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Faking it: Is that what it takes to make new friends?

January 25, 2013 | By | Reply Continue Reading
A reader who has no patience for small talk asks if she has to “fake it” to make friends.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I find it difficult to fake it and that seems to be my issue in not making friends. I don’t like to gossip and don’t care about the girly conversations.  I’m not into TV shows and everyone is crazy about fads, favorite movie stars, or songs that I couldn’t really care less about. They are just people: Get over it!

I don’t collect stuff or go out. I’m home with the kids and I’m a single mom. I work, go to church, and then come home to the kids. I feel drained and my only friends are really my kids (not too cool). I get along with their friends’ parents but it’s just for kids’ sake.

I don’t date because there are no guys that meet my approval and I still need to work on my own appearance and I’m not real trusting. I was not like this before. I used to be real social but that changed about five years ago. I went through some traumatic stuff and then didn’t feel like I could trust people.

How am I going to get my self back (the new improved me). I do not want to see a shrink and no meds. So what do I do? I need to pray but lose hope.

Signed, Patty

ANSWER

Hi Patty,

Your note suggests that you are interested in meeting both men and women but feel that some things are holding you back. These include your problems with trust, your appearance, and your willingness to engage in small talk. I’ll address each of these in reverse order.

People often talk about celebrities and other aspects of pop culture because it’s a way of making small talk. When people don’t know each other well, they often rely on discussions like this as a way to connect on a more superficial level. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are being fake; rather, it means they don’t feel close enough to have more intimate conversations.

You seem to have a great deal on your plate right now: your family, your work, and your involvement in your church. In fact, you seem to have little leisure time. Why don’t you give yourself license to spend several hours a week doing things that are focused on you!

If you want to make some new friends, at your office or church, it could be worthwhile to keep up-to-date on the news and current events so you can be better at making light conversation. Even browsing through an issue of People Magazine, can give you fodder for conversation.

In terms of your appearance, if you feel that is holding you back from meeting men, now is the time to start working on that. If your concerns relate to weight, for example, can you join Weight Watchers or enroll at a gym with other women? That might be a place to make some new friends and your conversation can focus on the activities you are sharing together while you improve your appearance.

Finally, let’s discuss trust. If you have been traumatized, it is understandable that it would be hard for you to trust. Building trust with other people takes time. Although you may not be open to speaking to a mental health professional about your trauma, is this something you could speak about to the pastor at your church? This might be very helpful to you in working through this problem.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for ways to change your situation.

Warm regards,

Irene

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Category: Building trust, MAKING FRIENDS

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