If someone asks you to do something – go to dinner, hang out, volunteer, schedule a play date for your kids, etc. – and you don’t want to, do an internal assessment: Why don’t you want to? If it’s because you’d rather sit on the couch texting people or watching TV, get off your butt and go do something. If it’s because you already have a packed schedule or something about the situation makes you uncomfortable, say no. It’s that simple.
Socializing is hard for lots of people! Grown-ups struggle with friendships too. It’s not just middle schoolers.
Parties are awkward for all of us! But they’re still fun, so just go be awkward with other people. It’s ok.
Being “nice” can be hurtful. Don’t tell people what you think they want to hear. Avoiding immediate discomfort only prolongs the problem and will ultimately end up harming your relationship. Be real and honest in a kind, gentle way.
Don’t yell or curse at people.
Don’t be aggressive. It takes more willpower to maintain calm than it does to lash out. Show the world how cool you are. (Think Denzel Washington. Nobody does it better.)
Admit when you’re wrong. Always.
If you’re going to call people out on their issues, be ready to be honest about yours as well. Accountability is a two-way-street.
Give people the benefit of the doubt. We all make mistakes.
On the other hand, if the “mistakes” become a pattern of behavior that is unhealthy for you, it’s time to find new friends. You can still love these people from afar.
Being vulnerable is strong and courageous. Don’t be a chicken.
You can’t be everyone’s best friend. Be friendly to all, friends with a few.
Put in the time. Choose the friendships that matter most, and dedicate time to them.
Make sure you aren’t putting in so much time with friends that it is feeling more like a job than a charge to your batteries.
Are you living a lie? Do your friends look at your life and think it’s perfect and wonderful but when you shut your front door it’s a whole different thing? Get the help you need to stop. Let your friends do their job. If they won’t help you, find new friends. Find a church. A therapist. A shelter. A hotline. Call the police. Go to rehab. Tell your family the truth. Email me.* So many people want to help you. But do not give up. I know it’s scary. But you can do it. I promise.
Copyright © Redefining Love 2018.
*The author of Redefining Love is not a licensed mental healthcare professional. The information included on this site is for general informational purposes only. For mental health questions or concerns, please reach out to a licensed mental healthcare professional.