Do you need a friend makeover?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Friends
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

True friends can improve your life.

Having good long-term friends in your life can be even more beneficial than being in a good relationship. With today’s high rates of breakups and divorces, you’re more likely to have one of your school friends in your life than your ex when you grow older. Studies have shown that friends are even more critical to your happiness than your romantic partner.

Humans are inherently social animals, and we don’t do well when we don’t feel we belong in the herd. The strong sense of connection positive friends provide can improve both your physical and your mental health.

People with close mutual friendships are healthier and live longer.

Being connected with friends and spending time with them reduces stress. It makes you less likely to be lonely or to feel isolated. Being lonely and isolated is just as damaging to your physical health as smoking, drinking, or being seriously overweight. People with networks of positive friendships tend to live longer. Spending time with friends can brighten your day and improve your mood.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Have you ever noticed that some people start to look like their dogs? People also begin to act like their friends. Hang out with the winners, and you’re likely to be a winner. Hang out with losers – will you know what will happen. Positive friends help motivate you to do things. Negative friends suck all the energy out of you.

One of the things people in recovery from drugs and alcohol learn quickly is that they begin to act like the people they hang out with. If you want to stop smoking, don’t spend a lot of time around smokers. You won’t get sober spending a lot of time in a bar. If all your friends go to college, you’re more likely to go there, and even if you don’t, you’re likely to learn a lot from those friends.

Friends can provide emotional support.

Whatever the goals you are trying to accomplish, friends can support you. People with positive friends are more productive and more likely to take the actions needed to take you where you’re going. Whether it’s writing your book or losing that weight, telling your friends what you’re working on can engage them in supporting you. Having someone cheering you on can motivate you to keep going when things get tough.

There’s a difference between friends and acquaintances.

I wish social media had never started calling those links to your profile “friends.” While you may connect with one or two real friends on any social media platform, the bulk of the people you’re calling friends are electronic imposters. Those are pixels, not people. Real friendships are reciprocal. They would do something for you, and you would do something for them. And I don’t mean just push the like button on their latest post.

Beware of friends who are only around when they need something from you. When you’re going through the tough times in life, look around and see who still considers themselves your friend.

Developing genuine friendships can be challenging.

Making friends can be a struggle. As our lives progress, it’s harder to put yourself out there and meet new people. If you are an introvert, or high in anxiety, making new friends may seem impossible. Despite all the challenges in making new friends, the benefits of friendship are well worth the effort. Remember, there are others out there who would like to make a new friend just as much as you do.

Another way to increase the quality of your friendships is to reconnect with old friends you’ve lost touch with. Life gets busy, and sometimes we forget to stay in contact. Some of those friends you haven’t talked to for a while would love to hear from you again.

You make friends through shared activities.

Most friendships develop around something you do together. Lifelong friends are often someone you met in elementary school or high school. Old school friends are likely to be in your life come what may. If you engage in an activity, have a hobby or other interest, your involvement in that activity is a great way to create new friends.

If you want to make new friends, do more positive activities.

Whatever your interests, stop being passive and become involved. People who garden and join the gardening club frequently make lifelong friends. People who are active in sports develop friends who play the same sports.

Be careful about having your entire social circle revolve around your work. If the only thing you have in common is where you work, that friendship may not outlast your employment. People whose only friends are work friends may find themselves alone once they retire or leave the company. The people you enjoy spending time with are the ones who will contribute the most to having a happy life.

How satisfied are you with the quality of your friendships?

If friendships are an important part of your life, please leave a comment below. If you’d like to learn more about improving the quality of your friendships, please look at the other posts in the category – friends.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track, and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead. The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

How to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Avoiding confusion and misunderstandings

Avoiding confusion and misunderstandings
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do misunderstandings and confusion harm your relationships?

Misunderstandings can damage relationships at home and at work. If your life and relationships are plagued with misunderstandings, people misunderstand you or they say you misunderstand them, there are ways you can improve communications. These examples apply mostly to the office or work setting but the same principles apply at home and in your personal relationships.

Asking lots of questions reduces misunderstandings.

Rather than jumping to a conclusion based on a few statements, ask questions. Often as you get more information you will discover that the other person left out important details. They may not have been trying to lie or mislead you, they just did not know that you did not have part of the information.

When someone uses the word “hot” do they mean a warm temperature or do they mean very desirable? If they talk about plans to go somewhere do they intend to go there today or next month or after they retire?

Many misunderstandings are the result of bits of information that were left out.

Check out your understandings to avoid confusion.

When someone says we are all going, who is all? Does that include Mary? And Bob? What if Mary and Bob just broke up, does the speaker still want them both invited? Does the person you are talking with know about that break-up?

The other person may assume you know what they know or that you are thinking about the same place they are. Ever show up for a meeting and find that the person who called the meeting had a different location in mind but failed to convey that information?

Precise language makes things clearer.

Fuzzy language leads to misunderstandings. Strive to fill in the details. Things like “and stuff” and “you know what I mean” leave a lot of room for serious misunderstandings.

How big is big? If we need a lot of paper is that one ream, or 100 reams? If your partner says to not let the kids do something is that today or ever? Should you tell them no or are you expected to hold them down and stop them?

Put it down in writing to get it right.

A saying in many offices is that “if it is not down in writing than it didn’t happen.” Documenting things avoids misunderstandings. This is especially important if there is money involved or someone is doing something now and the other person will do something else later. When is later?

Successful meetings usually have minutes. Deciding who will do what works better if it is written down and everyone gets a copy of the minutes. More than once we have done that only to find that not everyone was in agreement. I thought one person was in charge and someone else thought they were in charge of that activity.

Just because I said we needed to do something did not mean that I planned to be the one to do it.

Written lists are important in your home life as well as your work one. Give kids more than one thing to do and they tend to forget the second and third things. Written chore lists help avoid forgetting.

When I am going to the store I make a written list. Otherwise, I get one ingredient but forget something else and need to make a second trip. This becomes more problematic when someone else needs to do the shopping for me.

Check back during the process to keep the communication working.

If things will take time to get accomplished it is wise to check back as the project progresses. Things change. The person who said they would do something may have gotten sick or discovered they had too many other things to do.

Checking in as things progress lets plans be adjusted. Better to change plans than to spend a lot of time at the end on whose fault it is that something did not get done or was done wrong.

Double and triple check your facts for reduced misunderstandings.

Sometimes that thing you were sure you knew turns out to not be true. Recheck dates, times, names, and costs. Get those facts right.

Sunday your family member says that there is an important meeting “next Monday” Does that mean tomorrow or a week from tomorrow. I know purists have ways of telling you the correct way to say things, but does it matter who was right when you show up for an event on the wrong day? Recheck the facts and avoid the misunderstandings.

Make your yes’s yes and no’s no.

Sometimes people say yes to acknowledge that they heard the speaker. They may be agreeing that so and so said that, but not agreeing to the truth of the statement or that they will do as requested. No may mean that the statement was not accurate rather than that they were opposed to the goal.

Do not say yes or no unless that is what you mean. When others say yes or no check what they are agreeing with or disagree with.

Don’t take things personally.

People may say things about others’ behavior. They have in mind a particular behavior and a particular person. They may not have you in mind at all.

Do not assume that people are knowledgeable about your needs or tastes.

Keep things simple.

The longer the statement the more time there is for there to be confusion and misunderstanding. Long explanations rather than making things clearer often make them harder to understand. For clearest communication use short simple sentences. Check that people are following what you say as you go.

Many misunderstandings are the result of a long conversation with few pauses which leave the listener with a different message than was intended. The less the person you are talking to knows about your topic the simpler the explanation needs to be. This is especially important in communicating with younger children and those with some emotional or mental disabilities or cognitive impairments.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track, and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead. The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.