Normal People Problems

February 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

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X writes,

Hi! My problem is that normal people don’t interest me anymore. The only people I care about are either fictional or celebrities. It’s not that I don’t have friends–I do. But I’m always unfamiliar with the topic they are talking about, which is always either a ‘cute’ boy (which I confuse with another boy) or a popular girl I have no idea about.

I don’t want to know every gossip. But I want to be able to join the conversation and say my opinion rather than just sitting uncomfortably wondering who they are talking about or saying, ‘Hey something like that happened to (insert celebrity name here) too!’

I feel really lonely when we meet with my friends or when I try to avoid sleepovers and things like that. 

I get it. Talking about real people is exhausting. Real people don’t have flawless hair. They don’t have a team of writers scripting their every word. They don’t have wardrobes full of designer fashion. But here’s the thing about real people. They give hugs. They listen to you when you’ve had a bad day. They laugh at your jokes. They even cry with you about fictional people.

In therapy world we have this word for when people bond over talking about a third person. It’s called a triangle. When you form a relationship with someone on the basis of gossiping about a third person, you form a triangle. Triangles help stabilize our relationships and lower our anxiety. But the problem with triangles is that if we’re always talking about a third person, real or fictional, we never really get to know the person in front of us.

I don’t think you have to fake interest in a cute or popular real life person to make and keep friends. You just have to have compassion for the person right in front of you. If your friends are gossiping, change the subject by asking them about themselves. Their hopes, dreams, crushes, families, failures, and fears. If you can’t talk about each other, then it’s hard to make a friendship stick.

When you flex the muscle of interest in your friends’ lives, a funny thing happens. You start to really care about them and their stories. And they start to care about yours, fangirl interests and all. So start listening, and see what can happen.

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