Santa Barbara, California

Hello Friends,

So many of you are fortunate to have found really good friends in your lives, the people you can weather any storm with. For some of us, myself included, friendship hasn’t always come so easily because of anxiety and depression, shyness and self-esteem issues. My parents didn’t have friends so I had no modeling about what a friendship should look like. Figuring it out as I grew up didn’t bode well for me and I ended up taking two different routes. When younger I became the bossy one-sided friend telling everybody else what to do, and when puberty hit I became the “yes” friend because I didn’t know how to say “no”.

When we don’t know who we are or create proper boundaries with our friends the relationship becomes very toxic. Because I didn’t know how to stand up for what I wanted and say “no”, I would commit to things and then cancel. I became the friend that nobody could rely on because I canceled so often. Doing activities with friends was sometimes overwhelming for me but in my heart I wanted to do them and I never wanted to disappoint people so I would always agree to the activity. But as the time came closer I would start to feel anxious and I would always bow out, making up an excuse, never telling the truth. One day a friend called me out on my behavior and she told me she was feeling “really uninspired by our friendship”. I had never in my life had a friend say something like that to me and I immediately felt all of my shame rise up. I decided I was going to email her and and tell her the truth about my anxieties. I did, and she responded so sweetly saying she loved me even more for letting her into my world. She felt bad that I was consumed with so much anxiety and low-self esteem. From that moment forward I never committed to something I didn’t want to do, I began to tell the truth. You know what happened? My friend circle opened wide and now I have many friends, true friends that understand that sometimes I have limitations and friends that enjoy hearing the truth from me and sometimes the word, “no”.

Be well.