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Share your problems with a friend

copyright 1996
by Harlan Jacobsen

Many singles attend classes and group discussions, etc. and are encouraged to "share." What that means roughly is speaking out on what is the inner truth for you at the moment.

We encourage people to get to a feeling level in these small group conversations. Instead of superficial "talk about the weather" conversations, we try to actually get everyone talking on a feeling level, or how things are with you, or how they seem to you.

There are many areas where talking about a problem or merely getting it out solves the problem. You have undoubtedly had a friend somewhere along the line that had something they needed to talk over or express and get out of their system and expose it to the light of day. Often they will tell you what is bugging them, etc. and though you have made little or no comments or suggestions worth anything, they will say, "Hey, thanks a lot; you really helped things for me." You think you must have said something brilliant you didn’t realize you said, but what they are really saying is, it really helped for me to talk about these things to somebody, and just getting them out and talking about them where I see them in a new light solves them for me.

One of the favorite sayings in encouraging sharing is that joy shared is doubled; pain shared is halved. Professional counselors are trained to encourage you to talk out your problems and they know you automatically become aware of the right solutions for you when you talk these things out. They, wisely, rarely give advice, but let their client talk and realize, as a result of getting the problems out, the answers to their own problems.

Most amateur listeners think they should come up with some ingenious solution to whatever problem is presented. Instead of listening and encouraging the person to talk, they hog the conversation with well-intentioned but unwanted advice.

Psychologists and counselors who charge by the hour are expensive friends but well worth it as listeners if you have no other friends or relatives who fill this need for you. It is a known fact that what you don’t get out, pops out in some other forms such as hives, ulcers, and on and on in a long line of physical manifestations that you never thought were anything emotionally connected.

Joy shared is doubled;
pain shared is halved.

Many medical doctors now state that 80% of the patients they treat are suffering from self-induced maladies. So if you do not get some of these things out, they can cause you harm and cost you far more to treat as medical ailments, etc.

You do not need a professional person to talk to necessarily, but it becomes more and more necessary to find some outlet, since most of our relatives, and old friends we used to have available to confide in, are hundreds of miles away. When our married friends all make us feel like a fifth wheel and they really aren’t understanding of problems as a single, we need to develop new security blanket friends with whom we can be real and talk about what is bugging us. Otherwise we dump on some newly developed dating relationship and make them so uncomfortable they stop seeing us.

We have to have someone we can really talk to, so we need to find friends who can and do share with us in the same way or feel free to, someone who can call you at two in the morning and say, "Listen, I’m terribly upset about something and know that you will not be upset at being awakened, but understanding." To grow as a person, in addition, we need a sounding-board, security-blanket friend to bounce things off so we can grow.

When we are a security blanket friend, we create a corridor where our friend can come and dump something... a safe place. We acknowledge whatever they dumped and leave it lie. We do not do anything with it; we just acknowledge it and leave it lie. It is safe with us, and we have created a safe place for that friend to do that. They, in turn, do it for us.

They can be same sex or opposite sex, but rarely a dating relationship. You need a separate security blanket friend with whom you can share what is going on for you, to talk about your relationships or dating and know whatever it is, it is safe with them, that it goes no further and the confidentiality will always be protected.

No man is an island; we all need other people. It is just now becoming scientifically recognized that this is a genuine need and why it is so. We need people of other than the superficial "Hi! How are you?" type acquaintances and we need people other than dating-type relationships.

We often feel this need for other people and think dating is the way to fill that need and we get in relationships we should not be in as a result. Or we try to fill these other needs all in one person and it is just too much. Soon cracks develop from the strain and the whole thing blows apart. Another good relationship down the tube because our demands on one person were just too much.

We need a whole network of friends for many different reasons, not just as an emotional health aid, but as a genuine contribution to expanding your life with new concepts and viewpoints.

Most people who have become financial successes have been aided in a great part by a network of friends who kept their ears and eyes open for opportunities for them. Your success probability is better than doubled with a strong network of friends who influence you in the right direction, you general joy in life will be better than doubled and the pains and strains will at least be halved.

So, really, what I am trying to get across here is that you need not only develop friends for dating relationships, you need to develop friends for other social needs as well. Dating relationships come and go, but good friends go on and on if you do not neglect them just because you have a big relationship going at the moment.

Continue to maintain and develop new friends every week. You need them and they need you.


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