The Best 5 Steps for Making More Adult Friends
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 24, 2021 adult therapy, friendship, mindfulness, relationship, relationship resolutions0 comments
It is widely acknowledged that making friends as an adult can be a huge challenge for many and there are real reasons why this occurs. There is something very special about the connections we nurture in our childhood and teen years and if you are one of the lucky people who remains near and close with your childhood friends you will easily note how irreplaceable those special connections are. In childhood and even more so in our teen years school places us in a school environment where we are forced to interact with our peers and in that stage of development, connecting to a community of peers is paramount. The developmental object is to pull away slightly from the primary family and develop close connections with friends, creating a safe sense of belonging. Teens and kids approach the domain of friends with less inhibition and fear of what could go wrong, the younger the child is the more that this is true.
As the years go on, our needs for socializing get side stepped for practical matters such as managing professional life and raising a family. Time really does present barriers as well as our fears and anxieties that prevent us from reaching out and walking up to strangers to start a conversation. If you are reading this article because making friends as an adult has been a challenge for you, then you are likely already familiar with your own list of reasons why you haven’t been able to nurture as many connections as you like. The goal becomes to focus on what can be done to overcome this and with that in mind we can look at the 5 best steps to making more adult friends.
- Get your interests in order, don’t have a hobby yet? Well get one, common interests are a great connecting factor, think about where and how you spend your time, are you a stay at home mom, are you clocking 60 hour work weeks? Do you work out? Do you love puzzles? Think about your unique interests and life and start to think about building community with people who are similar to you.
- Find meet up events, the great blessing to social media and other groups is that they allow us to connect with many others. Meetup is a big favorite, there are also singles groups, friend finders, facebook groups and more.
- Don’t stop with the virtual world, no matter how much facetime and zoom we are doing, there is no replacement for in person connection, create at least one monthly opportunity to attend an in person groups.
- When you are at the event, it is easy to become anxious and psych yourself out before approaching a new person. You might wonder what you can say or fear how you can handle pauses in the conversation, the underlying fear is often that the person will think you are strange or reject you. The most helpful mental reframe you can use is ‘every person there is feeling the same nervousness.’ In fact you can further coax yourself by remembering that you can help someone else to feel less nervous by approaching them first.
- Be the first to follow up! Often we wait for the people we meet to follow up and say how nice it was to meet, we miss connections that way. Always be the first to reach out and bring people together by offering an invitation, that is the secret of super connectors!
Stephanie Wijkstrom, MS, LPC, NCC is a nationally certified counselor and founder of Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh. Stephanie specializes in providing therapy that emphasizes whole person wellness often including mindfulness and other evidence-based practices. She has been featured on local television, radio, and countless articles where she acts as a thought leader on mental health and wellness. Stephanie is a loving wife, an ardent yogi, and a dog mom of two. Stephanie enjoys her daily meditation practice, trying new wellness tips, prancing through the world with belly laughs on her breath.Learn More
8 Signs that Your Relationship will Lead to Marriage
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJuly 12, 2019 conversations for couples, counseling near me, how to tell that your relationship will lead to marriage, marriage and family statistics, premarital counseling near me0 comments
According to the US National Bureau of Family and Marriage Statistics, in 2017 there were 130 million married couples living in the US. Still, not every relationship is going to make it to the altar, it is even true that not every healthy or compatible relationship will have long term potential. The issue is that everyone is looking for something a little different to inspire them to settle down, even if you and your partner might connect well from your perspective, there are other factors which influence the choice to commit deeper. For instance, your partner may not be ready for that commitment or may have a different vision for the kind of relationship that they want. You are likely feeling anxious and wanting some sign to know which direction your partner sees things headed. Here are 8 ways to tell that your partner isn’t that into you.
- Your partner uses “I” instead of “we.” Generally, there is a lot of use of the word ‘we’ when connected partners talk about their life, their past, and their future. If your partner is still using “I” to talk about their 5 year plan they probably aren’t that into you.
- There is a lot of making up and breaking up, or if your relationship is toxic.
- Doesn’t make plans more than a week or few days in advance. If your partner is fairly last minute and doesn’t talk about your summer vacation or what you might do for holiday’s then they are probably not that into you.
- You haven’t met your partners family. Meeting the family is a signal that your partner is invested in making you a part of their life. If you have been together for 6 months or more and haven’t met their family then this guy isn’t all that into you.
- Do you talk/text/communicate every day? If there isn’t daily communication it is likely that your partner may not be very committal or into you.
- Your partner hasn’t posted any pictures with you on social media. Of course we don’t want to define our relationships by how they measure on social media but we do know that partners who are into you enjoy occasionally sharing a photo of them being together on social media.
- Your partner never talks about your marriage and family or a future together. If your partner were open to the idea of marriage or forever together, you would know it because they would mention it. If they don’t discuss the topic ever its probably because it is the furthest thing from their mind.
- If he has never ask whether you’re seeing other people, it might be because they are not that into you. Genders react differently to love, men are wired to feel a sense of protectiveness from a partner who he shares a sexual bond, if his testosterone is coursing in high volume with you, he will want to know that you are not seeing others and if not, your partner isn’t that into you.
- You are under 27 years old. If you are young, the people you are dating are a little less likely to want to get married or be your forever relationship. The lack of long term potential may have nothing to do with you but merely a reality of the numbers with the national average a man marries is 29.8 and for women 27.8, if you are dating earlier than that you are encountering people who are experimenting with relationships.
If you are noticing these signs, the best thing to do is to talk to your partner about them and ask what they think, a good opener is, ‘I have been thinking about you and I and its hard for me to tell where this is going, do you see long term potential between us?’ This might lead to a deep conversation about your partners perspective and take some of the guess work out of your future together. Read here for more premarital questions for couples and intimate questions and conversations.
Gottman Method Marriage Counseling
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 19, 2019 gottman counselor, gottman marriage counseling, gottman method counseling, marriage counseling near me, sound relationship house0 comments
Gottman Method Marriage Counseling
Gottman Method Couples counseling is a form of therapy created by Drs John and Judy Gottman, which aims to support a positive and constructive relationship between two married or dating partners. Gottman method counseling is grounded in research and is proven to be one of the most effective ways to help couples enhance their relationship. The theory identifies the ‘Sound Relationship House’ as the model that helps the marriage counselor and couple conceptualize the parts to their marriage or relationship. The Sound Relationship house includes the following, from the basement up: Love Maps, Shared Fondness and Admiration, Turn Toward instead of Away, The Positive Perspective, Managing Conflict, Make life Dreams Come True, Shared Meaning and the two walls of the Sound relationship house: Trust and Commitment. Let us examine each of these components to your relationship house.
Love Maps denotes the amount of cognitive space that our partner takes up in our thoughts. When we spend time talking with our partner we generally can stay in tune with what is important to them including their interests and people close to them. Often in the beginning of a relationship there is a lot of time spent on getting to know our partner. Love Maps need to be continually updated and this only happens with shared time and connection.
Shared Fondness and Admiration All of our relationships are a mirror of ourselves. When we notice that we or our partner doesn’t respect, admire, or care for us, we both start to feel poorly about ourselves as well as the relationship. Healthy relationships are full of respect and care that are exhibited and practiced on a daily basis. We have many ways to express fondness and admiration, including the love languages of Verbal Affirmations, Physical intimacy, Time Spent, Acts of Service, and Gifts. Fondness is expressed in what we say and do as well as how we say and do it.
Turning Toward instead of Away Couples make bids for each other’s attention and time regularly when they are in love. It is important to analyze how each person is responding to the bids by either turning toward it in acceptance, turning away, or even turning against. The Gottmans recommend a 5:1 ratio of turning toward each others bids for every one time in a day we turn away. A bid might be, “look out the window honey, the sun is so beautiful right now!” If Johnny the husband accepts that bid by saying, “oh yes, it is beautiful.’ Then Sandy the wife feels connected, understood and pleased that she has shared a marriage moment with her husband. If instead Johnny the husband says, ‘Why are you bothering me?” That bid has instead been turned against. If Johnny the husband doesn’t respond that is an example of turning away. Everyone will miss some bids sometimes, but healthy relationships accept five bids for each one they miss. Turning against bids has predictive value to divorce according to the Gottmans’ research.
The Positive Perspective A Gottman Method Couples Counselor is always analyzing whether a relationship is in a negative or positive perspective. This is really the color of the fabric of the relationship, the perceptual lens through which our partner’s behavior is viewed. When we are in positive sentiment overload, everything our partner does is cute, loveable, and easily accepted as well as overlooked. Conversely, Negative Sentiment overload is when we believe that everything our partner does is evidence of their failing or lack of caring. Think about your partner being 10 minutes late for dinner. In positive sentiment overload we would think, ‘I hope she is ok, I know how much she would want to be here on time.’ In the same scenario if we were in negative sentiment overload, we would think, “What a clown, she never takes anything seriously and is late all the time!” Perception is the foundation of our thoughts and feelings, and they contribute to our response to our partner which also contributes to their response to us.
Managing Conflict Every form of couples therapy should help the couple learn to manage conflict if those skills are not already in place. Conflict is one of the most common reasons that a couple decides to enter counseling.
Making Life Dreams Come True The best and most healthy relationships allow us to have a balanced and peaceful sentiment from which dreams and goals are born. When our partner is on our side, they collaborate with us to make personal and shared dreams happen. Conversely when we feel that our partner has different dreams and goals or is non-supportive of ours, little bits of those dreams and our love for our partner can begin to erode.
Shared Meaning Do you feel that you and your partner are on the same page and moving in the same direction, do you share friends, do you have rituals that help you move through time together like a weekend retreat? How do you continue to connect with your partner over the years?
Trust and Commitment In the Sound Relationship House, all of the preceding points serve as layers to the house, with the bottom ones needing to be in place before moving on to the next level. Trust and Commitment are the walls and without the walls to a house, even the strongest foundation will not make a safe home. Trust is more than trusting that your partner is honest and monogamous or non-monogamous if that is what is agreed upon, it is faith in consistent reliability. Commitment is equally important. If the relationship uses tactics of holding the relationship hostage by threatening to leave, it is difficult to have trust in the commitment. Both parts are necessary to open up, feel safe, and stay motivated to care for each other.
Just like with the house or home that you live in, your relationship requires consistent care and attention to become the best version of itself. When we care for our home and our love, it cares in return by providing safety, warmth, and can become a place of magic which is worth every bit of time that we put into it.
How to Get Started
If you’re interested in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, you can reach us at 412-322-2129 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. Or contact us here.Learn More
Relationship Wellness Checklist, A Mindful Marriage Moment
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghApril 16, 2018 counseling, marriage counseling, mindfulness0 comments
Relationship Wellness Checklist, A Mindful Marriage Moment
Marriage, relationships, couple-dom, all forms of interpersonal dynamics work based upon unstated rules, we peacefully and automatically operate with a lifetime of typical exchanges. Some moments are peppered with glimmers of joy, one part emotional support, heaps of memories made, when we are being good stewards of love we dutifully maintain our promises for commitment. How to maintain contented connections with our loved ones isn’t usually a goal that we think about until something starts to go wrong. We know that to keep our minds, bodies, and spirits healthy, mindfulness holds the keys to happiness and longevity. The wellness model has useful applications to marriage counseling and couples therapy, we have compiled a 5-part relationship wellness checklist – lets take a moment to see how well your relationship makes the grade.
- Do you disagree and air grievances with your partner? By disagreeing, we mean constructively having a discussion about things that are bothering you within the relationship. One very ominous behavior pattern is when a couple comes in for therapy and tells the therapist or counselor that they never argue. We know that this is usually a sign of relationship disease. In this situation, it is likely that one or both partners are withholding vital information and may even be passive aggressive and building resentment by not discussing their true feelings. This communication fallacy is a product of imagining that by not being open about annoyances that they are preserving their bond. Withholding feelings and missing chances to constructively manage disagreements is a relationship destroyer and leads to emotional disengagement in the long term.
- Does your relationship have intimacy? The concept and behaviors associated with intimacy are multifaceted. Intimacy is a dynamic synergy of emotional trust, physical connection, and having shared meaning within the relationship. Intimacy is built over time and is facilitated through travailing joys and difficulties together for example, by exhibiting the ability to offer emotional support through a crisis.
- Do you check in with each other through the day? Many of us have demanding jobs and schedules, even having to endure travel to maintain our work responsibilities. Yet, our cell phones and Skype provide us with a chance to tighten the chasm of disconnection by having some face-time, texting, or calls through the day. It is important to turn toward our partner to share highlights and check in, and this characteristic is something that healthy relationships do have in common. Alternately, this doesn’t mean to call every hour and lapse into conflict if our relationship is not experiencing as much face-time as we would like. We should highlight that checking in, is a natural response to feeling connected and participating in the intimacy of our friendship with our partner.
- Is there sexual and non-sexual touching between you and your partner? Both forms of touch are very important in our relationships, while many couples go through periods of lower sexual frequency, they stay connected by touching, hand holding and having other forms of non-sexual touch. Both forms, sexual and non-sexual touch are equally vital for our sense of well-being and bonding. Keeping in mind, consensual intimate touch provides a cascade of hormonal responses, releasing Oxytocin which is dubbed the cuddle hormone and facilitates bonding.
- Who do you turn to for support? Can you name 5 people? Is your partner one of those people? If your partner is not one of the top 5 people who you turn to for support, your relationship may be headed for trouble and this is an indication signaling that your relationship may be prey to a deeper issue worth exploring with a marriage counselor or couples therapist.
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