Friendship Answers

How do I cope with a friendship breakup?

First, I want to say I'm sorry that this friendship has come to an abrupt halt. Frustration steps in when a response is not received. For grieving the loss of this friendship is acknowledging the unpleasant emotions. It sounds like you have communicated without reply. Addressing the unpleasant emotions is for your benefit. Allow a safe space to grieve. Make sure you have a journal close by. If there were any red flags that you overlooked, please be kind to yourself. We all have a need for connecting and that often leaves us vulnerable.  Loss can take a toll on the body. Please make sure you are resting as best as you can. Hydration and nutrition are important as well.  I want to validate your efforts to reach out even though it was not met with the same willingness for resolution at this time.  It sounds like a swirl of significant events happened. Congratulations on your marriage! That is quite an exciting, yet challenging time. It is so important that everyone is in place because of the sanctity of marriage.  Pregnancy also is an exciting, yet challenging time. It sounds like your friend was overwhelmed. And it did not stop with needing to support you. I am glad that you did not hold it against her. It takes that kind of compassion to maintain friendships. I am sorry that your friend has not reached back out. It sounds like you could have been supportive. Anxiety is very difficult to manage at times. This is where it is so important to have a mindfulness practice that helps you to become aware of problematic beliefs. Anxiety takes everything personal, when the truth it might be the other person unable to address the multitude of life events at once.  Another practice that would be helpful is to "snooze" the social media viewing. Social media allows for the life story we create and often none of the reality. Focusing on your beautiful new life takes away the time of wondering if your friend is a total truth teller. Below is a list of helpful resources and tips to navigate this difficult time of grief for this friendship. 1. Fair Fighting rules on Therapist Aid 2. Cognitive Distortions handout on Therapist Aid 3. Choose guided mindfulness/meditation selections that focuses on unresolved grief. 4. There are many resources for managing anxiety that could prove helpful. 5. Choose to be intentional about how to respond if there is a return to the friendship. 6. Positive affirmations are helpful. A more adaptive belief about your friendship is, "I did the best I could."  I wish you well with the healing process. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

Two of my close friends have cut me off when I was trying to set some boundaries, I feel awful!

Hello! Thank you for reaching out. What a painful thing you have been through! It sounds like you have been having a stressful time, anyway, and to be treated this way by your friends must feel so betraying. It makes sense that you would be grieving the end of two close friendships, especially ones that have been in your life for such a long time. This sadness and hurt you are feeling is important and I hope you will give yourself time to process these feelings and what they mean to you. As you process your emotions, it may also be helpful to remember that feelings, while valid and real, are not facts. You are feeling that you don't matter to people, but that doesn't mean that you are actually unimportant or that it is right for others to treat you as though you don't matter. I can't help but wonder whether these former friends have done you a favour by taking themselves out of your life. You deserve to have friends who will listen to you and treat you with respect, which includes putting the same amount of effort into the relationship as you do and addressing conflict directly. This also means not talking about you behind your back! After being hurt like this, it can be easy to get stuck in anxiety and fear about future pain and rejection which can lead us to avoid making new friends or spending time with the ones we have. As much as possible, I would encourage you to stay busy with activities which help you feel connected to your values and goals, and which give you the opportunity to grow new relationships and strengthen existing ones. For example, there may be community events or organizations, recreational sports or hobby groups, or free classes in your area which can help you expand your network. It may be that your old friends will reconsider and come back to you, and you may find that you are willing to forgive them and invite them back into your life. You may also find that other opportunities in your life feel more supportive and worthy of your time and effort. Either way, I think it helps to feel you have a choice. If you continue to struggle with your feelings or you want to explore the feedback you received from these friends in greater detail, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist. In addition to providing supportive space to process your thoughts and feelings, therapy can also help you to feel more confident in your communication skills, if your confidence has been shaken, or help you to work on forming new friendships. Thank you again for your question. I hope that you will continue to stand up for yourself, and I hope that you find friends who treat you with the respect you deserve. Warmly, Kate
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I start to be okay feeling as if I have no one to talk to anymore without blaming myself?

Fleur, Friendships are so difficult to navigate and it is almost impossible at times to set boundaries with friends. First, I commend you for having the courage to put your needs first and not allow yourself be mocked for having the feelings you did.  Of course the issue that comes with this is the lonliness that follows when you begin to miss the friendships and the times you have had in the past.  The only times these friendship can be salvaged is when they actually want to fix it and acknowlege how they have hurt you.   It is so common to want to blame yourself for this as you set boundaries of what you want out of your friendships.  This is a very important part of relationship buiding as you navigate your needs and goals from one another.  It is perfectly acceptable to have the expectations of being treated well and having your feelings validated, even if they don't neccesarly agree.  It isn't about agreeing with one another about everything but the respect of validating it.   A helpful way to not blame yourself in this is by looking at the relationships, each one individually, and what they consisted of.  To look at the pros and cons of each friendships, including what each of you brought to the friendship and decide if the friendship is worth salvaging.  If you feel this treatment you endured is an ongoing issue in the friendship then it sounds like the decision of ending the friendship may have been the best one for you right now.   Knowing your worth and what you deserve in relationships are vital.  We each deserve to be treated well, especially by the people who are supposed to be "our people" "our confidants."  I mean if we can't trust them, how hard is it to trust others.   I honestly would look at the length of the relationship, the history, what you brought to it (even your own mistakes or ways you may have hurt them in the past), what they brought to it (including the hurtful things), and if the benefits of these things outweigh the risk, then you may find trying to work on the friendship could be beneficial to you.  
(LCSW, MSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I move on from the past?

Being stuck in the past can sometimes have roots in depression or, as well  - in our current times - as a possible effect of Pandemic isolation.  It sounds like you would really like to improve the quality of your connection with friends.  Putting this change into place will require present-fouced energy to make decisons on what is best for you in terms of how you spend your time and the types of people with whom you spend it.  Once you get that figured, I do believe that a "domino effect" can begin, where one good and energized choice starts another and another.   When you make up excuses for friends who you'd rather not spend time with due to nostalgia, it is pretty liekly that that process is keeping your headspace in the past.  I wonder if you feel a little nervous about putting yourself out there to meet new people?  I am not sure what your current circumstances are, but depending on how much support you have (for example, if you live in a new city and work from home, the sheer volume of what it takes to get out and meet new people can feel like a lot), it can really be a challenge at certian times in life to visualize how you want connections to look - and then to be open to finding and responding to them.  Honestly, this is a place where having a therapist inquire with some really good questions can give you the insight you need.   If this is a stuck place that you have experienced before, and it is creeping up again to be dealt with, I wonder if you are frustrated that you haven't cracked the code of how to have the types of friendships you want in your life.  Whatever the cause, it does sound like you want something different for you life, and that you are in the first great place when you are able to acknowledge this desire.  Just from the bit you are writing so far, from where I sit, I think that acceptance of what it will take to move the obstacles will be your next step.  Then you celebrate each victory toward the changes.    
(M.S., LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I’m better now

“I am better now” is a beautiful phrase to start with.  We all need this statement in our life to remind us that we are individually better even when we view that the world is not around us.  Reaching out to a friend or a resource is a way to bring into our life what is needed.  It is a sign of strength to do so but one so many times we all avoid. Because our people in our life change from time to time, a reflection is to recognize what this friend did to comfort and support you in your time of need.  Did they listen? Did they spend time with you?  Did they physically give you a hug or hold your hand?  Did they bring something to you that provided a calming?  Were there particular words that they used that helped remind you that you could work through something? These questions point to your unique love language that we all have.  Sometimes we are blessed by people that naturally meet our love language in life without asking or even knowing.  It just is.  The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a framework that helps us to identify the love language that is most helpful so that we have a level of awareness about why something felt supportive or why it doesn’t. We will naturally support and give love unconditionally in our own way not understanding when the other person doesn’t feel that same love and support back.  This framework allows us to listen with intention so that we can hear what the language needed is.  Unconditional love in friendship is a beautiful and bonding experience that elevates the relationship.  Experiencing healing through that friendship elevates the relationship even more. Knowing that all relationships have a season, spending time in gratitude with this friend will help them understand the depth of the healing for you and also reinforce that you are really okay.  To the point that you wanted to profess it on this site publicly which should make them smile along with you.  Thanks for letting us all share in this experience of healing with you.  Let any of us at Better Help know if we can help you further.  
(MSW, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why do I always seem to neglect my growth around certain people?

Hi Curious.  Thank you for posting your question here on Betterhelp.  You said that you recently went to a wedding and saw quite a few people from your past, including an ex-roommate/ex-best-friend.  While you said that you've grown, you were unable to be yourself and felt you weren't able to "let it go," when around these people.  I don't know what happened between you and the people in your past, but I know that when there are past hurts, they can linger for some time.  Without speaking to you more on this or having more detail, I have a few thoughts on this that I will share with you.  See if any of these ring true for the situation you are in Curious.      If you are doing work on yourself, you probably have noticed that you have triggers.  A trigger is a reminder of a past trauma.  These can be certain places, experiences, sounds, feelings, tastes, sensations...or, even people.  Could it be a possibility that some of these people you saw at the wedding were triggering for you?  Since you pointed out your ex-roommate/ex-best friend, I especially wonder if she/he/they are a trigger for you.  While it is commonly suggested to avoid triggers, we cannot always avoid our triggers.  For instance, you may have really cared about the person who was getting married.  Avoiding the other people there that were triggering for you would have meant missing out on the wedding.  If you decided it would have meant more to go to the wedding, and you were able to deal with your triggers, it would have been good to have had some healthy coping mechanisms to handle some of these triggers.      Another idea that pops in my head is about boundaries.  From the way I am reading this, it looks like you haven't seen many of the people in your past in some time.  If you have grown, it means you have probably changed and your wants and needs may have also changed.  When this happens, we need to reevaluate our boundaries and also communicate them.  So, perhaps in the past you were alright with the relationship with people looking one way, but now you know that's not healthy for you.  This is something you would need to communicate and be consistent with.        Curious, I think that by posting this question you show that you are growing and want to continue this growth!  If you'd like to speak more about this to a therapist, I encourage you to do so here on Betterhelp or offline.  Best of luck to you!
(LPC-S, LCPC-S, MS)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I always used to be the center of attention in school but now in university I didn’t get that

It can sometimes be a bit challenging going through seasons of transition in our lives.  Going from high school to college is no different.  We sometimes realize that the person that we were in high school is not the person we are in college.  We sometimes outgrow the person we were in high school as we are evolving in our college pursuits.  And sometimes in the midst of the evolution, we reflect and begin to see that we're not getting the same results that we were able to achieve while we were in high school.  I want you to know that you are not alone. I don't know why you were the center of attention in high school.  Whether it was because of your charm, your performance, your kindness and generosity, your wit, or some combination of all of those things, you were able to navigate high school with a spotlight shining down on you, and you loved it.  Whatever you did to have that light on you, you expected to be able to produce those same results and outcomes in college.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  The spotlight is now much more difficult to obtain, and it has weighed somewhat on you.  Coupled with the fact that you have gone through some changes that all of us undergo as we're getting older and wiser, and it appears that life has unraveled in a way you didn't see coming.  The things you used to enjoy, you no longer enjoy.  Is it possible that you've outgrown them as well?  That they no longer bring you joy because you are no longer the same person you once was?  It is clear that you want your joy back, and you should!  We all do.  What do you want joy in?  Where do you want your joy to come from?  Who do you want your joy to be shared with? Lastly, you said you don't have friends.  What are you doing to make them?  Have you been so used to people clamoring for you that you never had to actually put in work to make a friend?  Maybe now is the time for you to make a shift in your personality again and engage someone.  All it takes sometimes is a simple "Hello" to start the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Life has changed.  You have changed.  Find the courage to make one more shift and do something that will change your life for the better.  I hope you find this helpful!
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to forgive and move on?

Hi Solobear, Thank you for writing in.  Our life is filled with lost relationships and friends are among them.  Obviously, I'm not aware of the whole dynamics and history between the two of you, but I'll try to answer based o the information you gave me.  I can say that it's not uncommon for relationships to be distanced once one friend finds love.  We do tend to be consumed with the new relationship, to the exclusion of all other relationships.  As the relationship progresses, the pendulum swings back to the middle and there is room for more friendships and not just being focused on the romantic relationship.  Especially as we get older, it becomes easier to have a healthy romantic relationship along with friendships (both male and female).  It's good to have separate interests from your significant other, so I'm hoping that as your friend's relationship progresses she will find room for you in her life.  In the meantime, we talk about "knowing our own truth" which basically means begin confident in who you are, your beliefs, what you represent and what you're about.  When this happens, our self-esteem, ego strength and confidence soar and situations like this don't hold the same importance.  We tend to think in a way that suggests, "if you don't have room in your life for me right now, that's ok with me."  No judgement, no hurt - it just is what it is and we let it go.  When she comes back into your life, we tend to think, "Oh hi! It's so nice to reconnect again."  Again, not having any judgement or criticism - it just is what it is.   There are a couple of paradigms that align with this way of being or thinking.  One is buddhism, just accepting all with loving kindness.  Another is Mindfulness - practicing the art of gratitude for what is, right here, right now.  We are not guaranteed a tomorrow and we can't change yesterday - all we have is right now - we aren't even guaranteed an hour from now or five minutes from now, so the practice of mindfulness puts us in the present moment, with full openness and appreciation.  Lastly, the concept of Radical Acceptance.  We recognize a certain feeling within us (hurt, abandonment, rejection but also joy, contentment, happiness) and accept it with unconditional positive regard.  A great way to start this type of thinking and being is doing a gratitude journal or exercise.  I usually suggest doing three gratitudes a day.  In the beginning it can be difficult to think about what we are greatful for - and we tend to focus on things like family, house, food, etc.  But eventually we open ourselves up to more (sunshine, fresh air, rain, a bird, clean sheets, the smell of fresh coffee, etc.).  When this becomes an integrated part of our daily living and ourselves, we find ourselves surrounded with gratitude and situations like what happened with your friend become less important because you are so focused on all your other blessings that surround you on a daily basis. I hope some of this was helpful and I wish you luck and happiness in all of your endeavors.    Sincerely, Diana Sebzda
(LPC, FT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I stop thinking about something I don't want to think about?

Worrywart,  It is difficult when relational issues occur causing distress in our lives, especially when we fully do not understand the reason for the issues. It is almost like you have no closure to the broken relationship that has occurred since you are unsure of what actually caused the brokenness. It sounds like that you have taken the initiative to try to communicate with your friend regarding your feelings. It also sounds like she is not being responsive to your need for answers that will help your feelings. Unfortunately, you can't change how she chooses to respond, only how you respond. You are doing a great job of making the choice to move past this hurtful situation as you see this has become unhealthy for you. However, coping with those negative thoughts can be tough. There are a few techniques that you can do to help stop those negative thoughts.  One way is practicing reframing those negative thoughts. How can you do this? You can do this by implementing new thoughts as those negative thoughts that are troubling arise. You can recognize these thoughts and work to replace those thoughts with more positive, calming thoughts. For example, when those bitter thoughts arise, think about areas of your life that bring you comfort or pleasure. You can even do a fun activity that you enjoy to help refocus those negative thoughts. This is just one way that you can practice decreasing those negative thoughts. I have to say that there are other techniques that you can be guided through in therapy that can help, as well.  It is so difficult to accept difficult circumstances that you have no control over. You may not fully understand what caused this relationship to unravel in the way that it has. But, based on what you have stated, you have reached out to her numerous times and tried to communicate your feelings with her. Like I previously said, you can't make her accept your friendship as it was. You have tried to do all that you can and it is her choice to accept that. You can have confidence in knowing that you have reached out and tried, but she was unwilling to build back the relationship. So, the question is now, how do you accept things the way they are? Sometimes giving ourselves permission to let those relationships go and knowing that is "ok" can help.  When you have done all you know and can do, then having closure is important. There are a few ways/techniques that can help you gain positive closure.  These are areas that you can work through in therapy to help you gain closure in the relationship.  I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. It is not easy going through broken friendships. But, I want you to know that there is hope through the strength that you have. It may be that you are searching within yourself for that strength, but it is there. Reaching out has been a great step to help you build on your strength to work through this difficult situation that you are facing. You can look at this as a new journey that you are taking to see more of who you are and the strength that you have deep within you. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

I have a probmes in connecting with people, specificaly keeping friendships. What am I doing wrong?

Hi Elsa: To start, I would ask you if you have ever had a time in your life when you felt connected to a friend, or to multiple friends and if so what was that experience like for you? If you feel content in your life with having acquaintances and not specifically friends, then the recommendation would be for you to work on accepting this as part of who you are and reducing the focus you place on outside entities and how they may think of you for having no close friends. There is a difference in choosing to be alone and in hiding from other people. The difference is in how you think of yourself when you are both alone and when you are around others. Pay attention to any underlying thoughts you may have, fears or insecurities, about yourself that may come up when you are around other people. For example, if there is a fear that you may be rejected if people were to get to know who you really are, or if people were to know you on a deeper level, then it may be helpful for you to correct this thought of yourself as a means to feeling more content with yourself when you are both alone and around other people. Do you connect in other areas of your life? Are you able to have connection with any family members? What were you taught about connection when growing up? Its also important to recognize and acknowledge the connection you have with yourself. How do you think of yourself and your level of capability with handling conflict? Are you able to ground yourself when there is chaos around you? These are also important reflections to make that would offer clues as to whether or not your choice to be alone is a choice or if you are avoiding potentially uncomfortable situations. Last, often we, as humans, are bothered by others opinions of us when we have the same opinion. If you worry people may see you somehow as different, then it is important for you to consider whether or not see yourself as different. Negative ideas of yourself are worth examining and changing. This will lead to a more sense of being content and with being stable with who you are. Thank you for the question.
Answered on 01/21/2022

What mentally makes it hard to remove toxic people out of my life?

Thank you for your question. This is a really common and, unfortunately, a very uncomfortable position to be in.  I think what makes it mentally challenging to remove toxic people from our lives can be our ability to find positive and redeemable qualities in the person, even when they can be emotionally draining and not the "most fun" to be around.  The term "energy vampire" comes to mind. Your mentioning that your friend has no family or friends other than yourself makes it seem like you are viewing her from an empathetic lens, which is a fantastic quality to have.  Therefore, part of what you are experiencing may stem from your compassionate understanding of the importance of a socially supportive environment and her lacking it. With you currently being in the position as her sole source of support (which is NOT your job), you are likely struggling with feeling manipulated into a role you do not want to be in.   Without knowing anything about your friend's background and the circumstances that may have contributed to her personality or her limited social support, it is difficult to predict whether your friendship can improve simply by establishing boundaries with her or not; however, that would not be the goal. Ideally, the goal would be to help you identify and establish boundaries to not struggle with decisions and situations that make you feel uncomfortable.  Therapy would also help you identify toxic behaviors and traits so that you can become more mindful of healthy behaviors and patterns.  We would also want to work on increasing your assertiveness so that in this situation and the future, you would be able to refuse requests that violate your boundaries without feeling guilty.  It appears you have discussed the problems in this friendship with other people, but have you discussed them with her?  Have the two of you discussed your feelings or your needs as her friend? I'd say, if you have done these things and she has continued to violate your boundaries, the next course of action is to enforce the boundary, whether that be blocking her as your other friends have suggested or limiting your friendship with her, that decision would be up to you and how you wish to proceed.  However, if you have not had this discussion with her, is it fair to expect her to know how her behavior or this friendship is making you feel?
(MA, LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do i make long lasting meaningful friendships?

Hello, and thank you for your question. Making long and meaningful friendships is are when we enter adulthood. As adolescents, we are frequently in situations where we are encouraged to socialize with our peers. In school we are grouped with our peers and given shared experiences to bond over. Finding common ground and forming friendships in encouraged.   However, when we leave school our ability to interact with others in a ‘low stress’ environment often decreases. We tend to lose the friendships we previously had in schools because we no longer regularly see those individuals. Often, adults will find themselves with few friends they feel comfortable opening to, and apprehensive to make new friends.   Before deepening friendship, it is important to get out there and socialize and make new friends. If you are someone who tends to avoid social settings this can be hard. Some places you can meet new friends include: volunteer services, social events at work, family/friend parties, gym classes, and social meetup groups. At all these events you are likely to find someone you can engage with because there is a common interest present. After you have worked out the initial pleasantries you can see if a friendship can develop. For all of the introductions you go through, you may find a handful of people you want to talk to more. Typically, friendships will develop around common interests, and the more you have in common (ie. sports, music, experiences) the more likely a natural friendship is to develop.   Once you have established some social connections with others, it is about deepening those friendships. This can come when either party reaches out to the other. Inviting someone you met at a gym class to grab a cup of coffee at a new bakery is a potentially pleasant experience. If they are busy, that is okay too. The reality is many people seek friendships and communication with others, but they are in a predicament where they just don’t know how to start. Planning an activity with a group of acquaintances is a great way to deepen the bond.    From what you said, you currently have two close friends that you already established and have a good connection with. Do either of them have other friends they could introduce you to? Broadening your social circle through friends you already have is another solution to broadening your social circle.    The one thing I will add is that quality friends, friends you can talk to about anything, are hard to come by and cannot be created in a lab. Having two great friendships as an adult is powerful and you should treasure them. Growing your friend circle as a group might even bring you all closer together.
Answered on 01/21/2022

how do i learn to cope with no longer having someone in my life who was complicated and arguably bad

Hi Enya,  Thank you for your question, I can tell how conflicted you are about this situation. It's challenging to end relationships of all kinds including friendships. This person clearly had a significant impact on your life and even realizing that elements of the relationship were problematic doesn't erase the positives. You don't provide a lot in the way of details about the nature of this friendship or why you decided to end it. You also don't share specifics of what the manipulation and attempts at control looked like here. Working through the specifics of this particular relationship and coping strategies for handling the resulting life changes is beyond the scope of what we can do here- but could be something that you would benefit from exploring with a mental health professional.  What I can offer in this space are some general tips for handling the end of a friendship. We talk a lot about romantic break-ups, what they look like, how they impact us, but we spend a lot less time exploring what happens when a friendship ends- and that can be just as complicated and happens more often than we might think. People grow apart, develop different interests, or evolve behaviors that we don't want to be associated with.  Know that a friend should never ask you to compromise your integrity, go against your values or commitments, tell a lie, or hurt someone by doing something. Although it may feel like a significant loss to lose a friend, someone who no longer is making your life better does not deserve that space in your life. Give yourself space and permission to grieve the loss, no matter how complicated the relationship was- it meant something to you. Be honest with other people in your life about what you’re going through, and try using the same language and self-care that you would during a breakup with a partner. To our brains, a break-up is a break-up; but friendships are just as important and the feelings tied up in them just as profound — more even, because we expect them to last much longer. Think about what you need to be able to move on. This might mean talking through things with someone you trust, creating space for yourself to grieve some more, or removing things from your life that trigger memories you’re not quite ready to process yet. You're allowed to be grateful for what this person brought into your life, even if they aren't there anymore. It might be helpful to talk to or read about others in your situation and how they dealt with it. The internet is full of stories and recommendations for almost anything. Reminding yourself that you're not along might help you put things in perspective.  Consider the health and depth of your support network. Do you have other people you can turn to and rely on? Are there connections that are dependent on this person? Make a habit of checking in with yourself about how you are expending your social and emotional energy and make sure the people on the receiving end are worth the effort. It’s easy to assume our friends will always be there, but close relationships require maintenance. This involves having very real conversations, and regularly checking in with each other in a meaningful way that can flag problems before they become problems. Lastly, take care of yourself. Though it seems far easier to mope in bed all day, make sure you get out and take care of yourself. Don’t neglect personal hygiene, and participate in your regular daily/weekly activities – even if they’re the last thing you want to do. Just going about your regular routine will help you recover from the pain of the breakup. It helps to take part in activities that bring you satisfaction or joy. For you, this could be reading, playing music, creating art, socializing, chilling on the beach, getting a massage, getting your nails done, or something else. If it’s a healthy outlet, and it makes you feel better, it’s self-care.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I find a group of friends?

Hi Amy I understand that you want to know how to go about finding friends. You said you've always wanted to have friends, girlfriends to do things with. Talk to them about any and everything. To laugh and hang out with. Somewhat like additional family of friends; would be like having a second family, some good friendship. You want to learn of ways to do this?  First, you mentioned having trouble keeping friends.  Is this true? What do you find to be the common denominator there. You don't have like the same things or you do you have a difference of opinions? What about familiar friends or people that you have in common with them is this an issue? Are any of the old friend you used to have related to a family member or friends, know your family member? Do you have moments where you prefer to be alone and have noticed that you prefer to stay in versus socializing with them? Knowing your preference is part of the solution. If you just want some friends to be around every now and then and you don't check in from time to time to see how they're doing, or you only call them when you want something. This maybe an issue for them or you. I would like to say these are just a few things to consider when deciding if the problem stems with you or is it the other person.  We can explore some of your likes and hobbies as a way to determine if there are other means of socializing with a group of people where as you can find yourself a few friends to hang out with to get to know see if you have things in common there. Relationship or friendship that may seem like later close family members. Tell me what you think, what are some of your hobbies, likes, dislikes are things that you enjoy to do places you like to travel adventures you might want to go on activities that you enjoy? This will help you determine what direction we want to go in what social group we can be linked with whether it's online or in person to meet people. Maybe you like to cook is an example and you want to join a cooking group maybe take a class at a university community education type class these are all things that you can do where you possibly can meet people be friendly and socialize. Amy I would love to hear more back from you on this topic and see if we can work together to determine other ways we can be able to work together on meeting your goals. Have a great day.
(MA, LPC, ACS)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to not be so aloof / emotionally detached in social situations

Thank you for asking your question. It certainly can be challenging when you and your friend have different personality styles (introverted vs extroverted) and different energy patterns. However, those differences can be managed. Like you mentioned, miscommunications can occur in friendships and all relationships. Being up front and open in communications can help. For instance, consider how close you are to your friend. Do you feel comfortable sharing with your friend that you are more introverted than she is and explaining what introverted looks like in you and what you need (ie, alone time to recharge)? That may help clear the air and provide a bit of explanation for why you don’t, sometimes, express your excitement/appreciation outwardly. That way, your friend won’t think you’re aloof but rather being your introverted self. Another idea is to take some downtime before an event. Take the time you need to emotionally recharge and rest up, so that when you’re at the event, your batteries will be charged (so to say) and you can have the energy to engage with others. Then, take the time you need to recharge after the event. Please remember that you have strengths and positive qualities. Introverts bring a different perspective and traits to a friendship. By looking inward and recognizing your strengths and traits, you can highlight those strengths and suggest activities to your friend that are fun and also support your introversion by allowing you to be your true self. Related to sharing your introverted qualities with your friend and taking the time you need to recharge is respecting your boundaries. If you’re too tired to go out or don’t have the emotional energy to be with a group of people, listen to your needs and set, communicate, and hold your boundaries.  Talking over your concerns and feelings with a licensed therapist can help, as the therapist will listen to your concerns and feelings, offering ideas and perspectives to help with your situation. A therapist can help you explore your strengths and find ways to communicate your needs and desires (and boundaries) to others. I wish you all the best on your healing path. Dr. Sally Gill, LMFT
(PhD, MS, LMFT, C.C.T.S.I.)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why are we afraid of risks

Hello Fish, I am glad you reached out for support at this time.  I am sorry you are struggling in this moment.  I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles.  If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process.  I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time.  During the therapy process, you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you during this time of struggle you are having.  If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through our struggles and be able to ask for support from others. After reading your question I wanted to send you a reading and skills on how talking to someone you Love Is Letting Go of Fear. Lesson 1: All That I Give is Given to MyselfLesson 1 is the following: “All That I Give is Given to Myself”. This is a two-part lesson. The first part explains that if you want more love in your life the solution isn’t to try to get love from others. Instead, what you need to do is give love. When you give your love unconditionally to others, you increase the love within you. That is, you’ll simultaneously be giving love to another and to yourself. The second part of this lesson is that you can never run out of love. The world of the five senses is based on the notion of scarcity: if you have an apple and you give it away, you’re left empty-handed. Love, however, is limitless. Not only can you never run out of love, but the more love that you give to other people, the more love that you’ll be giving to yourself.This lesson is a variation of the Golden Rule, which states that you should treat others as you want others to treat you. The variation is as follows: give to others only the gifts (love, peace, forgiveness) that you want to accept for yourself.Lesson 2: Forgiveness is the Key to HappinessLesson 2 states that happiness–or inner peace–can only be reached when we practice forgiveness. Here’s the logic behind this lesson:Love is all there is.Anything that we perceive which does not mirror love is a misperception.Forgiveness is letting go of the thought, or the interpretation, that we have been harmed by another. It’s the means for correcting our misperceptions; when we forgive this allows us to see only the love in others and ourselves.Lesson 3: I Am Never Upset for the Reason I ThinkLesson 3 states that you are never upset for the reason that you think. Our physical senses appear to relay information from the outside world to our brain. Therefore, we think that events take place in the outside world which trigger certain thoughts and feelings within us. In other words, we believe that the outside world is the cause and our subsequent thoughts and feelings are the effect. The truth is that this thinking is backwards.What we see in the outside world is determined by the thoughts in our mind. That is, our thoughts are the cause, and what we see in the outside world is the effect. Our mind is like a motion picture camera projecting our internal state and our thoughts onto the world.Here’s a quote from “Love is Letting Go of Fear”:“When our mind is filled with upsetting thoughts, we see the world and those in it as upsetting to us. On the other hand, when our mind is peaceful, the world and the people in it appear to us as peaceful.”We gain inner peace not by trying to control the outer world, but by gaining control of our inner world. When our thoughts reflect peace, those thoughts will extend outward, and a peaceful perception of the world arises.Here are two extensions of this lesson:Negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, resentment and so on, represent a form of fear that you’re experiencing.When you recognize that you always have the choice between being fearful or experiencing love by extending love to others, you no longer need to be upset for any reason.Lesson 4: I Am Determined to See Things DifferentlyLesson 4 — “I Am Determined to See Things Differently”-explains that we don’t see the present moment as it is because we’re always preoccupied with the past and the future. We’re constantly thinking of the fear and pain we’ve experienced in the past, and trying to take measures in order to protect ourselves from having to feel this fear and pain again in the future. However, the reality is that the only way to stop feeling fear and pain is by exercising our power to see people and events with love instead of fear in the now. Let go of the past and of the future by putting all of your attention on giving in the present moment.In addition, take responsibility for your state of mind. Stop giving power to others to determine whether you’ll experience love or fear. Whenever you are tempted to see through the eyes of fear, stop yourself and say the following: “I am determined to see things differently.” I also wanted to send you this reading on how to Communicate Your Needs not only in relationships or in your friendships. We all have needs – and not just the need for food and shelter. Our needs are fundamental, and yet it very difficult for many of us in relationships to say, “This is what I need” Here are some reasons we humans struggle with this so greatly:We don’t know what our needs are.You may know when you are hungry or thirsty but when it comes to what you need from your partner and from the relationship, you may be clueless. Often, we don’t really get that we have a need until it becomes an issue. If a need we don’t even know we have is unmet, we are likely to experience anger, frustration, despondency, or resentment, and not even know why.We fear rejection.What if, when we express our needs, we are met with indifference, or worse, contempt? We are scared that simply asking is an act of such audacity that our partner will get up and walk out the door.We fear that our partner may not be willing or able to meet our needs.That would be a sad outcome, but on the other hand, since our needs are not being met anyway, asking is probably a risk worth taking.We don’t want to appear “needy.”Needy is a bad word in American culture, where we are expected to be rugged, independent islands of individuality from a young age.Basic lack of self-confidence.Self-doubt, insecurity, whatever you call it – works against us. If we don’t have the confidence in ourselves to recognize our own needs as valid and important, we will never be able to ask that they be taken into account by our partners.We learned from the best.If you are having difficulty acknowledging your needs and asking that they be met, chances are you are modeling your behavior on what you saw day in and day out as a child… from your parents. It’s often hard to undo that early programming.Fear of hurting someone’s feelings.We often fear that we will hurt someone else by expressing what is important to us. Ask yourself what in your expressed need could possibly hurt your partner?Inability to assert ourselves.Basic assertiveness (not aggression, pushiness, or selfishness) is a vital skill and one that many of us do not ever learn. The idea of sending a steak back for being overcooked is just as inconceivable as the possibility of telling the one you love what you need from the relationship.A disengaged partner.Maybe you are ready to talk about what you need but you can’t get your partner to sit down with you. Maybe he/she shies away because “it’s too heavy—let’s just have fun!” or because he or she also has a fear—for example that knowing the truth will bring about an end to the relationship.There is little as damaging to a relationship than when one or both partners’ needs are not being met. There is, literally, nothing to lose in beginning to express those needs. If something is holding you back, look again at the list above and be honest with yourself. Why are you not having that conversation?Realize, too, that your partner is probably not a mind reader. Always assume that you must use good old fashioned verbal communication to get the information across. And, in turn, you can offer to listen to your partner’s needs. The worst thing that can happen is that one or the other of you will say, “No, I don’t think I can meet that need.” Is that the end of everything? No! This is when prioritizing and compromise come in. If one of your needs is lots of physical affection, and your partner can’t stand too much touching – where can you meet in the middle so you both feel okay?You have a right to ask for the things you need in a relationship. In fact, you have a responsibility to yourself and your partner to be clear about your needs. You are the expert on yourself. No one else, not even your partner, can read your mind and know what you need in the way of support, intimate contact, time alone, domestic order, independence, sex, love, financial security, and so on.So if articulating your needs isn’t something you’ve felt comfortable doing, how do you start going about it? And how do you do it in a way that doesn’t create defensiveness and anger, and offers the best chance of your partner being willing to listen and fulfill that need?The Needs ScriptSituation (specific, objective description of facts). Start off the conversation by offering a straightforward description of the situation you want to address. Leave out analysis, interpretation, and inflammatory or accusatory language – try to make it as specific, impersonal, and objective as possible.§  Our relationship has really sucked lately. We’ve been fighting a lot more than usual these last few weeks.§  Our bedroom looks like a bomb went off. There are a lot of clothes on our bedroom floor.§  Your spending is out of control. We’re $300 over our budget this month.§  I’m going crazy in this sexless marriage. We haven’t had sex in two months.§  I’m always stuck at home and never get to see my friends anymore. I haven’t been out with my friends since the baby came.Feelings (non-blaming “I” statements). When you tell your partner what you’re feeling, you need to be careful to not vent or explode in a vague, accusatory way (“I’m angry/stressed/upset and you’re to blame!”) which may feel cathartic, but isn’t actually productive. In order to keep the conversation as a problem-solving discussion rather than a heated argument, you want to accurately convey the nature, intensity, and cause of your feelings. So before you begin the conversation, you’ll want to have honed in as much as possible to the specifics of what you’ve been feeling. Definition. First, make your broad feeling more specific by adding some synonyms. When you say angry, do you mean angry and stressed, or angry and irritated? Or are you really more confused or disappointed than mad? When you say you’re upset, are you upset and disappointed, or upset and depressed? The more specific descriptors you can use to describe how you’re feeling, the better. Intensity. Add modifiers that accurately convey the intensity of your feelings. Have you been feeling a little resentful or a lot? Slightly discouraged or majorly depressed? Be honest here.Duration. How long have you been feeling this way? Have you been stressed since you lost your job or ever since you got married? Have you felt irritated for weeks or for days?Cause and Context. You want to avoid naming your partner as the cause of your feelings, no matter how tempting, and even if their actions really have been the catalyst. Blame begets defensiveness, not communication. What will result is a fight that doesn’t end up addressing the real problem whatsoever. Instead, try to communicate the cause of your feelings in the form of their impersonal context, and describe your own feelings rather than those of the other person. You can accomplish this by using “I” statements rather than “you” accusations.§  Your clinginess is making me feel suffocated. I miss seeing my friends.§  Your nagging is driving me crazy. Getting numerous reminders about doing something makes me feel patronized.§  You’re such a slob. I feel frustrated when there are things all over the floor.§  You’ve really been bringing me down. I have been feeling depressed and unhappy lately.§  Getting this overdraft notice makes me feel like you’re not competent enough to handle our finances. I get really worried about our finances when I see an overdraft notice arrive in the mail.Request (for behavior change): “Ask for a change in behavior only. This is a very important rule. Don’t expect your partner to change his or her values, attitudes, desires, motivations, or feelings. These characteristics are very hard to change. It’s like asking someone to be taller or more intelligent. People feel personally threatened if you ask them to change intangibles that are seen as part of their very nature and beyond their conscious control. Instead of going after someone’s “core” attributes, and having them react defensively, stick with making a request that they modify a specific, observable behavior.§  I want you to be neater. I would really like it if you could put your dirty dishes away in the dishwasher and close the cabinets after you take stuff out of them.§  I want you to be less critical of me. I would appreciate it if you didn’t make jokes about me being out of work in front of your parents.§  I want you to be more loving. It would mean a lot to me if you gave me a kiss when I came home from work and asked me how my day was.§  I wish you were up for sex more often. I know we’re both crazy busy, but I’d like us to commit to trying to have sex at least once a week, even if that means scheduling it.§  You need to be less clingy. I want to hang out with my friends at least once a month.When you make your request, only tackle one situation and 1 or 2 observable behavior changes at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm your partner.Here’s a full example of how the “needs script” might go:Situation. Ever since the baby came, we’ve both really had our hands full. We haven’t gone out together alone in months.Feelings. I feel like we’ve become more platonic roommates than lovers. I’ve been feeling really disconnected from you.Request. I know you’re worried about leaving the baby with a babysitter, but I’d like to try it once, just for a couple of hours, to see how it goes.husband or boyfriend. -Figuring Out What You Want to Say Figure out your priorities. Your partner won’t know how to meet your wants and needs if you don’t know what they are. You have to figure out your priorities before you can communicate it to your partner. This may be your priorities from every part of your life. Once you identify your priorities, you can figure out what you need in your relationship, which can help to better your relationship.·         Figure out what priorities are important to you because this will help you determine your needs. For example, your top priorities may be intimacy, family, and financial stability.·         Order your needs from most to least important to help you decide which ones to communicate first and which ones can wait. This will help to ensure that you are telling your partner what needs are most important to you. It may also help to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by all of the things you need. List your needs. You should list your needs before you talk to your partner. This helps you be clear about what you want so you can communicate them to your partner. You may want to start with what you need for physical affection and intimacy. This may include sex, romance, physical touching, and emotional sharing. You should also think about what you need in regard to children and a family, finances, and outside friendship, along with cooking, cleaning, and running the household.·         You should realize that wants and needs are two different things. Needs are things that should be met because they are essential for your happiness, safety, and well-being. Wants are things you prefer to have happen because it causes you pleasure. ·         For example, you may need your partner to work and make a certain salary to complement your salary so all the bills are paid. You may need your partner to let you know that they care and love you. Practice the talk. You should practice talking to your partner before you talk to them in person. Start by writing notes or listing important points you want to make. Speak your wants and needs out loud to yourself to get comfortable with them. You may even practice in a mirror.·         If you need help, you can ask a trusted friend to listen to you and help you practice.Choose the right time and place. You should choose an appropriate time to address your needs and wants. Choose a time when both you and your partner have time to discuss the issues. You should make sure neither of you have anything pressing to do for hours when you choose to talk.·         You should talk in a private place where you won’t be disturbed. Don’t go to a restaurant or coffee shop.·         If you have kids, see if someone can keep the children for a few hours so you can talk privately.Learn how to communicate assertively. If you are feeling like your needs are not being met in your relationship, then this might be partially due to a lack of assertive communication. To ensure that you are communicating with your partner as effectively as possible, try to develop some assertive communication skills.·         If something is not going the way you want, say it right then instead of waiting or silently dealing with your frustration. For example, if your partner gives a short answer when you ask about his or her day after work, then you might say, "When I ask you about your day, I'd love to know all the details even if you think they're boring. I'm still interested."Listen actively. You should listen to what your partner says. This is important when they are responding to your wants and needs and telling you what they need. Your partner may believe they have been meeting your wants and needs, or have a different way of approaching things. Listen to what your partner says with an open mind and respectful attitude. ·         Don’t get mad if your partner doesn’t agree with you or understand right away. Be open to listening to their point of views so you can come to a compromise.Be specific. When you tell your partner about your wants and needs, make sure to be specific and clear. Being vague or speaking in general terms may only create confusion. Your partner may not know exactly what you mean, or their interpretation of the general statement may be different than yours.·         For example, if you say, “I need more intimacy,” your partner may get the general idea but not know exactly what you need. Their version of intimacy may be different than yours. Instead, be specific. You might say, “I need you to kiss me more often and talk to me about your day.”Ask for one thing at a time. If you have never told your partner what you want or need, you may have many things you want to ask for. However, try not to overwhelm your partner by asking for too much at one time. This might make it seem like your partner is doing everything wrong or cause unneeded stress in your relationship. Instead, ask for one thing at a time. ·         Start with the most important thing that you need from your partner. Once the two of you have worked on it, you can move on to another want.Let your partner know your boundaries. Telling your partner about your wants and needs doesn’t just include things you want to happen. It also can include things you don’t want to happen. You should tell your partner know what your boundaries are so they can give you want you want and need. ·         For example, you should tell your partner where your privacy boundaries are. If there are things, boxes, or boxes that are private and off-limits, explain this to your partner.·         If you have sexual boundaries, you should explain these clearly to your partner. There may be some negotiation where your sexual needs and wants are concerned, but if there are things you are unwilling to do, let your partner know.·         Try saying, "I don't feel comfortable fulfilling all of your fantasies. However, I am willing to try a few new things that you want to."Avoid blame. If there are needs or wants that may stem from a conflict, try not to blame your partner. Instead, use “I” statements and keep things factual and calm. Blaming or being dramatic will not do anything to solve the conflict or get your needs met.·         For example, if you feel the house is a mess, you may want to say, “You never do anything to help around the house!” or “The house looks like a tornado hit it!” Instead, be factual and say, “The house is messy right now” or “Things are not as neat as they could be.”·         Keep the statements about you instead of your partner. For example, don’t say, “You are being clingy.” Instead, say, “I miss spending time with my friends.”Evaluate your progress. Every so often, you and your partner should sit down to evaluate the progress of your relationship. Take the time to discuss if both of you feel that your needs and wants are being met. If there are additional things you'd like to discuss at this time, let your partner know.·         During these talks, you should let your partner know when things are going well. Don't just make these progress talks about negative things. It is really important to give your partner positive reinforcement and let them know what they are doing right. Show your appreciation to your partner. Finally, understanding that by voicing your needs you become empowered. You will be holding yourself in high regard – something I imagine you wish to do, and believe is right. Don’t fall prey to the false image of independence that has everyone living in isolation, even when in a house full of people. True independence is having the strength to admit you are worth a lot, and that includes having your very real and realistic needs met in your partnership. It is liberating and leads to personal growth that can only enhance your current relationship. I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space.  I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.
Answered on 01/21/2022

I don't know how to be happy by myself, how do I feel happy by myself?

Relationships in any capacity can be challenging. I wonder if you are good at initiating invites to friends as well as wanting the invites reciprocated. Here are some ideas that may be a good place to start when working through these emotions and feelings: grounding (deep breathing, Mindfulness, belly breathing), avoid jumping to conclusions, communicate your feelings with your friends, self-care (bath, read, sew), extend invitations yourself, talk to your supports and/or meet new friends. Also, tuning into our senses. A good way to ground ourselves is to take a minute and name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.    It is great you are aware that you need time to stay single and indulge in your own creations and hobbies.    ANTs are also one of my favorite things to incoperate. ANTs are our Automatic Negative Thoughts. These can be dangerous, recurring and highly impactful. There are many ways to reduce ANTs and my favorite one is eliminating "should" statements. For example: instead of saying "I should go to the gym today." you could replace it with "I will try to go to the gym today, but if I do not make it, I will go tomorrow." This takes a lot of pressure off of yourself and you are not held to expectations you may not meet. You can also relate this concept and idea in your relationships in life (friends and romantic).    Journaling these feelins and times and events your friends are at when you feel excluded may be beneficial. You may start to notice a pattern and this may make more sense to you. Are your friends aware you are available at these times? There may be a good reason they are not inviting you (they assume you work a certain weekend). Communciation will be key here at the end of the day. Your friends are not going to change if they are unaware of what they are doing that bothers you. I do wish you luck on your future endeavors with your friendships (platonic or romantically). 
(LCSW, MSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I learn to forgive myself completely for things in my past that hurt me and cope healthily?

Hello and good morning, I hope that your Thursday is off to a good start. Let me try to give you a little bit of advice and direction as far as your question. You stated that you recognize that you have a history or a tendency when it comes to losing important people in your life. And you indicate that this is because of your past… And people often times have some rather not so nice things to say, among those things, saying that you are psychotic. You also said that you have a tendency to just kind of snap at people, and sometimes all of this began so just really feel overwhelming.   So, first things first… If you recognize that there are some difficult things that you went through in your past, perhaps something in the way of trauma, we have to recognize that a lot of people hold onto trauma… And it may not necessarily be so much the memory of the event that keeps coming up… But rather, it's the reaction that we had to that trauma. It can feel overwhelming, it can make us feel angry, sad, unstable…And it can have very significant and very far reaching impacts on our life. So if you think there are some things from your past that need to be talked about, that need to be processed, I strongly recommend you do that. Because what you want to do is work to neutralize the events from your past, and release the hold they might have on you.   when it comes to how you are reacting to people… Well, I believe it's very important that you identify your triggers. We all have these… And we need to make sure that we are aware of these. And we also have to keep in mind that we are not trying to control our emotions. Because we don't have the luxury of picking in choosing which emotions we experience, and when that happens. But rather come up what you need to be focused on doing is making sure that you are aware of your emotions, and then monitor your behavior. Because it's not your emotions that get you into trouble, because no one knows what emotions you are experiencing until you start behaving in a certain way, or saying certain things. So it's not emotions that you want to control, but rather it's your behavioral response to Those emotions. So I think the first step would be perhaps linking up with a therapist to process some of your past, and then be more aware of your emotional triggers. I hope this helps, have a nice afternoon!
(MS/Ed.S, LMHC, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to start talk with strangers any time anywhere

Hello Ahd506, I am glad you reached out for support at this time.  I am sorry you are struggling in this moment.  I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles.  If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process.  I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time.  During the therapy process you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you during this time of struggle you are having.  If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through our struggles and be able to ask for support from others. How to Not Get Nervous Talking to People 1. Focus on getting to know peopleFocus on the conversation you’re having and try to get to know the person.This makes us more confident. Instead of focusing on every little thing we might be doing wrong, we’re able to be present with the other person. When we fully focus on the conversation, it can make us curious. Curiosity activates our “exploratory drive” and questions automatically start popping up in our heads. That makes it easier to know what to say. That’s part of why it’s so easy to talk to close friends. We don’t run out of things to say because we’re focused on the conversation or the surroundings rather than what they might think of us.If you walk into a room full of strangers, you can get the same results by focusing on those around you even if you’re not talking to someone. “I wonder what her job might be”. “That’s a nice T-shirt”, etc.2. Check-in on yourself occasionallySometimes we feel the need to check in on ourselves. For example, I came to think about my posture the other day in a conversation. I corrected my posture and then moved my attention back to the conversation.It’s OK to “check-in” on yourself like that. That can help us feel a little more in control. We just don’t want to get stuck thinking about ourselves.3. Accept your thoughts and feelingsIf you feel worried or have negative thoughts like “what will they think of me” – do the following:If you try to fight your feelings of nervousness or anxiety, that can make you feel worse about yourself. When you instead accept that you are nervous, you take control over those feelings. “I feel nervous right now and that’s OK”. After all, being nervous isn’t worse or more dangerous than being hungry or tired. They are all feelings.4. Practice focusing outward while watching moviesSometimes, the brain wants to do the opposite of what we want it to do. When we want to focus on others, it wants to worry about how others see us. You can teach your brain to focus outward (rather than worrying about you) by repeatedly moving your focus back to someone else. The next time you’re watching someone talking on Youtube or in a movie, you can practice re-focusing your attention.Move your attention from the person you’re watching (their appearance, manners, energy level, etc), to the topic they’re talking about (ask yourself questions about it, practice being curious about it), to yourself (how you feel, how others might view you), then back to the person, and repeat several times.Training your attention outside of social settings makes it easier to refocus in real social settings. 5. Practice being curious about othersLet’s say that right now, you meet this woman at an event:You ask her how she’s doing, and she replies:“I’m alright but jetlagged. I just came home from France”.If you’re like I used to be, your anxiety might kick in and say something like this:“Uh oh, she’ll think I’m a loser for never being to Europe. She looks skeptical, I can tell. Hmm, should I tell her about that time I was in Cancun? I mean, that shows I’ve traveled at least a bit. WHAT SHOULD I SAY?”Confident people focus on what she says, and are curious about it.“Oh, she’s been to France – how come? What did she do there? Did she like it? Where in France? What was the weather like? Has she been there before?”You shouldn’t ask all these questions. This is just to show your internal monologue. But – you can ask ANY of those questions. Focusing outward makes it EASIER to come up with things to say.Scroll back up at the photo and see if you can come up with some more questions about her, by focusing on what she said. That is a GREAT exercise to learn to refocus and be better at making conversation. If you can’t come up with anything, that’s fine! But that’s a sign that you want to practice focusing outward. Here, I’ve written about how to make interesting conversation by focusing outward.6. See nervousness as excitementWhen we do something new, we feel fear. But doing new things gives us experience and makes us feel happier with life.  In other words, fear and nervosity is a sign of something good about to happen!In fact, the body’s response to nervousness and excitement is exactly the same When you’re excited or scared you’re feeling the same feeling. It’s just that we tend to interpret anxiety as something bad and excitement as something good.You can say to yourself: What I feel is excitement for something good about to happen.7. Do things just slightly outside your comfort zoneThere’s no point in going way out of our comfort zone. We want to be in the sweet spot of it. We can only be in the terrifying part for a few minutes. We can be in the exciting zone regularly as a habit.Practicing terrifying things can help you do terrifying things in the future. You want to build your ability to do things that are meaningful to you, like meeting new, interesting people or having a relaxed conversation and form a connection.Here’s an example of what this can look like in real life:If you’re used to just nodding to the cashier in your supermarket, say “Hi”. If you’re used to just saying “Hi”, ask her how she’s doing. If you’re used to asking her how she’s doing, joke with her (And so on).LESSON LEARNED: Don’t do what’s dull. Don’t do what’s terrifying. Make it a habit to do things SLIGHTLY out of what you’re used to. That way, your comfort expands a little every day.(Therapists call this graded exposure. This is one of the methods that therapists use to treat social anxiety.[12] It’s something you can try on your own, but if you’d like extra support, you can find a therapist or counselor and they will give you expert guidance.)8. Understand how insecure other people areLook at these numbers. They might surprise you.·         1 in 10 have had social anxiety at some point in their lives. ·         1 in 3 millennials say they have no close friends. ·         5 out of 10 see themselves as shy. ·         5 out of 10 don’t like the way they look. (Only 4% of women feel comfortable describing themselves as beautiful.)[ ·         8 of 10 feel uncomfortable being the center of attention. ·         9 out of 10 have some type of body insecurity. Realizing this changed something in me.Let’s do an exercise that uses this realization to our advantage.Imagine that you’re at the outdoor meetup event above and don’t know anyone. How would you feel? Quite uncomfortable, I’d guess. Now, look at the image again but focus on how 9 out of 10 of them carry some kind of insecurity. Some might be loud and intimidating, others look calm, but that’s their way of looking confident.  In reality, they’re quite insecure!Therapists describe this as acquiring more realistic beliefs.   It’s when we crush the false idea that everyone is confident but us.Simply reminding us of this fact makes us less nervous around people  9. See talking to someone as helping them outWhen we carry negative beliefs about ourselves, we can behave in a way that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.If you believe that you’re the only one at the gathering who feels anxious or awkward, then maybe you’re going to stay silent or leave early, and that’s just going to make you feel more isolated from everyone else.If you instead can update your belief with the more realistic view that lots of other people at the party also feel anxious, you might realize that you can actually help someone else out by starting a conversation with them.Instead of choosing to withdraw you choose to engage.10. Speak to yourself as you would to a friendIf you fear that people will judge you, or think bad things about you, it can be a symptom that you are judging and thinking bad things about yourself. Psychologists call this projection: We project our own view of ourselves onto others. As long as we’ll judge ourselves, we’ll assume that others will judge us, too.With this in mind, the way to stop feeling judged by others is to stop judging yourself. So how do you do that? When we speak to ourselves in a different way, we can change the way we value ourselves. Instead of saying things like…“I’m so stupid/ugly/worthless”You can say…“I made a mistake, and that’s human. Everyone makes mistakes.”.Or, say that you judge yourself for not being good socially. You can remind yourself of a moment where you did do good socially.Some find it helpful to keep a journal where they write three positive things about themselves each day. The things can be as small as “I brushed my teeth today” or “I can be funny sometimes”. The important thing is to be consistent.By challenging your own judging voice, you slowly change the way you see yourself. As a result, you also change the way you assume that others see you. Sometimes it can be hard to break out of these thought patterns by yourself. In these cases, therapy can help.11. Dare to be friendly even when you’re nervousWhen I met new people, I was always cautious (To not risk being rejected). People saw me as aloof.Naturally, they responded by being aloof back. That reinforced my worldview that people didn’t like me.When I realized this, I decided to try to dare to be warm toward people FIRST. (Just as an experiment – I didn’t think it would even work.)But the results were amazing. When I dared to be warm toward people off the bat, they were warm toward me, too!Here are some examples of showing warmth: ·         Asking people a question or two about how they’re doing and what they’ve been up to. It’s effective because it signals that you care.·         If someone pulls a joke or tells a story, show appreciation by laughing or making a positive remark. It can be as little as “Haha, I love that story!”·         If you like what someone’s doing, let them know about it. “I liked what you said before regarding apartment designs”.·         If you tend to “play it cool” or restrict your facial expressions as a safety behavior, practice being more expressive. (Acting more like you do with people you are comfortable with).We dislike people who we think dislike us. We like people who we think like us. Here, I explain in more detail how to be more friendly. 12. Choose to accept your flawsI used to obsess that my nose was big. I decided to accept that it was part of me. I stopped trying to hide the fact that I had a big nose and owned it. I didn’t try to convince myself that my nose was small. Instead, I accepted the fact that my nose isn’t small. As a result, I stopped worrying about being judged for my nose. That made me more comfortable and likable.If we walk through life hoping that no one notices our insecurities or fears, we will always be afraid that someone might “find out”.We can choose to accept all our flaws. A friend of mine stopped being afraid to share that he was afraid and had insecurities. Something unexpected happened. When he stopped caring about those flaws, his nervosity faded away. This doesn’t mean that he walks up to people and tell them about his insecurities. It’s about accepting that it’s OK that people DO KNOW about our insecurities.If someone would walk up to you and say: Are you nervous? It’s a relief to not have to hide it, but to be able to say “Yes, I am.”Being completely accepting of ourselves likes this makes us less nervous.  13. Use your surroundings for inspirationFocus on your surroundings, the situation, and those you meet and use it as an inspiration for new conversation topics. Here are some examples of how to do this in practice.Topics inspired by the situationIf you’re, say, in the lunchroom at work or outside of the classroom in school, people aren’t always prepared to socialize. Here, you want to “ease in” by asking something regarding the situation first…“Excuse me, do you know when this class will start?”“Hi, where did you find the coke?”“Do you know if there’s another bathroom around here?”You’ll probably just get a short yes or no to this question, but a simple question like this is important as a warm-up to make your next question more natural and not as “out of the blue”.Now, you can ask a question based on the person – like, “Thanks. I’m David by the way. I started working here a few days ago. How do you find the place?”14. Practice coming up with statements in your headI made it a habit to make statements and ask questions in my head about stuff I saw when I walked down the street.After some time, I automatically started focusing outward instead of worrying as much about me.Here’s an exercise you can do right now to come up with these statements:1. Look around your room, and make statements in your head about things you see.“I like that lamp” “That plant needs water” “The sun really lights up this room” “The countertop is so messy” (And so on).2. When you go outside, ask yourself questions about those you see“I wonder where he’s from?” “I wonder what she’s doing for work?” “Is she nervous or is that how she always looks?”Notice how this makes you less self-conscious.When you practice this new way of thinking, coming up with new topics gets easier.When a topic dies out, you can naturally start a new one based on thoughts you already have in your head.“Is that a Samsung phone you got there? Happy with it? I’m thinking about ditching my iPhone.” 15. Return to earlier conversation topicsWhen a topic runs dry with someone you’ve talked with for a while, jump back to any of the things you’ve talked about before.Here’s an example from a conversation I had the other day:She: So yeah, that’s why I like Canon better than Sony because the second-hand market is much larger for Canon…Me: Interesting… (Conversation dies out)Me: You mentioned that you lived in Ukraine earlier. Did you make films there as well or what did you do?If this feels hard, it gets easier when you focus outward as I talked about at the beginning of this article.Think back to a conversation you had with someone:·         What topics did you cover?·         What could you ask about those topics?·         If you have a hard time coming up with questions, you want to focus more on the actual conversation. (Earlier in this guide I talked about how curiosity activates our “exploratory drive”.)·         When you watch a movie you like, questions pop up in your head all the time. “Who’s the murderer?” “Who took the gun?”. Why? Because focus leads to curiosity. In the same way, you want to focus on the conversation you’re having.16. Ask yourself whether mistakes really matterKnow that confident people say as many stupid things as nervous people do. It’s just not as big of a deal for them.I felt like I was always just one wrong word from losing everyone’s approval. I thought that I had to be PERFECT.It’s normal to have some fear of making mistakes – nobody wants to mess up. But the issue is having TOO MUCH fear of making mistakes.Psychologists call this Catastrophizing – when you believe that a social mistake means YOUR LIFE IS RUINED and PEOPLE HATE YOU and therefore YOU MUST AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS.[28]Meanwhile, a more realistic belief is that a social mistake would create a minor socially awkward moment that would be uncomfortable but would be forgotten in ten minutes.Fear of being judged, nervousness, and social anxiety, all boils down to being overly afraid of making mistakes.[29] In other words, anxious people overestimate the effect of social mistakes. We think that for people to like us, we have to be perfect. If we mess up, everyone will judge us.When you beat yourself up for something you said, ask yourself if you had cared if someone else had said it. Would you dislike the person? Or would you just find that person a bit more relatable?17. Ask what a confident person would have doneWhen you feel like you’ve messed up, ask yourself how a confident person would have reacted if they’d made the same mistake.Do you know a really confident person? If so, you can have that person as your point of reference. Or, you could have someone like The Rock or Jennifer Lawrence in mind. How would they have reacted if they’d made the same mistake you just made?Most often, we can assume that they would’ve just made a joke about it or wouldn’t care.18. Ask something slightly personalWhen I asked my readers what made you the most nervous in social settings, one issue that came up was the worry of not being interesting enough.You won’t get to know someone by talking about facts and opinions. When we switch over to talk about what’s personal, the conversation gets interesting. Maybe you talk about how rents are high. If we get stuck on this topic, most people get bored after a while. So, we want to switch the conversation into PERSONAL MODE.So, maybe you say “Yeah, the rents are ridiculous. I have this dream to move to the countryside one day and buy my own house instead. Where do you think you’ll be living in a few years?”Do you see what happened there?By sharing something slightly personal, the conversation feels more interesting!g an organization such as Toastmasters International, which is designed to help people get used to public speaking.Practice each speech as well. The more times you do it, the easier it can be to remember. Consider recording yourself. Each time you practice, pick out one thing that you want to work on and try to do that better next time. When you watch the recordings, make sure that you also notice all of the things that you have done right or gotten better at.4. If it goes wrong, pretend to be coolAs with everything else, public speaking can sometimes go wrong. You might forget what you’re about to say, your presentation might not load on the screen or you might get the microphone stuck in your hair. I’ve seen all of these happen in professional presentations and it’s been fine.The person who forgot what they were about to say took a sip of water and said “And this is why we bring notes”. The audience chuckled while she checked her notes and she carried on. Afterwards, she told me that she’d been cringing inside but she’d just tried to look cool about it. Honestly, we were all really impressed at how relaxed she’d seemed.Pretending to be relaxed about mistakes isn’t easy. Try having a prepared reaction to potential problems. You could say “Well, that wasn’t in my plan. Oh well. Let’s carry on anyway”. You might not feel relaxed to start with, but this really is an area where it’s worth trying to ‘fake it till you make it’. I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space.  I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do i deal with feeling unwanted

Thank-you for reaching out to better help for assistance.  I look forward to assisting you.  Sounds like you would like to know how to deal with feeling unwanted.  You stated that you always feel unwanted and never special enough for people to set time aside for you.  You stated that you feel like a @ 2 or a backup friend.  You state that you give a lot but you don't receive much in return from others. I understand your frustrations. Sounds like you give a lot and you don't feel like you get much back from others. First you need to love yourself, put your oxygen mask on and take good care of yourself. You can't be any good for others if you don't take good care of yourself and keep yourself strong.  You can't control others but you can control how you react to others. I am sure there is not anythig wrong with you.  I would suggest you apply the cognitive behavioral therapy/ CBT. This therapy challenges your thoughts and beliefs to get the best possible outcome for yourself. I would apply the ABC Model. A= the activating event, B= your thoughts and beliefs, C= the outcome or consequence.  The key is to challenge your B or beliefs to get the best possible outcome that you can get. You don't want to feel like you aren't worth anything, or not a friend that people want to be with. This is negative thinking and will just give you an outcome or consequence of depression, anxiety and feeling bad about yourself. You need to replace these negative thoughts in the B with more positive thoughts like I am going to put my oxygen mask on and take good care of myself. I am going to be strong or I won't be any good to others. I am going to love myself because I deserve good things. I am going to set boundaries and limits and let people know how much I will take. If they don't want to give or do for me, I will set a boundary and limit and not do as much for them. I will let them know my limits. I will be assertive with others. By doing this you are putting your oxygen mask on and loving yourself and taking good care of yourself. People will realize they can't not treat you well. I hope this helped you some. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing from you. 
(LPC, NCC, MS)
Answered on 01/21/2022