I was a loner when I was in high school. I was in my own reality, and my own world regarding the way I viewed things.
I had problems recognizing people and knowing their names when I saw them outside of school.
I had a couple of friends, but it was hard for me to feel empathy or sympathy for them when they would discuss their problems with me. So, we drifted apart.
Last week, for the first time, I have come to the realization that I have made some big mistakes in my life in the area of having friends.
I saw two people that I thought I knew. I waved and yelled out their names to them. They turned to me, and I realized that they were not the people that I thought they were. I didn’t even know them. I was very embarrassed.
I am now very lonely, and I don’t have any close friends. I realize that I have brought this on myself. I really want to change.
I am now a freshman in college. I know that this is a chance to start fresh and make some friends.
I really need some advice or tips on improving my social skills. I don’t even know where to start.
Actually, you have already started. You have come to the realization that you are lonely, and have no close friends because of your own behavior.
This is an excellent start. It would have been impossible for you to change your attitudes and relationship styles until you discovered this.
So, now your next step is to do something with this new understanding. You have spent much of your life focusing inward. You have focused on yourself, and not on other people.
The sooner that you get started, the sooner it will happen.
In the past, you were not very interested in what was going on with your acquaintances. But, people like to be around people that are interested in them. That is why you drifted apart.
So, when people talk about themselves, really listen. Ask questions. Get to know them better.
People also like to be around people that are happy, friendly and upbeat. So, focus on being that person.
As far as remembering people’s names, a good trick is a word association. When someone introduces himself or herself, say “hi” and repeat their name back. Then think of someone else you may know, or a character in a book or movie with that same name. It makes it much easier to remember.
It may not be easy to change the way that you have related to others, but you can do it. You will need to understand that it may take some time to make some true friends. It may not happen as quickly as you would like.
However, don’t give up. You will be a much happier person when you have some close friends. It will be worth your efforts. I promise.
My boyfriend comes over to my apartment after work on most days. It used to be so much fun. I would cook dinner, and we’d talk about the events of our day.
Now, when he comes over he is super grumpy. He seems as if he doesn’t even enjoy talking to me. I asked him about it, and he said it is because he has had a stressful day at work.
We both work full time. I know that he is tired when he comes over. But, I am too, and I certainly don’t act the way that he does.
I am a happy person, and his grouchy attitude is bringing me down. What should I do? Do you have any suggestions?
You cannot control another person’s behavior. All that you can do is control how you react to it.
So, that means that you have some choices. The first one is to accept the fact that he is tired and grumpy when he comes over after work. You know that. You accept it.
You ask him if he would rather that you stay quiet when he first comes over and give him a chance to unwind.
Or, you find out if he does enjoy hearing about your day, but he just doesn’t want to talk much about his own day.
Then, you do the best that you can to enjoy yourself and his company given those conditions.
Your second choice is to request that you see each other less often. Instead of every day after work, make it one or two evenings. He may be more appreciative and interested in your time together if he has other evenings to relax or unwind on his own.
The final choice is to determine if this is really the guy for you. Since you are an upbeat and happy person, you need to think about whether this is the type of relationship you really want.
It is doubtful that he is going to change. So you need to make the call as to what is best for you.
Dear Readers, please send your questions to: Dear Marilyn, c/o Garden Grove Journal, 12866 Main St. #203, Garden Grove, Ca. 92840. Or, send me an email at Mtortolano@ggjournal.com.