Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My best friend is in love with me

Question:  My best friend recently told me she has feelings for me.  Not only that, she then proceeds to say that she’s in love with me! When she first told me, I told her that I don't feel that way back. I recently broke up with my girlfriend so I’m assuming she thought it would be a great opportunity to let me know how she feels. Unfortunately, I just don't like her like that and don't want to ruin our friendship.  Even though I don't feel the same way about her, I do value our friendship a lot. I still want to be friends with her (we've known each other for over 15 years) but I feel like things are so awkward between us now. Is there a way I can repair our friendship without leading her on? (Irvine, CA)

Social Shrink: What an awkward situation! That is what’s tricky when you are close friends with the opposite sex.  You have to give her credit for waiting until you broke up with your ex to tell you.  Remember how Julia Roberts told her best friend in "My Best Friend's Wedding" she loved him the day of his wedding?  That couldn't have been worse timing and all this drama ensued.  Although she poured her heart out to you and you didn't reciprocate those feelings, it doesn’t mean that your friendship can’t be repaired if the two of you work on it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My friend is crazy! How do I deal with a friend who's all drama?

Question:  I have a friend that is extremely moody and I'm not sure what to do. One day we will be out at a restaurant, eating, talking, having a good time. When the waiter doesn't get the food to us in two minutes flat, she'll do a complete 180 and flip out on him! She then got up and expected me and all of my friends to leave the restaurant with her. When we didn't want to, she threw another fit! Psycho!

I'm all about getting what I want and being high maintenance but she is out of control! Lately, it's been getting worse which is why I am writing. She's always been sort of like that but I find myself avoiding going out in public places with her a lot more now because I never know how she will act. The other night we went to a bar and all the lines to get drinks were so long, she started pushing people so that she can get to the front and almost started a fight and expected all of us to back her up. When we go out, she acts like a 5 year old and we are 20 years older than that! She is a good friend so I can have fun with her and talk to her but one minute she'll be cool, the next she'll go psycho. People have even called her crazy before and told her during arguments that she needs to be medicated. I don't know if we need to go that far but I don't know what to do. She has been wanting to hang out a lot lately but I'm not so sure if I can deal with her being in public. Help, what should I do? (Sacramento, CA)

My roommate is a BITCH!

Question:  Me and my college friends are renting a house from our school for the semester and we all decided to do this because we started off as really close friends. I get along with most of the girls but there is just one that has been irritating me so much lately! I find myself getting annoyed at everything she does, she constantly gets in other people's business, snaps at others for no reason, is just a bitch in general... the list goes on. While my other roommates feel the same way, they are all friendly and fake to her because they're afraid of confrontation. Sorry, but I'm not like that!

So yesterday, my roommate left some books out on the couch in our living room.  When I went to go watch TV, I moved them to the side. She saw me do this and completely blew up at me, saying I was selfish and to leave her things alone. One thing led to another and we were screaming at each other.  My other roommate had to pull me away. Now, my roommates want me to apologize to her... ME! When I've done nothing wrong! She was the one who left her books there, and she was the one who started arguing with me. The way I see it, she was lucky that I kept it to yelling and not going further than that. Help, I don't know what to do with my roommates because it seems like they all turned against me and are on her side all of a sudden when I've done nothing wrong! (Boston, MA)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

No plans this holiday season? VOLUNTEER!

Find your local organization to volunteer!

Question:  This year I am away from my family for the holidays because I recently moved to a new state and haven't accrued enough vacation time to travel back home. I moved for my job and so I don't have many friends here. At first, I didn't think it was such a big deal but now that Christmas is getting closer, I feel more distant from my family and home. Having no friends or family in the area, it's hard to have a good holiday, do you have any suggestions? (Oakland, CA)

Social Shrink: Not to worry!  Just because you are alone doesn't mean your Christmas will be ruined. No one should be alone during the holidays. Look at this as a great opportunity to do something new for the holidays and make new friends.

One of the most fulfilling and high-impact ways to spend Christmas is volunteering in some capacity. If you are good with kids, you can dress up as Santa and hand out gifts at the Children's Hospital.  Or, if you like to cook, you can help prepare meals at your local homeless shelter. Offer to help pass out gifts to families at your local toy and gift drive.  Plenty of places are always looking for volunteers, especially during the holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Should I try online dating?

Question: I've been single for 3 years now and all of my friends are always trying to get me to join an online dating site.  They tell me it's the new way to filter guys out and find what I'm looking for since people are too busy to meet in person.  Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to meet people face to face.  I get a sense of who they are, if we click, what they look like (not photoshopped), etc ... Am I being unreasonable?  I guess I've kind of come to a wall, and am sort of considering the idea, but am not totally open to it.  It would be nice to get another opinion, so Social Shrink, shrink it up! (Washington, DC)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Should I tell my boyfriend I cheated? It meant nothing!

Question:  I am currently back for semester break and the other night I was at a party and an old high school crush was there. We were talking and flirting and one thing led another another. The next thing I know, we were making out! The dilemma I have is that I have a boyfriend who I am madly in love with and want to be with long-term. We have been going out for about a year now and I know he will freak out if he finds out. I'm not sure if I should tell him... I know this was a one time thing because I don't want a relationship with my high school crush. We were just drinking and having a good time. I really do want to be with my boyfriend but am afraid this will ruin our relationship... but the guilt of not telling him is killing me. Should I tell him?  (Miami, FL)

Social Shrink: While we always believe honesty is always the best policy, it is ultimately up to you since you know your relationship with your boyfriend and yourself the best.  We can look at this scenario in two ways: (1) a drunken, thoughtless act that you don't understand how it even happened; or (2) an outlet for suppressed emotions you may have that stem from your unhappiness with your current boyfriend. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

We broke up because we had other priorities, but we still love each other... should I keep him around?

Question: My boyfriend and I were in a (mostly happy) relationship for nearly two and a half years before he wanted to end things with me about two months ago.  His reasoning was that he has to focus on his career (he's a professional soccer player, currently looking for a new team to sign with- no, soccer players don't make very much money in the US, so that's been an issue he's had since we met), and simply doesn't have the time to worry about "us" at this point, and says that when I'm around, he finds it really difficult to get anything done. 

However, he never told his friends or family that we were broken up, still communicates with my parents, and we still spend time and go out together like any other couple.  I know that he's in a tough situation right now (his mother recently passed away unexpectedly, his father is sick and unable to work, and he's trying to make enough money to take care of himself, help his father keep his house and his little brother through college), and yet he continuously tells me that he loves me and can see us together in the future, but wants me to "worry about myself" and go "have fun" because he needs to "focus on himself." 

I don't know how to take this.  He's always been the type of guy to place my happiness above his own, so I don't know if he's trying to do this for me, or if he truly doesn't want to be with me anymore and is just making excuses. It's pretty obvious that we're still in love with each other, both of us have agreed not to see other people, and I always promised that I would be supportive of him and his career, and have understood that I'm going to be second to it, just like he's secondary to me getting an education, but I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do here. 

Any input would be much appreciated :) (Seattle, WA)

Social Shrink: First off, we give your (ex) boyfriend credit for being upfront and honest with you that he can't commit to a relationship at this time.  He put it out there for you to know rather than string you along over time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Am I wrong to ask my girlfriend to de-friend her ex on Facebook?

Question:  The other day I was about to write something on my girlfriend's Facebook wall when I noticed a few posts down that her ex put a ;) on her wall.  Normally I wouldn't care if any other guy put that, but because it's her ex it got me pissed off (if it was a smiley face then whatever, but a wink? Come on!).   I asked my girlfriend and she just said it was nothing.  I then asked her to de-friend him on Facebook and she said, "No, I don't want to look mean."  I'm pissed - am I right about this? (New York, NY)

Social Shrink:  We all have "friends" on Facebook that may be on our friends list but doesn't actually mean anything more than that.  Facebook doesn't equal real life and there are too many people that take Facebook way too seriously ("I poked you three days ago and you haven't poked me back! WTF!").

Your girlfriend seems like a nice girl who doesn't want to stir up any drama between you and your ex.  She also seems like someone who accepts any friend request, even if she isn't really friends with that person OR even if it's her ex.  So, that being said, here's our advice:
  • Don't tell her what to do.  If you tell her to de-friend her ex without discussing anything more than that, you're going to make yourself look bad.  Rather than demand she de-friend him, tell her that it makes you feel uncomfortable.  By telling her this, she may feel compelled to take him off on her own.
  • Ask her if she's had any other communication with her ex.  By putting a wink on your girlfriend's wall, it doesn't mean that she's texting him and meeting him secretly behind your back.  Ask you girlfriend if she has had any other correspondence with him.  If she says no, drop it.  If you question her more, you will look like you don't trust her and that will open a whole new can of worms.
  • Compromise.  If her girlfriend doesn't want to de-friend him, suggest that she puts him on "limited profile" so her ex can't see the photos of her, post on her wall, etc.  He can still be a part of her friends list but with limited access.
The time you and your girlfriend are on Facebook is time taken away from you two being together.  Nip this in the bud fast, take her away from her computer or Blackberry and take her out just the two of you!  Good luck!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My best friend is being labeled a "slut"

Lindsay Lohan's reckless behavior only lead her to more problems.
Question:  I have a sorority sister that everyone in my school is labeling as a "slut." I don't want to call her one because she is my sister and my best friend - but the way she acts around guys is so crazy!

She has a different guy over at least a few times a week.  If she has a boyfriend at the time, she'll cheat on him.  She will also hook up with guys that have girlfriends already. Really, I wouldn't be surprised if she hooked up with another sister's boyfriend and just hasn't told anyone! I don't know what to do because she is also my best friend and when I try to tell her that none of us approve of her behavior, she takes it as us being jealous or says it's just because she can get guys so she can't help it. Even the guys she has hooked up with talk about her and how she's "been around," and now most of them just want to have sex with her because they heard about her escapades.

When she is single, she gives her number to every random guy she sees - like one time me and my sisters were at a club and this one guy was just standing there, asking every girl that passed by to give him their number (and believe me he was UGLY!). While the rest of us were laughing in his face, we turn around and she is inputting her number in his phone! Help, I don't know how to have a serious conversation with her without her thinking it's because we want to be just like her. I am legitimately worried about her well-being, her reputation and her future. (Amherst, MA)

Social Shrink: Wow, that was quite the vent session you had yourself there!  Your friend sounds like a handful for sure! Especially since you already brought this up with her before and it seems she takes it on the defensive.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My girlfriend only has guy friends - should I be worried?

Question:  I started dating my girlfriend 3 months ago.  She's always had a lot of guy friends (and I'm not a jealous guy, I don't think), but over this past weekend one of her guys friends who lives out of town went to visit her and gave her a present for no reason.  What should I think of it? (Phoenix, AZ)

Monday, December 13, 2010

My boyfriend is a drug addict

Question:  I have a live-in boyfriend who has a problem. He drinks excessively and doesn't know when to stop, recently, I also think he's been doing drugs. I'm not sure where he is getting it from but there are days when he completely doesn't know what is going on, his behavior is completely different from when he is sober, like he is extremely happy for no reason, which will last for days. We've been together for about six years now and I know that before we got together he had a problem when methaphetamine. 

He hasn't worked in a few years and I've been the sole financial provider for the both of us. When he asks me for money, I give it to him and he'll leave for hours, I won't know where he is going or doing with the money and the past couple of months, I could barely pay rent. I've brought all of this up to him multiple times when he was sober and he always gets mad, tells me he has no problem and will end the conversation.

When I brought the situation up with my friends, they told me to just leave him. I know I can't do that because he is not working. He also needs me because he doesn't have any other family members or friends that are supportive of him, he's had a hard life and been through a lot before we even met. He's told me before that he doesn't ever want to go back to meth because we want to start a family and have a life together. I want to stick through this until the end but I have no idea how to help him. What should I do? (San Francisco, CA)

Social Shrink:  I'm sorry to hear about your boyfriend, it really does sound like you want to stick with him through this but you can't do this all on your own. He's been through this before so he may know what works for him and what doesn't when treating his addiction.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm jealous of my sister! How do I stop?

Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian
Question:  I have a younger sister who is two years younger than me.  We are both in our twenties now and despite being adults, I can’t help but hate on her every time she succeeds at something, has a new boyfriend, wears something that looks good on her, etc!  I know I’m being petty about superficial things, but I really want to get over this jealousy that I’ve had towards her that I’ve carried with me ever since we were kids.  How can I stop this jealousy?  (Los Angeles, CA)

Social Shrink:  Sibling rivalry is natural and I’m sure that it has helped build your character over the years.  If you didn’t fight with your sister as kids, do you think you would be as tough and confident now?  Siblings help us learn how to deal with our peers as we grow up, so you should thank your sister for keeping you on your toes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Teenagers and diet pills

Question:  This past Thanksgiving, I went home from college and I noticed in my little sisters room all these empty diet pill containers.  How do I confront her about it and steer her in the right direction? She's only 14 years old.  My mom has said before that her friends at school always call her fat and pick on her.  I'm worried about her.  What to do? (Malibu, CA)

Social Shrink:  This is a topic you cannot avoid - you need to bring this up as soon as possible.  Diet pills and supplements promise to work wonders on one's body, but there are serious health risks your sister may not even know about - anxiety, heart issues, dehydration, high blood pressure, and even death. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Googled my date - do I tell her what I found about her?

Question:  I have a date this weekend with a girl I was set up with.  It's basically a blind date, but with Facebook and Google, it was easy to look her up so I knew what I was getting myself into.  I ended up digging further than I anticipated and I found some interesting articles about her on Google.  Some were good (there was an article from her high school about how she was a star softball player), but some were bad (an article from her college's town newspaper about how she was arrested for drug possession).  What is protocol around these things - can I bring these up to her and ask her about it? (Denver, CO)

Social Shrink:  This is 2010 - everybody Googles people they are curious about.  It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone if someone says they Googled you and found some embarrassing photos of you from your past.  While the Googling may be standard procedure nowadays, it's the content of what you find that is tricky bringing up.

My friend is a flake.

Don't let unreliable friends effect your life!
Question:  I have a good friend who I’ve been friends with for years, but he is a huge flake.  If we ever make plans to hang out, he always either forgets and can’t make it, or he’s a complete no-show.  If I ask a favor like a ride to the airport, he’ll agree but then back out last minute.  What pisses me off is that whenever he needs something from me, I always follow-through and keep my promises.  I’m sick of being left hanging out to dry but I don’t want to make a huge fight about it either.  What should I do? (New York, NY)

Social Shrink:  Is it possible that your friend might just be a little ‘out there’?  What I mean is that if your friend has been like this ever since you’ve know him, you shouldn’t take it personally if your friend is absent-minded, forgetful, or just not very good with following-through.  If he does this with all of his friends, he may have deeply ingrained organizational habits that are just a part of who he is.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Question:  I have a dilemma! I graduated college about a year ago and spent about six months looking for a job. I finally got one... but I hate it! I work as a marketing assistant for a big company but the work I am doing is definitely not what I expected it to be (aka it's all bitch work).  My boss has me run errands for him, walk his dog, call his doctor to make appointments, etc, all while making me do other pointless things like mail letters or copy documents.

Recently I had my first review and was denied a raise. I know my attitude towards my job has changed and my boss has addressed it with me. I told him I've been stressed because of the workload. I really want a new job but since it took me so long to find this one and because of the state of the economy, I don't know if I should quit this one. Please help! (Antioch, CA)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Should you fight your friend's battles?

Question:  My best friend's ex-boyfriend cheated on her and when I first heard that, I wanted to kick his ass!  Then I wanted to beat up the girl he cheated with.  We all go to school together and everytime I see my friend's ex or the girl he cheated with, I always yell rude comments to them or give them dirty looks.  My other friends think I'm going too far, but I'm doing it for my best friend.  Shouldn't I defend my best friend?  She's the one that got screwed over!  (Laguna Beach, CA)

        Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

Social Shrink:  Have you heard the news recently about Chelsea Handler calling out Angelina Jolie as a "homewrecker"?  Chelsea went off on Angelina at her show last Friday in defense of her good friend Jennifer Aniston.  Maybe it's a PR stunt or she's trying to be funny, but Chelsea is rehashing something that happened a few years ago.  Are her intentions good?  Perhaps, since she's doing it for Ms. Aniston.  Is her approach the best?  Probably not.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Applying for college - should I listen to my parents?

Question:  I'm in the middle of narrowing down the colleges I'm applying for before the January 1st deadline, and I'm having a hard time!  My parents are urging me to apply to schools I didn't originally have on my list.  For example, my dad says I'll like the social scene at one school, my mom says that it's safe rat this other school. One school is suburban, another school is in the city.  How can I make this important decision when I have so much pressure from my parents!  (New York, NY)

Social Shrink:  Applying to college is both an exciting and stressful time.  First off, congratulations for making it to your final year in high school and planning for this exciting next step. It seems as if you have some idea of some schools you are targeting, the question is whether or not you will be applying to those schools in addition to any others your parents are pressuring you to apply to.
While it may be stressful to have your parents giving you their input 24/7, just note that this is a stressful time for them as well.  They obviously want you to be happy, they are anxious that you will be leaving them soon, and getting you into college is not something they have control over.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I'm in an unhealthy relationship - 5 red flags to look out for

Dear Social Shrink,

I started seeing this guy for a couple of weeks now. I really like him but my friends have been telling me I should stop seeing him because they feel like he is taking up all my time. I agree, I have been spending a lot of time with him, but that's what happens in new relationships, right? 

I find our relationship is coming between me and my friends and I don't want it to. When I told my boyfriend about what my friends said, he told me that my friends aren't happy for me and I should cut them off. Even my mom told me she is worried about how my relationship is progressing and my boyfriend doesn't like it when I talk to her. 

I know he just cares about me and wants me to spend time with him but I want to show my friends and family I still care about them while being with my boyfriend. What should I do? (Oakland, CA)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Help! I hate mingling at social events!

Saturday Night Live's Rihanna and 'Shy Ronnie'
Question:  So the holiday season is coming up and I have all these holiday parties I'm invited to.  The majority of them I can't avoid and feel obligated to go, but the problem is that I HATE mingling and making small talk!  Any tips on how to survive these awkward events?! (Jacksonville, FL)

Social Shrink:  It's only awkward if you make it awkward.  Here are some quick holiday party survival tips that should ease your pain:
  • Smile.  It seems simple (and yes, it may be fake), but smiling will not only show others you are friendly and enjoying yourself, but will also keep you in check from rolling your eyes and feeling anxious.
  • Let others do the talking.  If you don't like small talk but it's unavoidable, always be the one to ask the questions: "So, what do you do?" or "What are your plans for the holiday?"  Generic questions put the ball in the other person's court and frees you from having to talk about yourself.
  • Make eye contact, nod and keep your body language in check.  It's important to be engaged, open and an overall good listener to those you talk to.  If you cross your arms or constantly look over their shoulder, many will be offended that you are not "all there."
  • Avoid crass language and TMI stories.  TMI = Too Much Information.  No one wants to hear about your recent trip to the bathroom or your ability to use the "F" and "SH" word. 
  • BE CONFIDENT.  Above all else, see it as a time to make new friends, learn about a new topic, and an opportunity to overcome your shyness.  The more you partake in "small talk," the less afraid you will be for future similar situations.
Have fun and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to create feasible New Year's resolutions

Happy 2011!

Question:  With 2011 coming up, I want to start thinking about what my new year's resolutions will be.  Ever year I make a list, but by the time February or March rolls around, they are usually kicked to the curb.  Any advice on how to make some good resolutions?  (New York, NY)

Social Shrink:  Here is our advice - there's no point in making new year's resolutions if they are unattainable or are not possible in real life (i.e. I want to grow wings or I want to be invisible for a day).  We have developed a short list for you to think about as you begin to make your 2011 resolutions:

Do I scare guys away?

Don't make yourself look like you're obsessed!
Question:  I have the tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve.  I fall for someone hard and fast, which ultimately leads me to get hurt that much more.  For the past year, I haven't been able to settle into a serious relationship because the guys I talk to end up running away.  Before I thought it was just them, but now I'm scared that it's something I'm doing.  I call them - they don't answer, I text - they don't answer.  What am I doing wrong?  (San Jose, CA)

Social Shrink:  In general, we think it's great that you are upfront and confident enough to let people know how you feel.  It's something we wish everybody would be able to do since communication is key in making relationships work.

It does seem, however, that when you approach relationships so intensely, you're overwhelming many of the guys you are talking to way too early on.  Relationships need to develop and gradually blossom into something great.  When you accelerate the process and become too much, that is where it will seem like you're moving way too fast and scare people away. 

Single dad and your daughter's first...

Question:  My mom passed away when I was 8 and my father has been raising me since.  Me and my dad are really close - I can always turn to him for anything, we play sports together and we go to basketball games all of the time.

I am 12 now and I recently got my period.  Me and my dad are usually able to talk about anything, but every time I try to bring up stuff like my period and needing to get a bra, he gets uncomfortable.  What should I do? (Chicago, IL) 

Social Shrink:  Well, we really thank you for this question.  I'm sure there are a lot of single fathers out there who all go through this experience with their daughters.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My ex is using all of my old sexts against me!

Question: I dumped my ex-boyfriend two weeks ago and he did not take it very well.  Ever since then, he's been contacting me and begging me to get back together with him.  I keep rejecting him and telling him it's 100% over but he won't stop!  I think he's realizing I won't get back with him and it set him off.  Just the other day he threatened to send my family, friends and whoever was on his phone a nude photo I sexted him while we were going out.  I'm desperate - what do I do?! (Los Angeles, CA)

Social Shrink:  That's quite the situation you got yourself in.  Just so we can inform the general public what "sexting" is: according to Wikipedia, sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones.

First thing's first, if you are in high school, you are underage and your boyfriend could be charged with child pornography.  This situation is a lot more serious than just a teenage break-up. Just putting that out there.

Man's Best Friend - why dogs are the best therapy

Question:  I've had a rough couple of months - I broke up with my ex and then a few weeks later, found out I was getting laid off.  The holidays don't make things easier and I've been feeling really down.  I'm trying to stay away from alcohol, eating too much, and definitely staying away from retail therapy.  What can I do that will make me feel better without having to feel guilty afterward?  (Toronto, Canada)

Social Shrink:  Since it's the holidays, if you have some great friends and family to surround you, that is the best place to start.  They are the ones who will provide you with unconditional love to get you through the hard time.  Just realize that these hard times will pass and you should be comforted to know that your family and true friends will always be there for you.

You should also use this time for self-reflection - think of the positives that come out of these situations.  Now that you are single, start taking advantage of doing stuff for YOU and what makes you the happiest.  In terms of your job, reflect on the next step and what would be your perfect job.  Once you're able to narrow this down, research how you can get there.  This time you should focus on YOU.

We'd also like to use this opportunity to share one of our personal ways to feel better and is, in our opinion, the best therapy after a bad day: dogs.  Dogs offer you unconditional love and attention when you need it most.  They are loyal companions who not only make dog owner's days brighter, but also are used in therapy for Alzheimer's disease and in clinical settings as comfort for the terminally ill.  Below are some adorable photos of puppies that may even make your day a little bit brighter.  Enjoy!