9 Ways to make new friends.

By David Joel Miller.

Getting good at making new friends.

group of friends.

Friendship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many people find that it’s very hard for them to make friends.  Very few people tell me that they have too many friends.  Making friends is a skill and like any other skill you can learn or improve your ability to do this.  If you have ever thought that you would like to have more friends take a look at the list below of ways to improve your friend making skills.

1.  Friends are made around shared activities.

Want friends, you need to get out there. Most friends in life are the result of things that you do with others.  People make friends and schools from kindergarten all the way through graduate school.  Sometimes we make friends at work.  The who join a club or have a hobby often make friends as a result.  If you decide that you would like to have more friends than the first step is to get out there and be in places where you will meet people who might become friends.

2.  Introduce yourself if you want to make friends.

If you want to make friends don’t hold back waiting for others to approach you.  The fastest way to break the ice and create friendship opportunity’s is to be the one that puts your hand out and introduces yourself.  Remember there may be other people there who would like to find new friends also.  They’re waiting for you to be the one to make the first move.

3.  Asking people about themselves starts friendly conversations.

Most people’s favorite topic is themselves.  One really quick way to get a conversation started is to ask someone about themselves.  Try to avoid overly personal questions.  Ask simple and easy questions that might get the conversation rolling.  Good conversations develop and strengthen friendships.

4.  Give others sincere compliments.

Make it a point to give sincere compliments when you see someone or something that you like.  Avoid overly sugary and insincere sounding compliments.  Letting someone know that you like are appreciate what they have done is a great way to open up a conversation.  Don’t be stingy with sincere compliments.  Develop a reputation as someone who appreciates what others do for them.

5.  Hear them out to create friendships.

Make it a point to listen to what the other person is saying.  Make sure they’ve finished their statement before you interrupt and begin to comment.  People who are good communicators develop friendships.  The key to the art of communication is to understand what the other person is saying, not to force them to understand what you mean.

6.  Get clarification.  Don’t assume you know what they are talking about.

In any kind of conversation, it’s very important to be sure you accurately understanding what the other person is saying.  Ask for clarification.  Sometimes it helps to summarize what they are saying.  Pay special attention to the feelings behind the facts.  Knowing why someone feels what they feel will help you to understand them as a person.

7.  Ask potential friends about their opinion.

In the beginning of a relationship it is more important to ask other people about their opinion that it is to express yours.  Find out what this other person thinks about things.  This will help you decide if this is someone you want in your life or someone who you should avoid.

8.  Stay in contact to strengthen friendships.

When you meet someone you think is a potential friend don’t let it end with that first meeting.  Make an extra effort to get their phone number or other contact information.  Find a reason to make a second contact.  Look for other opportunities to do something together again.  It takes repeated contact to turn an acquaintance into a friend.

9.  Give as much as you take to maintain a friendship.

In the beginning of new friendships, it is important that they be reciprocal.  Make sure to avoid relationships with people who may be out to use you.  Be careful about pursuing friendships when you’re only desire is to get something from that other person.  The best friendships are ones were you would feel comfortable doing for them and expect that they would do the same for you.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Advertisements

14 Ways to Become Your Own Best Friend.

By David Joel Miller.

Start healing by becoming your own best friend.

Friends

Best Friends.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Don’t like yourself, start by becoming your own best friend.  If you are plagued by low self-esteem, one of the things you need to do is become your own best friend.  Many people say that they are not able to love themselves.  You will spend more time with yourself than with any other person on earth.  Work on getting to like yourself.  Think about the things that you do with friends and how those relationships develop overtime.  Start feeling better about yourself by becoming your own best friend.  Here are 14 ways to become your own best friend and improve your self-esteem.

1. Don’t beat yourself up.

It’s OK to make mistakes.  Mistakes are improvement opportunities.  Think about how you act with a friend.  If you consistently criticize them and put them down you’re not likely to maintain that friendship.  Make sure you’re not beating yourself up.  It’s OK to make mistakes.  The only people who don’t make mistakes are people who never try to do anything.

2. Don’t insist on perfection.

We don’t expect our friends to be perfect.  You shouldn’t expect to be perfect yourself.  Some tasks may require your very best effort, but many other things in life simply need to be good enough.  Be gentle with yourself and embrace you, flaws and all.

3. Celebrate your successes.

Make sure to stop and recognize the things that you have done well.  Give yourself a round of applause when you succeed at something.  Not recognizing your successes will make the next effort that much harder.

4. Nurture yourself.

You can’t make a plant grow by beating it.  You don’t develop friendships by being harsh and critical.  Develop the relationship with yourself by taking good care of you.  Look for ways in which you can be kind and gentle to yourself.

5. Enjoy being with you.

Being alone should not mean being lonely.  When life gets hectic we often wish we could take a break.  When you do get that break from other people learn to savor and enjoy it.  That alone time should be a time to rest and recoup.

6. Make “you time” an adventure.

In the early stages of developing a friendship we do a lot of new, novel things with that potential friend.  To nurture the friendship that you have with yourself make sure that you do innovative things.  Make your time with you exciting.

7. Want the best for yourself.

Learn to picture what a perfect life would look like.  Want that best of all possible lives for yourself?  Practice believing that you deserve the best in life.  Best does not necessarily mean the most expensive or the latest fashion.  It does mean that you want those things that will make you truly happy.  Don’t settle for a second-rate life.  Focus your efforts on creating the life of your dreams.

8. Stop judging yourself.

You don’t need to judge yourself.  There are plenty of people willing to judge you.  When you have a good friend you accept them just the way they are even when you know their faults.  Do the same for yourself.  However you are is perfectly OK.  Accept yourself just the way you are.

9. Let things go.

Holding onto the past keeps you stuck in the pain.  Keep your eyes on the present and the future.  Avoid rehashing old injuries.  Let bygones be bygones.  The less baggage that you have to carry from your past the more you can live in the present.

10. Surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Make the place that you spend the bulk of your time your place.  Have a few little mementos that will make you smile close by.  The isn’t time or space in your life the things that don’t add to your happiness.

11. Please yourself.

Make sure that you are living your life to please you.  A life that is lived trying to please others often pleases no one.  In friendships we often do things because we know it will make our friends happy.  Do those little things to make yourself happy.

12. Live in the now, plan for the future.

Good friends don’t spend a lot of time rehashing the difficulties from the past.  They enjoy the present and look forward to the things they will do together in the future.  As your own best friend spend the bulk of your time looking forward to what you want to do in the future.

13. Can the negativity.

It’s not much fun being around a friend who is constantly negative.  To be happier cut the negative people out of your life.  To be happier with yourself cut out the negativity that is coming from you.

14. Embrace your differences.

We know our friends are different and we liked than because of those differences.  Learn to celebrate the ways in which you are different from others.  Stop wishing you were just like everyone else.  Improve the things you can, accept the things you can’t.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Friendship.

Sunday Inspiration.          Post by David Joel Miller.

Friendship.

Friendship

Friendship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”

― Robert Louis Stevenson

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

― Abraham Lincoln

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Friendship

Sunday Inspiration    Post By David Joel Miller.

Friend.

Friendship

Friendship
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Sunday seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

5 Ways to Sabotage Open Communication.

By David Joel Miller.

5 steps to destroy communication.

communication

Communication
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are your actions destroying communication between you and the important people in your life? When things are going wrong between people the way we respond to these conflicts either opens up the communication or it can kill the relationship. You may be responding to communication conflicts by doing exactly the things that destroy what little communication has been going on.

Do you wish you had better communication with the important people in your life? Whether it is with a partner, your family, or the people at work, communication destroying behaviors will make your life more difficult. These communication destroyers come up repeatedly in couples counseling. Once you adopt these ways of handling conflicts they can carry over into the rest of your life and damage all your relationships.

Here are some ways that you may be damaging communication with the important people in your life.

When communication is bad you leave.

Repeatedly leaving when communication is difficult damages or even destroys the ability to communicate. For effective communication you need to keep working on things even when they are difficult or uncomfortable. Running away from conflict may seem the easy way out at the time but progressively the communication deteriorates.

Communication avoiders may leave physically, walk down the hall, head for the other room or even leave the place altogether. Some people avoid the hard conversations by checking out mentally. They stop listening altogether.

If one of you finds that you are becoming over heated or triggered, you may need to call a time out and take a break from this conversation. Be careful that repeated time outs do not become a way of avoiding conflicts. When taking a time out be sure to let the other person know that you will return later to finish this conversation. Try to plan a mutually agreed upon time-out signal beforehand.

You stonewall to keep the communication from getting through.

When people get angry, hurt or resentful it makes sense to them in the moment to cut off communication with the person they see as the cause of their pain. Eventually this builds walls and leaves you isolated. Cutting off communication does not make the relationship less painful, it leaves you living in pain all alone.

When the conflicts arise, emotionally healthy people, find ways to work through their conflicts and hurts without walling themselves off from others. Work on making this wall removal part of your relationship maintenance. If you lack the skills to take down walls or to solve problems without the walls, consider working with a professional counselor to develop more open and congruent communication.

When the communication gets uncomfortable do you attack?

The saying that a good offense is the best defense does not work in relationships. You can’t prevent pain and hurt by hurting your partner, friends or family. In the moment pulling out all the faults of the other person to rub their nose in them may seem like a way to win the disagreement.

This initial reaction, to try to protect yourself by inflicting pain, is unproductive in a close intimate relationship. In other settings, work and friendships, this behavior may cost you the friend or even the job.

You are feeling hurt so you hurt them back.

When in the heat of battle, do you go for the jugular? Trying to inflict the maximum of pain on your adversaries makes little sense if you ever hope to get close and intimate with that person again. Hurts are cumulative. Add enough of them and the relationship fails.

Being able to absorb some emotional pain and still stay focused on what you see as good in your relationship is a skill that will make your relationship whether a severe storm.

If you have left a trail of wrecked relationships, with friends, family, coworkers and lovers, take a look at the way you communicate. Have you inflicted a lot of needless pain in an effort to even the score for the pain others have caused you? Has that two-person pain made you happier?

You go along but save up the resentment for a rainy day.

Are you one who goes along with your partner in the moment and says nothing all the while accumulating your resentments for use at a later date? We call this human characteristic “gunny sacking” a process of holding on to resentments, tucking them away in a gunny sack and then let the least little thing go wrong and you will dump the whole list of past grievances on the other person.

Gunny sacking is a common practice in couples but it extends to all manner of other relationships. In friendships and work environments this accumulation of grievances can poison the place you spend your time and leave you the sicker for it.

Have you been practicing these communications killers? If so it may be time to decide to work on your relationships. Have that talk with your partner, family, friends or important others in your life. See if you can improve the communication between you two. It may be time to seek the services of a professional counselor, couples or marriage therapist.

Communication improvement can be best done when the two people with the conflict can sit in the room and work together on the issues. But if you can’t get them to counseling the counselor can still help you change the way you communicate and the result will be that the other person will need to change in response.

Are you ready to improve your communication?

You can find more posts about Relationships and Couples therapy at:

Relationships

Couples Therapy

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

10 Characteristics of Emotional Vampires.

By David Joel Miller.

Emotional vampires take your energy.

Emotional abuse

Emotional Vampires
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There are those people who drain the energy of everyone around them. They can suck the happiness right out of a room. In the beginning you may think they are your friend or they are in need of help, maybe they are family. Over time you discover that they are feeding off your emotions and leaving you exhausted. Sometimes you ask yourself is it you? Or is it them? Others tell you that you are being emotionally abused.

Here are ten ways to spot an emotional vampire before they drain you of all feelings.

1. Their problems are always worse than yours.

You listen to them tell about their trials and tribulations all the time but should you ever face a difficult situation do not expect anything from an emotional vampire. No matter what difficulty you are having they have a story to top that. Every conversation turns to their troubles current and past. They have no interest in hearing about your problems because only their issues matter to them.

2. They take and never give.

You help them out because they need it. But let one time arise that you need a little help they will have a hundred excuses why they can’t. You may start to feel resentful when they ask you for something and then you question yourself. You should help out your friend’s right? But one day it dawns on you that they are never there when you need them. Emotional vampires take with no thought of giving back.

3. Nothing you do is ever good enough.

They can find fault with any and every gift they have ever been given. You try to please them and they point out your shortcomings. The gift is never good enough and the deed is never enough. Whatever you did for them you should have done more, done it faster and someone else does it better than you.

4. They can find a problem in good news.

Happiness destroyers can never see the positive in anyone or anything. Tell them that something good just happened and they will quickly tell you why this boon is nothing. They get a job and tell you that they know that it won’t last, the place is just trying to take advantage of them. You graduate from school and they will say with that degree you will never find a job. When they get a compliment they throw it back saying no one really appreciates them.

5. They make you walk on eggshells.

abusive person

Emotional Vampire Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

When you go to say something, you think first about how they will react. There are things you can’t talk about, people you better not mention and topics that are off-limits. When talking to an emotional blood sucker you worry about every word you might use being the one to set them off. Your time with them is spent worrying about what you need to do and say to not upset them.

6. It is all about them.

Everything that happens, has happened or will ever happen is all about them. Every conversation turns to them and how it is always someone else’s fault they are miserable. Introduce a new topic of conversation it quickly turns back to their misery and their expectations that others will let them down. You need to constantly placate them and do for them and still it is not enough.

7. You are a tool to get them what they want – manipulation

Feel like you are constantly being manipulated? You probably are. Emotionally abusive people believe that if you spotted their game you would not play. Do you feel that this person never comes right out and asks for what they want but tries to use guilt and manipulation to get their needs meet? Are they feeding off your emotions to make themselves feel better?

8. They look for ways to hurt others.

Emotionally abusive people are bent on revenge. They have a list of enemies and expect you to be on their side in getting revenge on that other person. Emotional vampires will make you chose, them or the other. If you do not prefer them over everyone else you become an enemy also. For emotional vampires friends of their enemies are their enemies. Anything short of total loyalty to them is a reason for them to lash out at you.

9. Their life is full of drama and it sucks you in.

If you have family or friends who are always in the midst of drama you will find that this is not healthy for you. Each day in their life is another soap and they expect you to be their constant side kick in all this drama. Eventually you will come to feel that your life has followed theirs down the drama queen highway. Your own life is always in second place to their current crisis.

10. They always need to be right.

People who are emotionally needy find it impossible to ever be wrong. They will keep the argument going till you finally give in and agree that they are right. Even after you agree with them they will continue to insist on how they are right. Any contribution you make to the conversation will be dismissed and may be interpreted as yet another disagreement with their always correct position.

Have you had emotional vampires, emotionally needy and abusive people in your life? How have you protected yourself from them?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Becoming your own best friend.

By David Joel Miller.

Would you treat a friend that way?

Friends

Best Friends
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You teach others how to treat you. How you treat yourself is the model for the kind of treatment you get from others. Part of recovery, from whatever challenge you are recovering from, is to develop a good support system. That support system should begin with you. If you don’t treat yourself right no one else will.

Some people think they need to whip themselves in order to become a better person. Being cruel to yourself does not make you a more loving person. Learn to be a good friend to yourself and you will be practicing being a better friend to others. You need to be a good friend to have friends. Treat yourself better and you will find treating others becomes your normal way of being.

Here are some things you can do to treat yourself better.

Recognize what you do right.

People who only hear about the things they did wrong start to feel like they can’t do anything right. Makes sure you are taking the time to notice the things you did well. Give yourself a mental round of applause for your accomplishments. Do not minimize what you accomplish by saying it should be more. Friends accept friends as they are and see the good in them. Do this for yourself.

Talk nicely to you. No name calling.

Calling someone names and putting them down damages relationships and it hurts others. Do not call yourself names. It is a form of bullying, maybe even abuse. How can you expect others to treat you well when you abuse yourself?

Practice good self care.

If you value things you take care of them. If you care about others you want to take care of them. Do the same for yourself.

Accept that however you are is OK.

Learn to accept yourself as you are. Sure you can try to grow and improve, but how you are now is OK also. This is the great dilemma of life. You have to accept yourself as you are to be able to grow. You will become a better person because you care about yourself not because you try to whip yourself into shape. Love yourself warts and all.

Want better for you.

A real friend wants the best for their friends. Want the best for you. Plan for a better life. Do not let where you are determine where you are going. Be happy in the place you find you but always be striving to make you and your corner of the world better.

Make sure your needs are met.

You can’t get very many miles out of a car with an empty gas tank. Dead batteries do not make things go. Give yourself the best nutrition you can. Get plenty of sleep. Cars driven to far, too fast, break down. So do people, Do your daily maintenance. Keeping yourself together includes paying attention to your emotions as well as your body’s physical needs. Noticing you are depressed and using your tools to feel better will keep your emotions in better condition.

Challenge unhelpful thoughts.

Most people have a swarm of unhelpful thoughts every day. The should’s and can’ts, the must’s and have-too’s. If those thoughts you have are holding you back challenge them. Do you really have to or is this something you are doing for someone else?

Work to please you not others.

If you get pleasure out of doing something well that pleasure will motivate you to keep going. Try to please others and they may let you down. We rarely get as much recognition from others for a job well done as we want. If you make sure to give yourself that recognition, you will never be lacking in that essential ingredient – approval.

Show yourself love.

If you love someone you need to show it. Kids who never hear from their family that they are loved can grow up to think they are unlovable. If you do not think you are lovable no amount of love from others can fill up that empty hole. Learn to do little things for yourself that tell you that you love yourself. Then share that love with others who also love themselves.

Loving yourself does not make you selfish or self-centered. Feeling good about you is a strength that allows you to care about others.

Forgive yourself.

All humans make mistakes. There are no perfect people and the more you do in life the more mistakes you will make. Learn to forgive yourself which makes forgiving others so much easier. Fail to forgive yourself and you can become a judgmental person who is unable to find anyone who measures up to their standards.

Get honest with yourself.

Sometimes a real friend needs to tell their friend the truth. Learn to tell yourself the truth. You do not need to pretend to be better than you are. The way you are is just fine. You will become a different person over time. Life experiences change us.

The people who grow and improve are the ones who are able to face the truth about themselves and still like who they are. Knowing the truth can free you to make the changes you need to make to move forward. Lying to yourself is a prescription for staying stuck in your problem filled life.

If you want more or better friends begin by practicing being your own best friend and then expand that to befriending others. Let me know how this friend thing is working for you.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books