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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5087
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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My two best friends have been in a relationship for 12 years.

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My two best friends have been in a relationship for 12 years. I care for them both very much. However, I feel as though they are only my "real" friends when they want to be and only spend time with me when it is convenient for them. Example....They always bring me along with them during the holidays such as christmas and thanksgiving, when it comes to anything social such as new years, mardi gras, etc. they do not offer to bring me along. They also are very critical of me amongst themselves, but not to my face. I have confronted them about this before but they just talk in circles until the topic is dropped. I also constantly stray from spending time with any other people in my life or pursuing new friendships or relationships in fear of what they will think. I am always depressed and do not know what to do or how to handle the situation. I sometimes feel that it would be better if I were to just move on and cut ties. However this is not something that i am able to do. They are my best friends and i care about them more than anyone.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and confusing this situation must be for you. Being outgoing, social, quick, the life of the party, etc. are clearly not your strengths. Your friends seem to be kind and good friends but they seem as though they want you to expand your circle of friends and practice more being comfortable socially. That's how I understand the not inviting you to certain things. This is clearly tough for you. But they are right. You do need this practice.

To just up and turn your back on your friends is not the mature way. It is not the way of acting that will help you in becoming even more an adult. As adults we accept the lessons our friends are helping with us and we try to work on ourselves and get to where we need to be.

So, we need to work on your confidence. Confidence is something that comes with experience, like the experience of being whole and at peace with oneself and relaxed. But there's an impossible situation here: how can you have something that comes with experience before you've had experience? Well, you can't. You have to have what is "pre-confidence". What is pre-confidence? The motivation to overcome your nervous jitters and lack of confidence, lack of experience. Motivation is what gets you to get started before you have experience and so before you have confidence. Therefore, I want you to start reading motivational books. You need to see if you can let yourself be inspired by them. These are the best out there! If you can, great. It is not a magic cure, though. It is a way for you to change your mindset from "I am really sad and unworthy and lonely" to "I want to move forward and become the confident person I can be"...

So here are some books to look at as you continue in becoming an adult. They are not revolutionary, they are classics that each have something worthwhile for you to consider and to add to your questions and answers in life.

I think very highly of the first book on my list, which is a real classic: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is assertiveness thinking, but it is adult thinking all the way and is the book that has helped more people than probably any other.

The second book is by Anthony Robbins. He's one of those speakers who fills up huge auditoriums. For a reason. He's a terrific speaker and writer. The particular book (if you like it, try his others): Awaken the Giant Within.

The last book is the father of all these type of books. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There are classes in these books now! It was written in the 1930s and still has something to say to you who lives on texting!

You can find all of these books easily on the internet with little investment. These books may or may not answer any specific question for you, but they will help direct you toward a way of looking at yourself in the world as an adult and as a man.

Okay. So you see I am trying to show you a way that doesn't just turn your back on your best friends but accepts maturely that you have some confidence building to do. I wish you the very best in this!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I may need to include more information to get the answers i am looking for. I am actually very outgoing, social, and actually the life of the party. It is not that i do not have friends or have trouble making friends. I am frequently asked by others to hang out and be social. However, I constantly turn them down in hopes that I will get to spend time with my two best friends. Even if I know that i will not get to spend time with my best friends I usually turn them down anyway to be honest. I hate lying and if i were to hang out with other people I would feel the need to tell my two best friends, they in turn...... one of them specifically is very critical and constantly accuses me of being a whore or something of that nature. When in fact i am the complete opposite. They make it very difficult to have friends outside of them. Another issue i run into frequently is that the places they hang out are the places i would hang out if i were to attempt meeting someone, etc.. So if they do go out and naturally not invite me, and then if i were to go out as well it would be a very awkward situation being out while they are out but not being with them....... this being another reason i typically turn down the option to hang out with others. To avoid the situation in general.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
Okay. You are right, this is a very different situation than your first posting alluded to. You have an active social life. But you are very jealous of their exclusivity. What do I mean?

They seem to have a bond between them. That bond is not the same as the bond with you. Their bond is much more intimate. You are feeling left out. And it is true: you ARE left out. This is the reality. It's THEIR bond and they want it that way.

Should it be different? Well,maybe from your point of view. But from theirs, they want it to be the two of them. And you're on a different level, a lower level of intimacy. So you have to accept this. You really are not going to change it. Why not?

Because they have signaled you that they don't want to include you in this way. The trick then, is to learn how to be satisfied with 50-75% when you really want 100%. How to do that?

By not putting all your eggs in their basket. You are acting as if this type of intimate friendship is either going to be with them or you don't want it at all. So you're isolating yourself because they've responded no. But that's not a winning strategy for life. If they say no, then you accept their friendship as it is and seek that other level of friendship elsewhere. You make sure you're emotionally open to it when you go out so that you can make friends with others and develop that friendship or those friendships to the 100% level you want.

You can't force it from them. So please don't try. Rather, find the ones that are right for you.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes that all sounds about right. One more issue. What if they "want their cake and to eat it too"? Meaning although they dont want to spend time with me in social settings they get mad at me if I do go and do my own thing like hanging out with a friend or going on a date.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
You are now referring to one of the great difficulties in relationships: people want to freeze their friends in the place where they like them to be. What do I mean?

They are very comfortable with you being in the position you are in: the one who wants to be with them. When you make signs or moves of becoming more independent and not the way they are comfortable with who you are, it can be uncomfortable and they can try to get you back into what they consider your "proper" place. This is not a conscious unkindness. It's just what they are used to and they sense a change and when we have what we want, we usually don't want change. They have what they want: each other and you on the edge of it. So it's tough.

But you have to do what's right for you anyways and see how they adapt to the change. That is how friendships grow or wane, adapt, etc. The one who NEEDS the change must make the change anyways. See how this works? They have no need for a change so they pull you back to where you always were.

I wish you the very best! You're learning a lot about human interaction.


Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5087
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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