Author Topic: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?  (Read 13588 times)

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DuBois

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #75 on: January 26, 2012, 08:43:19 AM »
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

This seems at odds with your reaction to your co-worker's body-shaping issues--unless you're applying advice you got from that thread, of course!  :)

I'm not sure I agree that the two are at odds. In Reason's thread, he wasn't suggesting that anything was 'wrong' with the woman, just that she could make a simple change and see better results. While I do not agree with the stigma surrounding therapy, I think that there is a difference between 'see a therapist' and 'eat differently in conjunction with something that you are already doing' (i.e. excercising)

But "see a therapist" need not mean "something is wrong with you" either. You can't suggest it in every relationship situation, but there are times, if you're really close to someone, then you might be able to suggest the friend see a therapist if they've asked you for advice, and if you really are that close. It's the same thing for "you need to go on a diet," IMO. It's rude to go around unsolicitedly suggesting it willy-nilly to everyone you know; it can be acceptable if you have a close friend who genuinely wants your dietary advice. The key is if they really want advice and you're really really sure of that, whether it's on physical or mental health issues. The problem in the other thread was that Reason misunderstood the co-worker--she wanted to blow off steam, not receive instruction. The disconnect I see is that Reason says he wouldn't want unsolicited health advice (mental health in this case) but finds it frustrating when we tell him that his co-worker might feel the same way.

And as an added issue, equating therapy with "derangement" is insulting to the many, many ehellions who have gone to therapy, and smacks of ableism.

Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

Yvaine

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #76 on: January 26, 2012, 08:49:13 AM »
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.

DuBois

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #77 on: January 26, 2012, 09:13:50 AM »
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.

Oh, I completely agree with you! I think the same about therapy, and that goes double for advising it for close friends. I just can see why, in that grey area between aquaintanceship and friendship, therapy advice might be seen as a no no, while diet advice is more neutral.

Reason

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #78 on: January 26, 2012, 09:24:55 AM »
I also think there is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist. Or seeing a nutritionist. Or seeing a personal trainer. Or for that matter seeing any professional to help you resolve an issue you are struggling with.

But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong? Note I am not saying wrong with them, just wrong. A person goes to a therapist to fix some kind of problem, I think. I go to see a nutritionist to fine tune my diet for example, and I have a six pack. Nothing wrong with me, but there is something wrong with my diet obviously cause I wound up pretty ill by following it.

So I think (also because I am learning as I go, as in my other thread) that giving the advice to see such a professional can be a very risky proposition. You really have to know how the other person will react and know them well. Just offering someone to see a therapist without that background can be very insulting. Even without the stigma.

MariaE

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #79 on: January 26, 2012, 09:32:23 AM »
But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong? Note I am not saying wrong with them, just wrong. A person goes to a therapist to fix some kind of problem, I think. I go to see a nutritionist to fine tune my diet for example, and I have a six pack. Nothing wrong with me, but there is something wrong with my diet obviously cause I wound up pretty ill by following it.

In order to get tools to use for when things do go wrong. I think it was Gretchen Rubin who said "The time to think about your happiness is when you're already happy."
 
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Virg

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #80 on: January 26, 2012, 10:05:40 AM »
MariaE wrote:

"In order to get tools to use for when things do go wrong. I think it was Gretchen Rubin who said "The time to think about your happiness is when you're already happy.""

The problem is that most people view therapy as something done to fix a problem.  To most, suggesting therapy when nothing is "wrong" (that is, when they don't have some internal struggle that's bothering them) would be like taking your car to the mechanic when there's nothing wrong with it to discuss what you should do when the fuel pump goes bad.  I personally would wonder why I need tools to deal with a nonexistent problem before I know what that problem is (and therefore what tools I'd need to cope).

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WillyNilly

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #81 on: January 26, 2012, 10:13:14 AM »
Ok about this therapy debate... the friend in the OP does have a problem though and one she admits to and has communicated - she is having a problem funding herself a good, strong, meaningful, lasting relationship.  The friend is not currently happy or operating under the guise of "all is well".

Reason

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #82 on: January 26, 2012, 10:15:34 AM »
Yes, but she may very well think there is something wrong with "men". Not with her. Depends on how she's phrasing her complaints.

Yvaine

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #83 on: January 26, 2012, 10:23:40 AM »
I also think there is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist. Or seeing a nutritionist. Or seeing a personal trainer. Or for that matter seeing any professional to help you resolve an issue you are struggling with.

But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong? Note I am not saying wrong with them, just wrong. A person goes to a therapist to fix some kind of problem, I think. I go to see a nutritionist to fine tune my diet for example, and I have a six pack. Nothing wrong with me, but there is something wrong with my diet obviously cause I wound up pretty ill by following it.

So I think (also because I am learning as I go, as in my other thread) that giving the advice to see such a professional can be a very risky proposition. You really have to know how the other person will react and know them well. Just offering someone to see a therapist without that background can be very insulting. Even without the stigma.

Well, but offering to critique their diet can also be insulting. I don't think it's any less personal or any less sensitive for many people, so you have to tread carefully.

And yeah, mental conditions are "something wrong" in the same sense that a broken leg or the flu is "something wrong." The stigma is what bothers me--there's this idea out there that a mental illness means you're "weak" or that it reflects badly on your character; and there's another idea that mental illnesses aren't real and that you can just make depression or PTSD go away with a "chin up!"  ::) When, really, they're a condition just the same as an injury or a virus, and there is treatment for them, and it doesn't make you a bad person if you have one any more than you're a bad person if you break your leg.

I agree that it can be very risky to suggest any kind of professional help (doctor, therapist, nutritionist, whatever) and that you have to know your audience. And you have to be coming from a place of real caring and not flippancy. It's rude and dismissive to go around, for example (and I'm not saying you do this personally; this is a general "you") hectoring every smoker or fat person you see about how they need to quit/diet. But if you are close to someone, and you think there might be a specific issue they haven't thought of yet, it can be different.

Another example from my real life: There is a rare chromosomal condition that, by dumb chance, I had two friends who had it. So while I'm not a doctor, I spent more time being around the condition and talking about the condition than most laypeople ever do. A third friend confided in me some symptoms she'd been experiencing--some for many years--and that she and her doctor were both stumped. I told her, "I have an off-the-wall thought, but I'll keep my mouth shut if you prefer." She said go ahead and tell her, so I told her that she might want to get checked for this condition next time she was at the doctor, because she had symptoms x, y, and z that can result from that. (IIRC, she ended up deciding she probably did have it but didn't want to go through the testing.)

WillyNilly

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #84 on: January 26, 2012, 10:28:41 AM »
Yes, but she may very well think there is something wrong with "men". Not with her. Depends on how she's phrasing her complaints.

But all these arguments - yours even "But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong?" imply she doesn't realize something is wrong.  She knows something is wrong.  Perhaps she is incorrect in what she thinks is wrong, but she knows something in the equation is adding up right. 

Pointing her to a therapist doesn't even mean per say she is the problem in entirety.,  Many women have the problem that they go after the wrong guys.  Perfectly nice women who for whatever reason are attracted to men who are [insert issue] and end up having [negative issue] over and over again.  Yeah its the guys who are wrong but therapy can help the woman steer clear of the wrongness.

Petticoats

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #85 on: January 26, 2012, 11:23:31 AM »
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.

This is really a productive way to look at the situation. Whether or not the OP's friend recognizes that she has control over something that's causing her pain, a good friend can suggest to her, without being insulting, that an outside (and professional) perspective might help shed light on a recurring and painful problem.

Yvaine

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #86 on: January 26, 2012, 11:27:15 AM »
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.

This is really a productive way to look at the situation. Whether or not the OP's friend recognizes that she has control over something that's causing her pain, a good friend can suggest to her, without being insulting, that an outside (and professional) perspective might help shed light on a recurring and painful problem.

That was such a huge part of the problem--because I was getting upset because my friend was upset, and she needed somebody who could listen without being emotionally involved.