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10 Things To/Not To Say To A Single Person

10 Things (WFT)
While in grad school, I had the opportunity to study the experience young adults are having being single in today’s world. I had particular interest in the topic given that I myself am single and work with single people regularly in my therapy practice. After a year of study and research, I was asked to share what I learned at a regional mental health conference.

Early on in my presentation, a man in the audience (probably mid 50’s) raised his hand and asked, ”so why aren’t you married?” Thinking it was a joke, I chuckled and quipped back with something to the effect of, “That’s a great question, and I’d love to know the answer when you figure it out!” Everyone in the room laughed except for this gentleman. After clearly not answering his question, he fired back more intently: “No really, what’s wrong with all of these single people today? What’s keeping you guys from getting married?” By the looks on the faces of the audience members (a mix of single and married individuals), it was safe to say that the majority of us were taken aback by the question. Realizing that he wasn’t trying to be funny, I did my best to address his question as professionally as possible without becoming emotionally reactive. However, inside I was thinking, “how dare he ask me to defend/expose one of my greatest insecurities in front of this audience?” Another part was able to look past the abrasiveness of the delivery and focus on the underlying issue at hand. Which is, because relationships (or the lack thereof) are so personal, sometimes it’s hard for us to know how to talk about them.

Ironically, the core message of my presentation focused on understanding the experience, pressures, and judgement young single adults face in today’s society. I genuinely believe that my new friend had no malicious intent. Rather, he used poor tact when asking an honest question.

So, in hopes that we can promote more safety/support and less judgement in our conversations, here are 10 suggestions of “things no to” and “things to” say to your single friends:

10 Things NOT To Say To A Single Person
1. You are such a catch! I’m surprised you aren’t married yet.
2. What about ______? They’re single too!
3. I wish I was single again. Life was so much easier.
4. Maybe you’re just being too picky.
5. Don’t worry, there are always more fish in the sea.
6. Maybe you’re just not putting yourself out there enough.
7. You need to hurry and get married or you won’t be able to have kids.
8. Look aren’t everything-they will change after you’re married.
9. Your time will come. I just know it.
10. You’re probably having too much fun being single, huh?

 

10 Things TO Say To A Single Person
 
1. You are such a catch.
2. Let me know if you like being set up. I know some really good people.
3. Do you want to talk about dating? Or would you rather not?
4. I think you’re great. You deserve to find someone you think is great too.
5. You really seemed to like _______. I’m sorry that things didn’t work out.
6. I’ve noticed that you’ve been doing _________. How is that going?
8. I would really love for you to find someone you’re compatible with.
9. What do you have coming up that you’re looking forward to?
10. I’m headed to ________. Would you like to join me?
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Social Media, Depression, and Loneliness: How to Beat the Facebook Blues

Social Media, Depression, and Loneliness: How to Beat the Facebook Blues

It’s no secret that social media connects us like never before. In an instant, we can snap pictures and post our whereabouts (think that selfie from your backpacking trip in Europe) and also keep tabs on what our friends are up to. I love social media. It has been an integral part of my professional life and is a great way to keep in touch with my loved ones. But it is not without its problems.
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In the past few years, there has been public and medical concern about such topics as cyber-bullying and too much screen time (particularly for young people). As a psychotherapist, I’d like to address one more issue as it relates to mental health and social media: that of internet loneliness, depression, and feelings of low self-esteem.

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Are You a Drama Queen?: Dr. Julie Hanks on KSL’s Studio 5

Are you a Drama Queen?

We’ve all experienced drama at one time or another. Maybe it’s with a gossipy co-worker, an overbearing family member, or a nosy friend. But how do you know if you yourself are the one being overly dramatic? Self-awareness is key, but the problem is that most people who really struggle with this are entirely oblivious to the fact. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you’re a drama queen (as well as some tips to help you not let drama get the better of you):

1. Do I lash out with others when I’m not included?

In my clinical practice, I’ve often seen this manifest in relationships with in-laws. For example, a woman I worked with was upset when her mother-in-law had a fun outing with others in the family but didn’t include her. If this kind of situation happens to you, how would you handle it? Some might take extreme offense, harbor great resentment, become overly dramatic, and lash out. Others may stay silent and conceal that it was painful to be excluded. But I challenge my readers to assume positive intent and then simply ask for what you want. It’s okay to say something like, “That was probably a fun thing you all did. It hurt me a little to not be invited. I’d love to be included next time around.”

–> Avoid the drama by being direct and assertive and not lashing out or gossiping.

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5 Ways to Boost Confidence: LCSW Julie Hanks on KSL’s Studio 5

5 Ways to Boost Confidence: LCSW Julie Hanks on KSL’s Studio 5

Confidence is one of those characteristics that almost every woman desires for herself. We understand that in many ways, confidence is key to happiness, assertiveness, and success. But how exactly do we acquire it? Here are 5 actionable items to boost your confidence:

1) Recognize the Context

Sometimes, we as women believe that struggling with confidence is a weakness we alone experience. But the truth is that many of us feel insecure and inadequate at times. Remember that although women have come a long way in the rights and opportunities available to us, we still need to continue to advocate for our equality. Feeling self-conscious or unconfident is part of the result of a bigger systemic picture. If you struggle with these feelings, know that you are not alone!

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How To Deal With Mean Moms: LCSW Clair Mellenthin on KUTV

LCSW Clair Mellenthin recently appeared on KUTV to discuss why some moms are unfortunately mean to other moms. She explains that it almost always comes back to insecurity: women who don’t feel good about themselves as mothers or lack confidence are more likely to lash out and belittle others. Sometimes there is tension between moms who stay at home and moms who work. This too is usually fueled by insecurity or the need for a mom to try to “prove” she is better.

What’s a good way to deal with a mean mom you may encounter? One way would be to avoid such a person, but what if it’s the mother of one of your child’s friends? Clair says that if you find yourself in the company of a mom who begins insulting others, simply giving positive input can stop the conversation. She always explains that it’s okay to be brave, say you’re uncomfortable, or even change the subject completely.

“What if I’m the mean mom?”

If you are a mom and find yourself being rude, judgmental, or mean to other moms, it’s a good idea to look inward. What insecurity or pain is causing you to project negativity onto others? Try cultivating gratitude for small things in your life to counter the temptation to be mean to others. Finding ways to be happy and confident can help you be more kind and considerate to other moms.

Watch the video for more about how to deal with mean moms.

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Ask A Therapist: Should I Trust My Flirtatious Boyfriend?

Q: I am a 45 year old divorced mom who is currently in a relationship with a 53 year old man who I do not trust. I have only been cheated on once before, that I’m aware of, so I am usually not a very jealous person. But this man is extremely handsome, charming, and flirtatious. I have caught him in several lies, and find him contacting other women frequently. He is always commented on other women’s looks, or telling them directly they are pretty, or hot. Lately, his tactic to deal with my insecurity is to turn it around – he acts jealous of other men, though none are pursuing me. He gets angry when any male (even my nephew) contacts me on line, or by text. He accuses me of wanting other men. It is absurd, and I’m wondering if this is just another sign he is untrustworthy. He has an excuse or story for every seedy, racy thing I discover about him, and he sticks with his lies to the very end. He swears he adores me and he is not cheating, which I actually believe. There is no evidence to the contrary that he’s actually seeing anyone. My fear is that, given the chance, he will. Do I have good reason for this fear?  Or am I getting paranoid in my old age?

A: You may not realize it, but you already answered your own question. You don’t trust him.  And from what you’ve described, I think you’re right on. If he adores you, why is he making comments about other women’s looks, frequently contacting other women online, lying to you, and becoming extremely jealous and angry? These behaviors are all relationship “red flags.” I suggest you focus less on whether he’s technically cheating or not, and focus more on whether or not you want to continue a relationship with someone who appears to be chronically dishonest, insensitive, jealous, and intensely interested in other women.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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