritation that this person presents by synchronizing your messaging. For example: She does not get to blackmail or extort you. If she is a danger to herself, then she needs help that friends cannot provide.
Remind her that her friends are not therapists. Remind her that she can’t use her experiences as weapons. She needs to address and treat her trauma rather than bringing it up in a moment of anger or using it as a tool to control your behavior.
When she behaves this way you can all choose not to engage. You can step back. Say, “I’m sorry this is painful for you.” Then change the subject and move on. You do not have to answer every text this person sends. You do not always have to hang out with her.
You are not responsible for her mental health. However, a group of 10 bouncing one kid would be very traumatic and I can not recommend that you do that. Find ways to mitigate her challenging qualities and spend most of your time engaging with the people you most enjoy.
You can put some distance between yourself and this girl by setting firm boundaries and sticking to them. You do not need to banish or ghost her completely. You do deserve healthy and mutually rewarding friendships but you also must put kindness first.
(The Dr. John Delony Show video)
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Question from Christina
Hi, Weezy. My friend seems to have very low self-esteem but I just don’t know how to help her. She is a beautiful brunette girl and I really don’t understand her insecurities. I say this because she always elevates Eurocentric features on people as if they were better than anything she’s ever seen.
For instance, whenever she meets or sees a person with blond hair and blue eyes she talks about their features like something that is out of this world. She treats them like they’re some sort of unicorn that’s rarely seen.
I think all people are beautiful and I’m not trying to put anyone down but we live in the United States; it’s not like she hasn’t seen someone with such features ever. I just don’t understand why she acts like this. It makes me cringe every time she does it.
How can I help her? Thanks in advance 🙂
I think that in the course of human history, we have always had a tendency toward idealizing what others possess. It’s also possible that in the media your friend consumes, she’s noticing more hearts and likes and love going to the blondes and she’s feeling as if she does not measure up. We should all celebrate others, of course, but not at the expense of under-appreciating ourselves.
You may want to strike a deal with your friend where you say, “OK, I know you think that people with light features are really pretty, but every time you mention them and gush over them you have to also make a comment where you compliment darker hair and skin.” Sometimes we do need to train our brain and if she has to repeatedly say something positive out loud, she may just start to believe it!
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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at email@example.com 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 co-hosts the podcast Media Path with Fritz Coleman, 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.