Friendship Answers

How do I know if I should let a friendship go?

Thank you so much for your question. It takes courage to reach out for help. When it comes to friendships and any other relationships, there are several things you can reflect on and consider when deciding whether to maintain that relationship or not. First I want to ask you to consider what you feel is best for you in this situation. If you could just say whatever you truly felt to your best friend what would you want your best friend to know? Consider this from a different perspective. If your best friend felt this way about you, how would you want your best friend to approach this topic with you? I see that you've mentioned values, which can certainly influence your outlook on relationships in your life. Values are your personal beliefs that are important to you and these values help motivate what choices you will make all throughout your life. So in this decision with your best friend, what are your true values and does your friend agree with or respect your values? It's possible to not have the same values as someone else you have a close relationship as long as you are both accepting of that and respectful of those differences. Now, if you feel your values are too different and it makes you uncomfortable or it causes you to continuously feel unpleasant emotions then it is certainly time to consider what your options are to help improve how you're feeling. So, if you are not sure that you want the same things, is it possible to have a conversation about this and ask your best friend what they do want. That way you may be able to obtain more certainty before deciding whether or not to let this friendship go. I would like to encourage you and remind you that this is your choice so you can decide when and if you want to make a change in this friendship. I suggest trying not to put too much pressure on yourself or be too hard on yourself about this choice and take the time that you need to do what is best for you. While you are deciding, it may be helpful to set a healthy boundary with your best friend. A boundary means communicating directly and respectfully what your intentions and expectations are in a relationship. Setting a boundary may include setting healthy limits to your involvement in what your best friend is going through. It's possible to be supportive but also safeguard your own emotional well-being.  I hope this has been helpful and wish you all the best. Also, if you are wanting further assistance with this, friendships and other relationships are certainly something you can thoroughly discuss with a licensed therapist.
Answered on 02/08/2023

How do I cope with moving away from all of my friends and family?

Hi Chuck, First of all, this is a brave step to reach out for help. You are not alone in the concern about leaving old friends behind and making new ones in a different setting. It is also brave to move over 1000 miles away from friends and family. I'm not sure of the circumstances-school, work, family, relationship etc.- but it will be quite the adventure. It is understandable that you would be worried about leaving behind loved ones and starting fresh at a brand new place. As for making new friends, maybe look at it as finding things to do that interest you in the new place, and then friends will follow. For example, volunteering is a great way to meet others, while doing something for the community. Or doing hobbies like hiking or something physical is a great way to get exercise and also find like-minded people. The point is to approach it as doing things for your own personal wellness and then meeting new people along the way. Hopefully, that can take some of the pressure off of the need to be social and finding new friends immediately. You're in a unique position of discovering a different place (not sure it it's new or familiar to you) and seeing everything it has to offer. I also recommend setting up ways to keep in contact with your current friends as they seem very important to you. Even hundreds of miles away, they can still be helpful and supportive of you as you adjust to the new setting. You can do fun things such as write letters, plan online movie watch parties, face-timing, sending gifts, etc. With moving to a different place, perhaps it is a place where friends or family will want to come visit at sometime down the line. You can also make arrangements to go back and visit them for holidays and other special events. Maybe not look at it as leaving so many people behind, but accepting the challenge of finding creative ways to keep them in your life and support system even from long distance. In addition, there are a few process questions I would encourage you to consider as you work through moving so many miles away and getting adjusted to a new setting. -Remind yourself of your purpose for moving in the first place. There must be a good reason/goal/opportunity. How can you make the sacrifices for this move not be in vain? -What is going well in your life right now in your current environment? What are some ways to set those good things up in the new environment? -Who is in your support system that can help you get through this move both mentally and physically? How can you get the support you need during this time? -What lessons can be learned from this time that can aid you for challenges in the future? When you think about six months or a year from now, what do you want your journey to look like? How do you want to describe to others how you were able to navigate this tough time and be successful with it? Making a change this big and moving away from loved ones is not easy. I encourage you to have patience and compassion with yourself as you navigate through this challenge. 
Answered on 02/03/2023

How can I communicate and with who?

Hello Liv,  Your desire for someone to know you in a deep meaningful way is a part of human nature. You deserve that. I am glad you reached out for some assistance and I hope I can guide you in the right direction today.  My favorite part of therapy is identifying strengths!. I know you have many, as evident in your question. You desire a connection with someone. That tells me that you are a human who has some level of empathy and care for others. You are seeking help, which can be a barrier in itself to many people. It's great that you are taking this step to make positive changes in your life.  I agree. It's hard to make and maintain friendships. I promise you it is worth it though! If you can find someone that you click with and get along with, there is nothing more valuable than a good friend. What are the barriers keeping you from making a good friend? This is important to identify and will help you manage those thoughts that are stopping you from forming that connection that you desire so much.  There is a type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT tells us that our thoughts feelings and behaviors are all connected and they influence each other. Typically, I notice cycles that people form in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to negative outcomes. The good news is, if we can find ways to break the cycle, we can make positive changes. For example; you might think that no one wants to talk to you, so you avoid people, and then you feel sad because you don't have a friend. Then because you feel sad, you avoid people and talk to others less. It creates this cycle where the thoughts, feelings and behaviors feed off of each other and make things more difficult for you. Where do you think this cycle can be broken? Breaking cycles oftentimes means going outside of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to try new things. These things might be scary sometimes but if you keep your goals in mind, they can feel a little easier!  I wish you the best!  -Melissa 
Answered on 01/31/2023

How do I acclimate to feeling invisible in my communities?

Acclimate? We start to accept the narrative of the way the environment treats us. There is something here you have begun to believe about yourself from this current environment. You notice that your identity is wrapped up in one thing, and if that one thing is too rigid, you will struggle with the expectations of success in your identity. What else are you besides what you mentioned in this question? What do you value, and what do your decisions serve about you? Hopefully, you identify more about yourself than just the titles.  There is much to talk about here in therapy to understand your identity better, why it means so much to you, and what holds you back. However, address what to do with these feelings and how to deal with not being seen by your community. You determined in your query that the best way to manage your feelings of hurt or rejection is to acclimate, or just lay down, in your life. You don't need to agree to not being seen; you need to start to notice what you believe should happen in relationships.  According to your question, you mention your belief that things should be a different way. What way is that? What would life look like if you woke up tomorrow and your problem today was solved? Would you have friends that embraced you as you are? Would you be accepted, or better, feel accepted? Is it as deep as accepting yourself? You have to identify what change would look like in your life. Not the difference you would make but the ideal results of your changes.  I have to check on the "artistic" life and what it tells you about yourself. Again with the harsh self-narrative and how you have adapted to this lifestyle, is it a culture that embraces differences? You have to work on separating from the narrative your environment told you about yourself, leading you to the conclusion in this question. You believe that your life should be different and what is critical is that you notice your belief that interferes with where you are at in life.  "Invisible" in the communities you have invested in has to be painful. Rather than trying to remove the pain, it's okay to embrace it. It is painful to realize you are being rejected by a family of sorts, a community, that you have chosen to be in, but now they don't accept you. Do not accept their lack of acceptance of you as acceptable; why your community doesn't is their shortcoming and demonstrates the judgemental ways of said community.  Lastly, if you engage in therapy, it would be best to focus talks on what you notice from your environment and how that affects your view of yourself. If you constantly look down on yourself or feel like an outsider, which is not a good feeling, especially in later years, it is good to say it out loud. As a suggestion, is there another way to approach this or another group to be around? It would benefit you to get to know yourself better and be supportive of yourself and what you notice to be good for you. If there is guilt and resentment, mitigating these emotions is critical to prevent being bitter.  What is good for you? What stops you from fulfilling that for yourself in your life?
Answered on 12/27/2022

How to deal with being in love with your best friend's girlfriend

Love can be very tricky and hard to hide. One of the great yet challenging things is being honest with yourself, which you have already done by acknowledging being in love with your best friend's girlfriend and acknowledging the feelings connected to this reality, which is the first step. You have identified that this is someone who you can never be with and it sounds like you have come to terms with that.  You also mentioned "Being with her would mean choosing between her and my friend" and this may come with the assumption that the feeling is mutual, which could be true or false. Identifying the pros and cons of saying something is important as it seems you value this friendship and this could cost you losing both friends. Although you all have perhaps built a strong connection with each other and are possibly around one another often, the second step is to set healthy boundaries for yourself by exploring ways that you can minimize hurtful interactions. For example being intentional about not being alone with this friend, not spending too much time with them, or asking questions related to their feelings about you. This is not easy to do at all, however, in trying to work through these feelings sometimes limiting interactions with that person is necessary. It sounds like friendship, comfort, and connectedness are important to you as it relates to romantic interests with others. Another step can be taking some time to think about what you love about that person so that you can be intentional about future romantic connections with others that will be meaningful to you based on what you like. You mentioned feeling shameful and guilty and the reality is we cannot always help who we are attracted to or fall in love with. Be sure to practice giving yourself grace knowing that you are human. Moving forward with this situation will take some time and could even be a grieving process. Giving yourself that time and seeking professional support can also help you talk through it. Coping with situations as such will look different for everyone. 
Answered on 12/21/2022

I can not make friends or keep a relationship. It feels like I will eventually get betrayed. Why?

Hello there, Thank you for your question. Many of us want to have a friend that we can trust, be open and close with and even more to have a group of friends for fun and support and to take part in our interests and spend free time with, but being unable to trust can really get in the way of having this...perhaps there are painful past experiences that have led you to feel unable to trust right now, perhaps friends have hurt you or let you down or you feel unsure of how to 'read' people...if you choose friends that seem to hold values and qualities that make a good friend such as honesty, kindness and loyalty, this can help you to build trust with them...take your time to get to know people and if you feel you are perhaps on the autistic spectrum, you may find support and acceptance within a group for neurodiverse people..being with people that understand you, can help you feel less alone, as we all need to feel understood, this may also increase your confidence as you understand yourself and your challenges in social situations more. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, it's all a part of being human. Forgiving small mistakes is healthy in any friendship. Perhaps you feel unconfident in your own abilities to form healthy friendships as you may have some anxiety and this makes being social quite draining for you. Social interactions can feel more challenging if you feel self conscious and anxious or mistrustful. We can feel alone when we feel no one understands us, so finding others that feel the same way or have similar challenges can help us feel more connected and less lonely. It's also important that we trust ourselves, to be able to trust others. Therapy can help you unpack challenges you have been through in the past, if any, and also to understand yourself a little better and this may also help increase your confidence to make friends as you can be more aware of how you are feeling and why and gain confidence in being open again with new friends.  
(diploma, in, therapeutic, counselling, and, pyschotherapy, psychotherapist/counsellor)
Answered on 12/17/2022

How do you start to make amends with old relationships you actually want to rekindle?

When we want to rekindle a friendship with someone that we have fallen out with it can take time and be difficult. There are a few steps you can take. The first step is self-awareness. You can do this by looking at the situation and see what your part in the fall out was. Were there behaviors or actions on your part that caused the relationship to end? Were these behaviors or actions negative or positive? If they were negative discover a way to correct them within yourself first.  The second step would be to identify what amends you would like to make with your friend. Since you have identified what your part is you can identify what making amends for your part would look like. This can look like repaying physical debt, saying you are sorry, changing behaviors or actions, etc. By identifying this before reaching out to the friend can show that you have taken time and consideration to address what your part in the fall out was. The third step would be to reach out to your friend to see if they are ready or wanting to talk. If they are not wanting to talk directly to you ask if you could text or email. This shows respect and care towards their feelings as well as gives you an idea if they are ready to accept the amends. The fourth step would be to make the actual amends whether it be in person, over text, or through email. Being able to express your feelings, own your part of the fall out, and identifying what you are willing to do to fix the issues. The fifth step would be to allow the other person to express their thoughts, feelings, amends, etc. When we want to mend relationships, it is important to be able to listen to their perspective too. Try to remember to listen to hear not listen to defend. Although perceptions may be different regarding the events or situations that occurred it is important that you both are given equal opportunity to express this. The last step would be if both of you want to mend the relationship to start out slow and start communicating and spending time together again. Sometimes relationships can pick up where we left off. Other times we must rebuild the relationship to get as strong as it was. Again, both the other person and you need to come to an agreement of what this should look like.
Answered on 12/12/2022

How can I express my feelings and thoughts without feeling guilty or sad about it?

Hello, Great to meet you and this is a question that would be great to work through in therapy, there's a lot going on in this question and I can imagine some of the challenges you may be facing. There is not a simple solution in reality and some strategies may work and others may not, it's worth remembering to keep trying to maintain and apply consistent boundaries.  We all go through periods where we need different things in our life's journey, and when we need different things from our healing process and firstly this is really normal, you don't have to rush. Take some time to consider what you want and what you need. It's important to remember some social contact is vital to resilience and recovery also.  I hear you say you're unsure of how to state this, and I appreciate this can be a difficult part of all of our journey especially when we don't want to cause any offense, however this unclear communication can cause more issues than setting out a clear boundary.  If you have not been setting clear boundaries in the past this can be really difficult to start with, if you take some time to consider what you are comfortable with and for how long where and when, this may be a starting point for your journey. Taking time to consider which boundaries are a priority to you and start practicing these it becomes easier over time. When considering boundaries, be confident in knowing what you want to start with. This helps and supports you to confidently create these.  Planning can also be really important in creating boundaries, when and where are these issues going to come up and can you meet for a time limited period, practice some phrases like, 'I only have 30 minutes I have some tasks to complete/work to do/appointment'.  It can be really helpful to be honest in your communication as well, if you are struggling with a certain boundary or issue it may be worth taking some time to consider why this is a problem and what you want from the person to resolve the issue or boundary.  It's always worth remembering you are in control of the information you communicate with whoever you chose to, again it may be helpful to consider some phrases that you wish to remember for when these issues come up. An example may be, 'I appreciate you asking that question, I really value my personal space at the moment and would prefer to talk about something else'.  I hope this helps, each situation is different and I hope this response helps to some degree.  Take good care Neil
(Diploma, in, therapeutic, counselling)
Answered on 12/05/2022

I feel that I'm not connecting with the people around me. Is it me? Or are they not "my people"?

Hi Villa!  Building relationships is difficult! Whether a romantic relationship, a friendship, a professional relationship, or anything else. Building and maintaining them takes a lot of work. How do you know they don't like you? Did they tell you that? If they did tell you, then that's an easy way to weed out the people who you know you will not form relationships with. If they didn't tell you that then it is likely that you told yourself they don't like you. Connections can be hard, especially at first but that does not mean that someone does not like you, it just means that the friendship might need some more work and growth before it is where you want it to be.  I would like to suggest that you be more mindful of your inner voice. What are you saying to yourself? Are you simply staying in the moment and allowing things to happen as they happen when you are interacting with new friends or are you telling yourself things such as, "he or she doesn't like me"? Talk to yourself in a positive way, as if you were your friend. Tell yourself more helpful things, such as, "This connection is hard to make with this person, what can we do differently to help it grow?" or "I have these good qualities, I know this new friend will see those too, let's focus on those." So much of what happens around us is based on how we talk to ourselves, or our inner voice. Unless you know for a fact because someone told you that they don't like you, then don't assume they don't. Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. If you are thinking that someone does not like you, it is likely that you are projecting those thoughts in some way and then that person can sense that something is off. They might be doing the same thing in their own heads, causing the disconnect. If you show up with confidence that the new friendship will work and show that you are kind, caring, and compassionate you will project that positivity onto the other person and the interactions should be better. Just be kind to yourself! I wish you the best with this and hope you can develop some healthy and happy relationships! 
Answered on 11/22/2022

How do I stop fixating on a situation where I lost my best friend of 18 years?

Hello, First that's incredibly pain and what a difficult loss in your life. It's hard when a friend isn't respecting your boundaries and sounds like she's siding with her boyfriend and not looking at the whole picture- which can be absolutely devastating. I will offer a few ideas here on how to grieve, process and reduce suffering around thinking about it and I understand it can take time. I think it makes sense due to this individual being your best friend for 18 years and having it lost in a getaway. Processing is an ongoing thing to do and this is something I prefer to do to fully understand my side and why I experienced what I did. What I'll do is list all my emotions that I experienced from that situation now as a result of bringing this back up... I'll give an example of this. Angry Sad Guilt Lost The goal here to allow yourself to say these are all the emotions I'm feeling that I can remember (more may come up, which is normal). Next, you want to spend some time writing down how each of the emotions make sense. This is going to be more challenging and more fruitful. The important piece is to understand your side of what you went through and why you felt that way. It can be important as you write out each of the emotions and how it makes sense to include what you may have needed from each of these emotions. I'll provide a few examples. Anger- I felt angry by how my best friend and her boyfriend treated me by talking down to me. I wanted to call them every name in the book, but I didn't. I was especially angry as I felt she sided with him and they were being unreasonable. WHAT I MAY HAVE NEEDED: I felt I needed to step away safely and disengage with self care and state specifically that I'm not okay with you two yelling at me (just an example is all). The goal here is to self-validate and process how you feel, why it makes sense and what you might have needed. There are more steps to this and this can be a helpful start. Best Regards, Mitchell Daas, MA, LPCC
Answered on 11/21/2022

What do I have to do to get my friends' attention

Hello, thanks for reaching out. In any relationship, be it romantic, coworker, friends, family etc, communication is of paramount importance for a healthy relationship. Sometimes difficult conversations or difficult topics can be difficult for us to bring up with another person, because as a species we tend to shy away from conflict if at all possible. Sometimes the perception of difficult topics or conversation is that the level of difficulty will match the level of potential conflict involved if we open up to the other person. This is often not the case, sometimes communicating that part of ourself can actually diffuse a potential conflict because now the other party involved now knows how we feel and likely vice versa. If we are not accustomed to opening up to another person in this manner, it can take time to get comfortable to it, it can also feel clunky at first, awkward almost, but it can be a skill that can help us long term once we master it. There are of course ways to interact with another person and ways that if we interact in that way then an argument will ensue. Usually in those conversations that start with a judgmental point of view i.e. the "you did this, you did that," then the other person will likely feel attacked and respond from a defensive posture to defend themselves, which then leads to an argument. If however we communicate our feelings with the other person then this will not feel like an attack and serves to inform the other person. They can then respond in kind and now there is dialogue. This conversation may look like "I feel (feeling).......when.....(event/situation)" there is no attack here and therefore nothing for another person to feel the need to defend themselves and thus no argument.  I highlight this as it can be an effective tool to communicate with another person. I notice your question around how to get friends' attention as such this could look like "I feel (lonely) when I (don't hear from you for a time)" as an example but of course using your own words. This then communicates how you might feel and therefore your needs in this situation. They might respond with why they may be absent etc which of course could be they got busy, they have been ill or anything else. Either way there would be dialogue between the two of you.  This is of course one of many ways of communication. Therapy could indeed help you to explore what might be going on for you in a safe space regarding friends/family and more besides. warmest regards, Kai
(BA, (Hons), Integrative, Counsellor)
Answered on 11/17/2022

What is wrong with me?

Thank you so much for sharing your honest feelings and questions. That is a hard place to be in, when you don't feel really all the way present in the world or your own life. I also think you're not alone in feeling this way, as many are feeling disconnected emotionally and socially following the pandemic.  Let's start with some techniques that can help you turn off autopilot and feel more involved in your own life. Grounding techniques can be very helpful here to bring awareness to your body and your environment. Deep breathing is one of these grounding techniques. You can try simply taking deep breaths, or you can try square breathing where you inhale for a given amount of time (i.e. four seconds), hold it for the same amount of time, exhale for the same amount of time, and hold that for the same amount of time, forcing your breathing to be slower and more controlled. You can also try the "5-4-3-2-1 technique," in which you will identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Strive to notice small details that your mind would usually tune out, such as distant sounds, or the texture of an ordinary object. Another idea to go along with this is being intentional about the activities you choose to engage in and making sure you do something fun or exciting for yourself each week. This can be anything from getting your favorite coffee to going on walks outside, as long as it evokes that positive emotion for you. You also brought up the challenge of connecting with people and making friends. This can be an intimidating thing, especially in adulthood, when it feels like there are fewer opportunities to spend time with new people. When you feel up to it, busting out of your comfort zone might help you interact with new people, which could be potential new friends. Think about activities you’ve always wanted to try but never have. It could be as simple as taking your dog to a new coffee shop every weekend or maybe you finally try going to that book club that your cousin is in. You could also just spark up a conversation with the people you regularly cross paths with at work, the gym, the library, or wherever. If you feel more comfortable starting connections online, there are now several different social platforms where you can joins groups related to your interests. For example, if you like cycling, join a cycling Facebook group or follow a cycling TikTok page. You could also use social media as a jumping-off point for developing friendships with people you follow by replying to people’s stories if they post about activities you’re interested in, or leaving kind comments on their posts.
Answered on 11/16/2022

Why do I feel the way I do?

First step is the "why". I feel that you may not understand the way that you feel. It could be due to childhood issues, past trauma, previous relationships, stress... the list goes on and on. I want you to work on trying to sit there and thinking I am ok. Do you ever ask friends what is going on? Or even framing it as "maybe I am in my head but I feel stuff is off because of x y z."  I would also encourage you to recognize that rejection, fear, and anxiety. What has contributed for it to impact at such a heavy degree? I would want you to evaluate the friendships. What brought you all together? What do they provide for you, what role do they serve? One key too would be working on trying to recognize who you are. It would make sense to start utilizing positive self talk and trying to build up self-esteem. Maybe spending time with individuals who build you up too. The big focus here is maybe asking questions of friends. You are in charge of your behaviors and responses and if they do things that bug you, make them aware of what they are doing. You are not in charge of how they perceive this. If they are true friends then you should be able to go into a discussion and talking about what changes need to help everyone.  As odd as this might sound too but trying to work on calming yourself down when recognizing feeling any type of emotions with friends. Yoga, journaling, going on walks, listening to positive music, light exercise. I list all of these because it's finding what works for you. There are other options too but this is where I start. These can help you work on calming yourself down and trying to center yourself and being able to redirect thoughts to more likely rational outcomes. I hope this has provided you with some support. I feel I am never able to fully provide all the thoughts I would like to. I hope you are able to find some support and help down the road. Therapy is a good start. 
Answered on 11/13/2022

I'm good at meeting new people but after time we meet i feel like i did something wrong

Hi Solly! Thank you for asking this valuable question on the BetterHelp platform! It is a really good sign that you are reaching out for support on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist " forum. I can tell that you are able to recognize your strengths, including that you are good at meeting new people. What are some of your other positive traits and qualities? It appears that after you have initially connected with someone new, the connection does not seem to be sustained. When did you begin to notice this trend happening? I hope that I can offer you some guidance and direction in response to your question. Based on what you shared in your question, I can tell that you would like to improve your socialization skills and learn how to foster healthy friendships with others. It sounds like you would like to make long lasting, positive connections with the people that you meet. This is a wonderful goal that you have set for yourself. I would be interested in hearing more about your experiences with meeting new people. What are some of your personal strategies for building rapport, gaining trust and establishing connections with the individuals whom you meet? How and where do you like to meet others? Take some time to reflect on your most recent experiences, as well as your past experiences, when it comes to meeting new people. I understand that you have been noticing these thoughts arise that you may have done something wrong after you have already met someone new. This kind of thinking is likely connected to your neural network, particularly your core belief system. Core beliefs are typically developed in early childhood or during adolescence and can be pervasive in various aspects of life. Core beliefs can be positive, such as "I am a good person" or negative and maladaptive, such as "I am not good enough." Take some time to reflect on your personal core belief system because it may be different for everyone. Try to identify a touch stone (first time) experience that explains where your core beliefs may have originated from. The therapists on the BetterHelp platform have some really great worksheets developed by Therapist Aid that they can use on the topic of examining core beliefs. If you choose to start therapy, you can inquire about these resources once you are matched with a therapist. It also sounds like you could benefit from learning more about the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The foundation of CBT is that human thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interrelated and connected. It would be ideal if you could explore more in depth about the thought that you might have done some thing wrong after meeting new people. It sounds like the thoughts that you have been having are intrusive and may also be automatic. I would like to introduce you to the concept of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs), which is a principle of CBT. ANTs are oftentimes pervasive patterns of thinking that cause significant distress and difficulty for individuals due to their recurrent and cyclical nature. The first few steps of managing ANTs are to recognize that these thoughts are disruptive, determine a willingness to explore the thoughts and develop a realistic plan for change. One way in which ANTs can be unraveled is through positive thinking, such as self affirming statements. Here is the link to an article that addresses the concept of ANTs: I realize that you have considered the possibility that ADHD could be a contributing factor for the situation. When were you first diagnosed with ADHD? What are some of your symptoms of ADHD? Would you say that the ADHD symptoms that you have been experiencing impact your social or occupational functioning? Ideally you could continue to explore more about this diagnosis. I would like to encourage you to take some time to explore some creative interventions. Some ideas that come to mind include: journaling, therapeutic drawing, collage, sculpting with clay and dance or movement techniques. Make an inventory about the qualities that you harbor as a friend. Make a list or reflect on this through therapeutic writing. You may want to draw a picture of your ideal friendship. Draw a house, a tree and a person. These projective drawing techniques can assist you in better understanding your personal world view. In addition, it could be helpful for you to create an identity collage as a means for advancing the process of self discovery. Build a sculpture out of clay that represents what you expect that you could be doing wrong. Dance while listening to music and utilize movement as a means to recreate experiences in which you have doubted yourself. As human beings, we tend to have a natural affinity to recreate experiences in order to more fully and consciously process what we have endured in our lifetime. At this time, I would like to recommend that you begin attending individuals therapy sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It will likely benefit you to have a trained therapist to talk with about your concerns, learn new strategies for social skills as well as explore your perceptions and beliefs of yourself and your world views. In addition, it would be wonderful if you could join a therapy group or attend a groupinar. Group therapy sessions have the added benefit of connecting with other individuals in a therapeutic setting. By joining a group session, you will also be able to practice and implement the socialization skills that you learn learn about in individual counseling. Thank you so much for your time reaching out for support on the topic of meeting new people! I am so glad that you have brought this question here. I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey of self exploration! Thank you again and have a great day! Take care.
Answered on 11/12/2022

How can I reach out to friends again after a long period of no communication (from my behalf)?

Hi there,  I hope you are well and thank you for sharing your question with us.  I can see that there has been a disconnection between you and your friends due to your own mental health, as well as the further challenges brought by the pandemic. There can be lots of reasons why we distance ourselves from our peers in times of difficulty. It can be a way of protecting ourselves or them, during our challenging times. This can also lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. From your message, I am sensing that the last few years have been filled with some challenges for you which led to you feeling unable to keep in contact with your friends, so you distanced yourself.  As time has gone on, you are now in a place where you feel ready to reconnect with them however, the thought of doing so, appears to be bringing up some internal struggles for you. I wonder what is preventing you from getting in touch with them? Perhaps you are worried about what they will think or say, after the time that has passed? Perhaps there are questions to be answered you don't have the answers for? Maybe they will just simply embrace you back into the friendship, just like old times?  It can be helpful to write down our worries or the things that are limiting us or preventing us from doing things we feel we would like to. Sometimes this can lead to a greater sense of what is troubling us and why? This can then lead to us finding resolutions... For example; you could ask yourself what is the worst that could happen if I get in touch with my friends? Equally, what is the best thing that could happen? Is it worth taking that step and trying? Understanding our worries or our apprehensions to situations can also help us to further understand ourselves and where we are at. It can also help us to seek resolutions to these challenges in order to overcome them.  It's ok to be apprehensive, scared, afraid, uncertain, unsure, stuck, worried, anxious, excited, nervous and a whole host of other feelings at the idea of reconnecting with people you have lost touch with. The choice is always yours as to whether to take that step or not. If you don't how would that feel? What would that mean? If you do how would that feel? What would that mean? Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to say "Hey, I'm here, I missed you". There may be some questions to be answered - but again, the way you go about answering questions you may be presented with, is your choice. Ask yourself what you want to achieve out of reconnecting with these friends. That's your starting point.  Then consider how can you reconnect with them - there are lots of ways to do this... do what feels best for you at this time.  You've got this!!!  I hope this has been useful but please do get in touch if you have further questions.  Thanks  Kim
Answered on 11/01/2022

Why do I ruin my happiness?

Hi Mort, To me this sounds like hyper-awareness.  Basically you are overly in tune with yourself, your process and your thoughts are interfering with your ability to be in the moment and enjoy it.  A lot of people have the opposite problem which is that they don't think and aren't aware enough of the way they present to others.  Regardless, there are many people like you that present with hyper aware and detrimental thoughts that stop them from fully experiencing or enjoying interactions with others. I would say it may help to intervene on some level with affirmations and reframing.  This is basically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and that means that you change the way you think and then you will experience and enjoy a different behavioral outcome.  Hence, when you become aware you are laughing, I would encourage you to first, figure out what exactly is your internal dialog that is "ruining the fun" for you?  To me, it sounds like it's thoughts like "I'm laughing now.  Am I laughing too hard.  There I go laughing again. Is this really funny?  Is this worth laughing about?  I can hear myself laughing..."  Maybe it is something like that?  Basically, any type of thinking like that is going to interfere with and ruin the moment in which you experience spontaneous laughter and humor with another person or people.  So, the reframing process involves you answering back to these thoughts with gentle, but disputing thought patterns such as "Yes, I am laughing and that's okay" or simply "I know.  It's good to laugh"....basically any intervening thought that is not hyper-aware or critical of yourself for laughing in those moments is going to help you to not ruin the fun as you say.   Be gentle on yourself and if this doesn't help at first, just keep trying and try to avoid patterns of self-criticisms - that's the crux of the entire problem in that you are thinking and being overly self critical and it's interfering with you being your authentic self in the moment.  I am wondering if you are aware of yourself laughing or hyper-aware of yourself in any other circumstance.  Some of what you are describing does sound like a sort of social anxiety or awkward feeling and that could just be a symptom of a larger issue. I am also wondering if there may be some part of you that thinks you don't deserve to have fun and just laugh?  Maybe you don't like the way you sound when you laugh or someone gave you feedback about your laugh that sort of ruined finding things funny and laughing for you.  If so, those are also ideas that need to be challenged and changed.   I hope you don't have more global anxieties or issues with social awkwardness/unhappiness.  If it is just limited to being overly aware of laughing, then that is actually a good thing compared to what some people struggle with in terms of social anxiety an awkward feelings.  Regardless, the goal here is just to let yourself be in the moment and to enjoy it without interfering negative thoughts.  Mindfulness is another therapy term for this process so you can look up more on both CBT and mindfulness practices and hopefully this will aid you to be more relaxed and spontaneous and at ease with your own thinking and hence, experience better and more rewarding social interactions.   I hope this helps!
Answered on 10/30/2022

Should I stop being friends with someone who has repeatedly hurt me?

Tony, you present a difficult question of worrying how far to compromise your values in the effort to keep a friend.  This kind of dilemma is often related to insecurity when it comes to self-confidence and self-esteem. To ignore this challenge equates to being complicit in something that goes against your core values. Now imagine if you were able to feel fully prepared to respond to this problem; if you were presented with the necessary skills and strategic steps to reach your desired outcome.  DBT or Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills can assist in gaining a detailed understanding of how to more  effectively communicate the point you are trying to make.  I will outline some of the key components here, but if you have a BetterHelp therapist, you can also request DBT worksheets that pertain to interpersonal effectiveness skills.  "Effectiveness" in this case has to do with obtaining the changes one wants, maintaining the relationship, and maintaining your self-respect.  There is a slightly different emphasis depending on which aspect is most important in a given situation.  You can ask yourself, in this situation, which goal rises to the top: reaching a specific outcome; keeping the friendship; or prioritizing your self respect no matter what.  Additional questions help guide and discern whether it is a good time to confront the issue/broach the conversation, whether you have done adequate preparation, and whether the request is appropriate to the relationship.  There can also be factors that take away from effectiveness, including lack of skill, worry thoughts, emotions, indecision, and circumstances of the environment.   In DBT the acronym DEAR MAN, stands for describe; express; assert; reinforce and mindful; appear confident; and negotiate.  In other words, you would:  1)  Describe the situation.  Tell the person exactly what you are reacting to.  Stick to the facts. 2)  Express your feelings and opinions about the situation, using phrases like "I need; I don't want." 3)  Assert yourself by asking for what you want. 4)  Reinforce or reward the person ahead of time by explaining consequences.   5) Mindfully keep the focus on your objective.  Don't let yourself be distracted.  If needed, keep expressing your opinion over and over like a broken record.  Don't respond to attacks. 6)  Appear confident, effective and competent by using a firm voice and refraining from apology. 7)  Negotiate and be willing to give, in order to get.  Maintain your position, but offer to do something else or to solve the problem another way.  Focus on what will work.  This can include turning the problem over to the other person by asking "What can we do to solve this problem?" When a person's primary goal is to preserve the relationship, the additional skills can be remembered by "GIVE."   1) (be) Gentle, be courteous and temperate in your approach, with no threats or judging. 2)  (act) Interested, be patient. 3)  Validate or acknowledge the other person's feelings and difficulties. 4)  (use an) Easy manner in listening to their point of view.   When the overriding goal is to maintain your self-respect, then a way to remember the skills is "FAST." 1)  (be) Fair to yourself and the other person. 2)  (no) Apologies, be clear on what you believe is the moral or valued way of thinking and acting, and stick to your guns. 3)  (be) Truthful, don't act helpless when you're not and don't make up excuses.     Sometimes there are conflicts in priorities that make it harder to choose an effective approach.  You can ask yourself questions like:  What specific results do I want?  What changes do I want the person to make?  How do I want the other person to feel about me after the interaction? How do I want to feel about myself after the interaction? Being prepared with a skillful approach can definitely increase the odds of achieving the outcomes you hope for, without any negative consequences.  It may feel a bit contrived to have to think through all these factors, but once you become more familiar with the concepts, it becomes second nature. I support you in your search for a stronger sense of self and hope you can find some helpful ideas here.
Answered on 10/29/2022

What should I do to make a friend?

Hello R2D2! Thank you so much for bringing this vital question to the BetterHelp "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum! You certainly have come to the right place. Developing social skills can certainly be a lengthy process and often takes some hard work as well as a bit of practice over time. I would be interested in hearing more about your experience with making friendships in the past. What are some of the barriers that you foresee as a challenge when you consider the process of making new friends? Based on your question, it seems like you are ready to make some changes in your day to day life in order to make new friends. From what you wrote, it appears that you are intrinsically motivated to meet new acquaintances and establish novel friendships. I am so glad to see you reaching out for support at this time and I am more than grateful that you provided me with the details about your current situation. Going off of what you wrote about in your initial question, it sounds like you would like to set a goal of making at least one new friend in the next few weeks, or so. Essentially, it will be up to you to begin this process. Are you willing to meet new acquaintances in your town or neighborhood? Would you be able to establish some connections with peers in an online setting? Have you considered going to a therapy skills group on the topic of social skills training? If you feel like you are struggling to meet new friends, is it because you are having trouble with reach out or interacting with others? Perhaps you can start by making a phone call or sending an email or text message to someone who you already know. Keep it simple and just say, "hi, how's it going?"I know that you mentioned in your question that you have been begun working and it sounds like you are doing fairly well at your job thus far. A great way to meet new friends is through mutual connections. Do you have a coworker who has a sibling or cousin that you could try to spend time with? Perhaps you can ask a family member if they have a suggestion for making new friends. It would be great to come up with a potential plan of action in order to start your journey of fostering new friendships. I also would be interested in hearing more about your strengths as a friend yourself. For example, what skills do you possess that would make you a good friend to some one else? What are some qualities that you value in a friendship? Have you considered going to a public place, like a museum or a park, in order to establish connections in the community? Perhaps there is a class you can take that would help you to make a new acquaintance. I like the idea of going to a paint nite, pottery class, or an art museum. Not only will you meet others who may have similar interests, but you may also have an opportunity to experience some of the healing aspects of viewing art or art making!What are some of your hobbies or interests? You mentioned that you have been watching a television series. What shows do you enjoy watching? Perhaps there is a fan group or a club that you can join that would help you to meet new people. It depends what you like but it would definitely be worth looking into!Also, you mentioned in your question that you have been spending time focusing on studying. What are you currently studying for? Are you taking online classes, preparing for an exam or enrolled in a college or university? Reaching out to others who are also studying would be an ideal way to meet new people. You can enroll in an exam prep course, go to a study group or check out resources at local colleges in the community. There could be many people around your age who are also looking to make new friends! Try your best to connect with peers in social settings when you have the opportunity to do so. You can do this by simply asking an individual how they are doing. Create a list of questions that you could ask a new acquaintance. An example of a question that you could ask someone you just met is, "How do you like to spend your free time on the weekends?" As you explore the meaning of friendship, I would like to commission you to create a therapeutic drawing of the meaning of friendship. Take your time to contemplate what a good friendship might look like. Utilize colors to symbolize emotions that you are willing to share with a friend. Perhaps you can create a thought bubble or talking point and add that to your drawing. You may find some new insight and inspiration through your drawing! By inquiring about this concept of making new friends, I can tell that you are at the point where you are preparing to make some changes. At this time, I would recommend going to individual counseling sessions as well as group therapy. Both of these modalities will be beneficial in your process of making changes for yourself. You will also have an opportunity to work on improving socialization skills, which I believe will be incredibly helpful for you! In addition, group therapy will be a wonderful opportunity for you to make new friends as well as help you to combat the feelings of loneliness that you have been having. Trust in the rewarding nature of the therapeutic process! Thank you again, R2D2, for your time in asking a question on the BetterHelp platform. I want to wish you all the best in your therapeutic journey on BetterHelp. I hope that my response is helpful for you in some way! Take good care and enjoy your day.
Answered on 10/24/2022

How does a person not be a loner?

I think as we get older, it definitely becomes more difficult to make friends.  We do not have as many opportunities to make friends like we do when we are in school as young children or even when we are in college.  I think we sometimes have to think outside of the box in finding ways to make friends when we get older.    First and foremost you have to get out of the house and put yourself in situations and places where there are people who you could eventually become friends with.  Everyone has the ability to make friends, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.  Some examples of places and ways one can make friends include: volunteering in the community, meeting friends on apps such as Bumble BFF or meet up, getting involved in club or community sports, going to church or making friends at work. We need to try to find a place to meet people who may have similar interests as you do. Once we find a place to make friends, it is important to make connections with them.  We can make connections by being friendly, making eye contact, smiling, being curious by asking them questions about themselves, being a good listener, showing an interest in who they, what they enjoy, and also finding out the things that you have in common with them.  It is also important to share information about yourself with others and it is helpful to be vulnerable at times. Sometimes we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and put ourselves out there in order to meet new people. It can often be scary to put yourself out there to meet new people and make new friends. The most important thing is to be oneself and to not overthink what we are saying and doing and become too anxious.  Being overly anxious will often make us overthink things and cause us to be too hard on ourselves.  Remember, sometimes it only takes making friends with one person and this will open up opportunities to meet more people through them.  
Answered on 10/19/2022

Im the problem arent I?

Hello and thank you for asking a question here on BetterHelp. This is a very good question to ask, it shows that you have some really good insights that there could be a problem with the way you are engaging with people. I would also like to say that it's awesome that you want to change this, I will explain it more in detail later, but I tell everybody I work with how incredibly important it is that we have good interest for the friends in our life. Essentially what I'm saying is that I agree with you that this is something you need to improve. Now to answer your initial question, is it you that's the problem? Maybe, maybe not, but we do know that you are the solution. The key to you to getting out and making more friends and having good close friendships is completely up to you, you are the only person that can fix it. I'm going to have some words of advice for you but I think it's best if we talk a little bit about therapy first. Whenever you start talking about just usually this it inevitably leads to other issues you didn't even think about. Because of this I would strongly recommend that you talk to a therapist about this concern and see what else lies at the root of the problem. It's very easy to get linked with a therapist of your own with BetterHelp- all you have to do is click on the get started button on the homepage and follow the prompts from there. You will answer several questions about yourself and will then be matched with a therapist. If you don't like the therapist you are linked with, then you're more than welcome to choose one on your own or ask to be paired to somebody else. A therapist can help you recognize toxic behavior in your life that maybe you thought was completely normal, and they can help you recognize barriers in your life you didn't even know existed but are stopping you from becoming the person that you want to be. A therapist can also help you develop better relationship building skills as well as help you better understand your values, making it easier to meet people who have the same value as you. I hope you'll consider getting linked with somebody soon. When it comes to making friendships there are a couple things you need to always remember. The first one is that you are not in control of how somebody else responds to you, you are only in control of how you act or respond to them. This is very important because we could easily put ourselves out there, meet somebody new and feel like there's a good friendship developing, only to be ghosted by the person for no apparent reason. You must accept that some friends in life will come and go. You might think you will have an excellent friendship developing and then it will slowly fade away over a couple months. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, it is just the way life works. I really want you to understand this because I don't want you to beat yourself up if a friendship ends up not working out. The second really important thing is that you have to be willing to put yourself out there, you have to be willing to take the risk to get out of your comfort zone and meet some new people. Otherwise you'll be in this exact same predicament 10 years from now. One of the best ways you can do this is to get online and find a special interest group in your area that meets together once in a while. I know people that have met lifelong friends through bouldering groups and chess clubs. There are tons of people that you could connect with and develop the friendships with, but you have to be willing to go out and meet them. Along with that, you have to work to keep the communication going. You can't depend on the other person to make plans and to contact you. Something I regularly hear in therapy is, "my friends don't call me anymore." And I always have the exact same response every time, "You are fully capable of using the phone yourself and you can contact them". You have to be willing to put in the effort to grow the friendship.   Two things I really want to emphasize at the end. Be aware that there are toxic people out there. If you see some red flags pop up, like somebody being really rude to their spouse or becoming belligerent, then don't ignore those red flags! If you are not comfortable being around somebody because of their behavior, then make sure you keep your distance from them. The goal is to grow friendships, but not at your expense.  The second thing I want to end on is that your self-care is just as important as anything else I have mentioned. The better you feel in your own skin, the more confident you are then the easier it will be for you to develop friendships. Self-care is really hard but makes you the person you want to be. Good self-care means making smart financial decisions and preparing for the future, it means recognizing toxic behavior in your own life and making an active effort to change it, it means taking good care of your body and watching what you put into it, it also means making sure you are productive and satisfied with what you are doing in your life. When you take care of yourself and you are more confident who you are, then the easier it will be for you to be a good and trustworthy friend. I hope you were able to find some thing in here that helps and I wish you the best of luck as you put yourself out there and make new friends!  
Answered on 08/16/2022