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Aging

Finding New Friends After 40

A client, age 45, finds herself without close friendships in the wake of a difficult divorce. “Most of my friends are part of couples that my husband and I hung out with. It’s just plain awkward to try to be part of that group anymore.”

My 70-year-old client is lonely. “Most of the friends I thought I’d grow old with have died,” she explained. “I miss them terribly, of course. But I also miss just having people to do things with.”
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Ethics & Morality

What We Can Learn from Thanksgiving

There is a chill in the air (in New England anyway), we’ve “turned back” our clocks, and the fall foliage has peaked. This can only mean one thing -- Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is fast-approaching. I love the simplicity surrounding the meaning of the holiday -- it began as a gathering to give thanks for the bounty of the harvest. Today, for many, it has become a day to be thankful for all our blessings.

I don’t believe the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians who celebrated the first Thanksgiving almost 400 years ago were aware of the health benefits of expressing gratitude (who knows, though, maybe they were?) but in recent years, studies have shown that taking time in our lives to express gratitude can indeed have major health benefits.
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Family

Why Be a Thanksgiving “Orphan”?

“What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” It’s usually an innocent question this time of year, meant to just make conversation. It is bandied about at work, among the parents picking up their kids at school or when talking to friends. “What are you doing?” For those who have places to go, it’s a simple enough question to answer. Whether or not they are looking forward to the yearly stuff-yourself-day with relatives, they know what they are doing and probably just how it’s going to be. (Yearly family events do tend to repeat themselves.)
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Anxiety and Panic

How Social Media Feeds Social Anxiety

Fingers flying, incessant texting, phones held to ear as secondary appendages gives the illusion we are well connected. We are chattering and snapping and “selfieing” (I think I just made that word up -- you can do that these days) all the live long day. Meanwhile scientists quietly dispense reports underlining an incredible finding: We are socially anxious people. Extremely socially anxious. So what gives?
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Friends

Why Seeking Reassurance Is a Good Thing

When we talk to a friend about a personal concern, what are we really seeking? Advice? Direction? Or maybe something else?

If we feel muddled about a difficult relationship or a job search, we might use a friend as a sounding board to sort things out. We may get clearer about what we want to say to our partner as we talk it out. We might blow off steam by venting about today’s political situation and find it helpful that others feel similarly.

We may not realize it, but often there’s a deeper reason we like to talk things out: we want reassurance.

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Anger

How to Deal with a Passive Aggressive Person

We've all had to deal with them in our lives -- people who are passive aggressive. Passive aggressive refers to a person who has hostility toward you, but does not openly or directly express that hostility. Instead, they find ways to express it indirectly through their behavior. You may find the person playing "mind games" with you, or offering an alternative reality that doesn't jibe with what you know to be true.

Dealing with a passive aggressive person can be an exercise in frustration. Because they refuse to actually express their aggression directly, you may find yourself in a no-win situation. The tips below may help you find neutral ground.

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Agitation

The Art of Disagreement

“So you’re telling me you think that all of our country’s problems can be traced back to what Obama did wrong?” Fred asked, arms tightly folded across his chest.

“I didn’t say that,” Bert responded tapping his chest. “If Obama wasn’t in office though, we wouldn’t be facing half the problems we’re facing today, like all the jobs going overseas.”

“Like that’s Obama’s fault?” Fred responded, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Like yes! What are you a commie? Don’t you see what all these liberals have done?”

“Right now, I only see one thing. And that’s what a moron you are!”
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Friends

3 More Things That Keep Us Lonely


In a recent article, I discussed three things that may keep us lonely: Being critical of others, our tendency to shame people, and believing that we should be perfect. Here are some additional reasons we may find ourselves feeling isolated.

Fear of Taking Risks

If we hold the unrealistic belief that we should be perfect, we may be unwilling to do anything that might expose our imperfections. We may be so paralyzed by the fear of failing that we won’t take steps that might alleviate our loneliness. We might think, “Yeah, I should go out more or write a personal ad for a dating site… and some day I’ll get around to it.” But that day never comes.

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Books

Breaking Up (with a Friend) Is Hard to Do

Breakups are hard. They can be emotionally taxing, stressful and isolating. While we generally attribute the word “break up” to the dissolution of an intimate relationships -- a partner, marriage, or significant other -- breaking up with a friend can be just as hard and lonely.

Reasons for a break up with a partner or significant other may be more clear cut -- infidelity, conflicts in values and beliefs, or mistreatment -- but we sometimes have trouble determining whether it makes sense to break up with a friend.

Friendships can naturally fizz out -- circumstances such as a move and life transitions including marriage or children, can cause friendships to phase out. But how do you know when it’s necessary to break up with a friend? Below are some red flags to help identify whether a particular friend is contributing to your well-being as well as meeting your emotional needs.
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Friends

New Trend: Young Men Prefer a ‘Bromance’ to a Romance

A new study has found that young heterosexual mens’ 'bromances' -- their close friendships with other men -- are more emotionally satisfying than their romantic relationships with women.

It appears that young men are confiding in their mates instead of opening up to their female partners, more so than older generations of men.

The study was published in Men and Masculinities1 and showed that of the undergraduate straight men they interviewed for the study, 100% reported having at least one “bromantic” friend with whom they engaged in behaviors such as sharing secrets, sleeping in the same bed, or expressing love. 96% of respondents said they had cuddled with their bromantic partner.
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