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Ask Jen Helant Your Own Question

Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1363
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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Customer Question

I have come a long way in opening up to people and starting to trust people again since a great conversation with another Dr. Sept. of last year on Just answer (if you are willing to converse with me right now that might be very helpful also and greatly appreciated)?

I feel that I am at a plateau in moving forward in relationships and trusting/opening up to people. I can’t quite put my finger on it? Like I said I know I am moving forward but something is holding me back? I don’t know it is fear of rejection?

I know I have been through a lot the past couple years including a 33-week stillbirth, we actually relocated to TX when I was 33 weeks pregnants with our next unexpected child, Teagan:) (that followed our stillbirth, Jack) and I feel like I am kind of coming down from a storm because we have “accomplished” so much. I have smoked like 8 packs of cigarettes since November and I haven’t smoked since I first became pregnant with our first child who is now 4 years old. I have also drank a touch more wine than usual?
I am quite religious? I have been meeting a lot of people at church. And trying to get together with other mom’s? But sometimes things seem kind of “stiff” Some things in my life I think are going really well and I am really thankful for but for some reason I feel like I am having a hard time making close friends? People tend to take to me but I don’t know how to make that next step and I don’t want to overload people with stuff? Maybe I am just being impatient and am a little nervous?

I also feel like a “tool” sometimes because I constantly am the one starting conversations in friendships I want to move forward, and always feel like I am taking first steps to do stuff with people?

I think it is important to note that my husband and I have moved like 3 times in the past 5 years and I know we are now home and really laying some “roots” in TX. But I am still having a hard time developing long term friendships both by myself and with my husband (he has a hard time too, trusting people/things and can be cynical, among many other wonderful things).

One final thing is that I would like to invite a family out with my family or over to my house for a visit, like I totally thought of inviting a couple different families over for Superbowl Sunday (when I thought it was in the afternoon) but I am worried they will be saying they already have plans, why am I worried? Also, my husband is not Mr. talkative and that is uncomfortable for me right now (he knows this), I am a very social person, and he has a hard trusting people too (though doesn’t look at it like that). But he is very quiet and we haven’t gotten out much together lately and so I guess there are even some awkward moments right now when we go out to socialize? I come from an incredibly social family.

What is the best way for each of us to make some good friends individually and together? Can you see what this “plateau” is for me that is holding me back? Please help, I really have come a long ways but feel stuck. Somebody just said to me today let’s get together and I became suddenly anxious and kind of all over the place? She gave me her number. I will call her and try for coffee next week but it’s those weird anxiousness moments?? I even wonder if I try for next week if that seems too soon or too available (lately I have said meeting new good friends is like dating)? Or at times I’ve gotten nervous over that coffee date? Why am I so worried if somebody going to like me? Is that what it is?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.

I understand what you are feeling. You enjoy being social, but at your age it is very difficult to make new friends. This has nothing to do with you personally. This is because most people are hung up on their own lives that they do not have time to make new friends. On top of this you have been moving a lot, which makes things more difficult. Some people just enjoy spending time with their family and do not have time for friends whereas others have friends from long ago and do not need to make new ones. This makes it more difficult for adults to make friends

The fact you and your husband may have a hard time trusting people is quite normal. It is difficult to trust people and it is not something that should be done straight from the start. People need to earn trust and it needs to be built overtime, so I do not think this is wrong at all.

What is holding you back could be the fear of rejection or just simply because it has been so long and you are not comfortable with the whole meeting new people situation. It is possible I don't know based on what you explained, but you may have low self confidence or self esteem and have fear of people knowing the real you or fear that you will not be able to maintain the relationship after the initial meeting and contact. You need to be yourself, respectful, and polite. Remember we are not compatible with everyone. Some people may like you some may not. You may get along better with some than others. The point it don't worry about pleasing everyone. Please yourself and your family. No one can please everyone and no one is pefect.

The best way to meet people are at places where fit your lifestyle. If you go to church then be active in that and you will meet new people. Also, your area may have some mom clubs or activities. Playdates are a good way to meet other moms because while the kids play the mom's can talk.

Life has many weird moments, but try not to dwell on each one. Rather look at life as the big picture as it is. Enjoy day by day with what you have rather than thinking about what you want. Friends may come and go. They may be superficial or real, but your family is forever. Take care of yourself and your family and then the rest will fall into place.

I wish you well and please let me know if I can help further.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I'm sorry - while I appreciate that my happiness is your goal. I need more concise help than this. While I find this "general reassurance" a nice reminder, it is not really helpful (somewhat insulting).


I am looking for more concise information about why I feel the way I do and what I can do about it.

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.

I am so sorry that you were not happy with my service. May I ask why you feel insulted? I would never want my answer to make you feel as such. You want to know why you do what you do. I have given you some possibilities, but it is impossible to know exactly without knowing you better. I am basing my answer just on what you are writing. I am happy that you have come a long way and if you have come thus far then you can go even further. Have you ever tried counseling? Counseling would be a great way for you to get past this final part of your recovery in this part of your life. In time they can help you understand in depth why you feel this way and work on a plan with you.

If you do not want to go to counseling then self help would have to be the way to go. The fact that you are aware and have insight into this is excellent because this is crucial in being able to make change. This is really half the battle and based on everything you have been through shows that you are a strong individual. Since you are aware then when you see yourself reacting in a way you are unhappy with or not reacting then it would be up to you to be aware and take the steps to put your feelings aside and do what you feel you are yearning to do. As you do this once this will give you confidence to take the next step. This takes an active role on your part and may not be easy, but as you do this then in time it will become natural on your part. Sometimes we feel certain ways, but we need to put them aside and take action to turn situations the way we want and do what we want in life. Taking action actually helps our feelings to change when we see things may not have been so difficult as we had thought. Take each situation as it comes rather than trying to deal with the entire situation at once.

I hope this was helpful and maybe you would consider changing your rating. Again, I never meant to cause you to feel insulted and I am glad that you gave me this feedback, so I can understand better. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I was not ignoring you, but rather was offline after that certain time. Please let me know if I can be of further help. I truly wish you well.

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