Dear Dr. G,
I’ve been waiting for the beautiful spring weather to come, and now that it’s here, I feel sad, as if it’s still winter. I’ve recently been having some guy troubles as well as problems with friends who seem to meddle in my business. They judge me for every action I make with regard to career and relationships. With this seasonal transition, I need to make some serious life changes in both the friend and relationship zones. I’m afraid to make those moves, as I feel out of my comfort area. Where do I begin?
-Confused and Anxious
Dear Confused and Anxious,
You are in good and plentiful company. Many of us feel that we need to “clean house” literally and figuratively as the seasons change. Many times house cleaning involves stepping out of our comfort zones and into zones that eventually will improve our overall life satisfaction. These are not easy tasks but are nonetheless often necessary.
You say that you have friends who meddle in your business. I assume that this means that they are judging your relationships and career decisions in both an unwelcome and not so helpful manner. My question to you is whether or not you are setting boundaries for your friends. If not, my suggestion is that you ask them for less input so that they have less to comment on. You see, if you talk to them about sensitive boyfriend and work issues, they may misinterpret this as an invitation for their feedback.
If you have tried to set boundaries with friends and they have handily dismissed them then perhaps you need to consider removing them from your inner circle of confidantes. I have found in both my own life and in the life of many of the people that I work with there are only a few select people who really “get” you and know what would be reassuring to say when you are talking about important life concerns.
You asked for a way to start and how to push yourself out of your comfort zone. My suggestion is that you do this with baby steps rather than sweeping changes. Tell friends a little less, be a little less responsive to feedback, and perhaps cut down on the amount of communication that you have with meddlesome friends. Stepping out of a comfort zone is never easy but is easier if you do it gradually and gracefully. I have a strong sense that you are a sensitive person who does better with a gentle approach.
Please write back to me and let me know how it goes.
Photo credit: Flickr user Benson Kua