Find a Place in the Crowd


I feel like I’m constantly sabotaging myself in terms of getting close to people. I’ve lived in a lot of different places for my career, and I’m always about to move. I’ve used this as an excuse. But now I’m almost 30 years old, and I really don’t have a community of friends. How do I begin to break down these walls I’ve put up? -Alone

I can’t say I wrote a book on this without sounding obnoxious — but I wrote a book on this. Acknowledging to yourself that this is a negative pattern is a great first step, and from there you’ll have to slowly push yourself out of your comfort zone. It starts with some small goals.

Think about potential prospects for friendship and what the next step would be to connect with them further — in person. Think about what you might reveal in a conversation that you might not normally say to break you out of your shell a little bit. Think about taking the initiative to get a few people together, even if just for takeout. And then monitor yourself — for excuses and for self-sabotage. The more you can be mindful in the moment of opening yourself up, the more those moments will add up to some beautiful relationships.

Tag the Reason This Bothers You

I recently went on my boyfriend’s Facebook page to view some photos he had posted of us only to find photos of him being highly affectionate with his ex. When confronted about the photos, my boyfriend just shrugged them off and refused to delete them from his Facebook page. How do I talk to him about this without acting like a drama queen? -Annoyed

Well, did he give a reason for not wanting to delete them, like there were other people in them that he wanted to remember? Or that he’s still yearning for his ex with the heat of a thousand white-hot suns?

This is tricky, because they could be “just pictures” to him. But in that case, it shouldn’t be so momentous for him to delete them. Be honest with yourself about why they bother you: Are there signs besides this that he might not be over her? Or is this about how he never seems to prioritize your wishes over his about anything? Or is this about being embarrassed of what your friends might think of the pictures? If this were purely an isolated incident, I’d imagine you’d have an easier time letting it go. I’m guessing there’s a bigger picture here and a bigger conversation.

Dr. Andrea Bonior writes Express' advice column, Baggage Check.
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Vicky Hallett | January 3, 2012