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August 18, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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Overcoming Loneliness

Question:

I study in a business school. Two years ago I had a breakup of a really long relationship (7 years). I am still not over it. I met a married woman here in the school and got into a very close and deep friendship with her. I think it was all because of the loneliness. I do not speak to her now as her husband does not like her interacting with me (and rightly so). But the vacuum within me has just blown out of proportion.

Around 7 years ago, I was the person always surrounded by many friends and who was very social. In my relationship with my ex and even today, I have forgotten the art of being friends with many. The married woman that I spoke about earlier was the only friend I had in the entire school. I ignored all others who extended their hands to be friends. Today, there is no one in the entire school who is my friend or who likes my company. I can see people just moving away from me. The reason I can recognize this is because the roommate with whom I share an apartment is a popular and favourite guy of many people. He has created a very bad impression of me to others. This looks completely irreversible.

How can I be liked by others and accepted? People just ignore me completely. They all go out partying and have fun together. I am all alone in the house. I hate this vacuum and feel this is just killing me. This has also hit my self-esteem very badly.

It seems that I am on a desperate look-out for a deep relationship and this is probably why people run away from me. Those who know me and who are my friends find me the most lovable, faithful and intelligent person. However, people in the school always look down on me and see me as a show-off and not a friend. This is all because of my roommate who has publicized wrong things about me. But to my face, he pretends to be all OK and fine. Please help me deal with such a situation.

Siddhanth, 30-year-old man

Answer:

Dear Siddhanth,

First, I don't know if you are correct in assuming that your roommate has been badmouthing you. If you know this for a fact because you have overheard him, or people have told you that he has said negative things about you, then you can confront him about it. "John, I need to have a serious talk with you. I have evidence that you've been saying bad things about me, and this is wrecking my life."

If he denies it, then present the evidence and listen to his defence with respect. Either the two of you will come to a new understanding, or you need to move into separate living quarters. If you believe he has been saying bad things but have no evidence, then you can do it a little differently. "John, I need to have a serious talk with you. For quite some time, people have been shunning me, and now I have no friends at all. I have the strong belief that this is because you have been saying bad things about me behind my back."

If he denies it, then ask his help in re-establishing friendships with people. Ask him to be your ambassador. If you are not satisfied that he will do this, then stop sharing a room with him.

Basically, you have given a second reason that you may have lost the friendship of many people. For years, you have pushed them away, shown that you were not interested in contact with them -- and they have taken note, and found friendship elsewhere. A rule is: TO HAVE A FRIEND, FIRST BE A FRIEND. If you want friends, you need to do things that will make people feel happy to have you around.

It is possible that you may regain your previous place in the social life of your school, simply by being persistent in acting friendly. However, others may hold your past attitudes and actions against you, and no longer be interested. In that case, you need to go into situations where no one knows you, and find friendships in new groups. There is no law that says that your place of study must be your entire life.

So, it's up to you. If you keep doing the same things, you will get the same result. If you want a different result, act differently.

Good luck,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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