"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Darrell Royal
Question #92487 posted on 07/29/2019 9:38 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Every once in a while, I'll want to hang out with a single person really badly, all the time, for at least a few days or up to a few weeks. And it's not necessarily correlated with a crush or anything either -- I just want to be with one specific friend. The thing is, whenever this happens, I feel really lonely unless I'm with that one specific person. And that's kind of the worst, because:

1) I usually end up doing things with other people during that time period that I would normally be really excited about, but instead I find myself not really wanting to be around my other friends. That's not good for anyone, even if I'm trying my best not to show it.
2) I tend to clear my schedule, even if it's inconvenient, just in case I get the chance to be with this one friend -- but, in the interest of not being Clingy and Annoying, I don't actually reach out and ask them to hang out with me every time I clear my schedule. This results in a lot of time spent laying in my bed, bring unproductive, and feeling like I don't have any friends, even though I do!

I just found myself in one of these periods again. If you were in this situation, (and trust me, I fully recognize it to be a weird and unreasonable situation), what would you do about it?

-Yikes

A:

Yikes,

It's such an interesting way of wanting to connect, that any advice I give is a guess. 

In terms of scheduling/ navigating one of these periods: I would stop clearing your schedule for the chance to see your friend. Actually set up interesting things to do for your friend to come to. That way they are more likely to come and you are more likely to have fun whether they come or not. It's scary to invite people to things, especially when you don't know where you stand with them. But everyone is insecure and hoping people will notice them, so it's very likely your friend will feel good that you invited them, even if they don't end up coming. They probably won't think you're being clingy or annoying, especially if it's a fun activity. 

In terms of understanding this phenomena long-term: Maybe do some self-reflection and try and figure out why you attach this way. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but it could be the result of deeper unmet needs and it could help you to identify them. I do my best self-assessment when I'm in the middle of the phenomena, so take advantage of the opportunity. Take inventory of the feelings you're having, try to follow it to the source, and figure out what need you're trying to fill (and why you only feel that need periodically. Is there a trigger?) I think a lot of times when we have emotions we think are irrational (such as loneliness or strong spontaneous attachment) our brain/heart/whatever is trying to tell us it what it needs.

So take a listen. Maybe you find that what you really want is one constant companion, in the form of a best friend or significant other. It may be that you actually crave a tight-knit group and you're trying to bring one together. It may be that you're trying to avoid thinking about something else in your life that stresses you out. Could be anything. But I think you are the most qualified to figure it out. A licensed counselor could also help you name what you're feeling and ask the right questions. There is no shame in getting help to figure out your emotional behavior. There's no four foot sign at the clinic saying "You must be this distressed to have a therapist." So you could consider talking to someone about it. 

Best of luck!

Babalugats

A:

Dear friend,

It sounds like those bouts are really tough for you. As I understand it, during those times, you crave interaction with those specific friends because of how they make you feel or because of the unique connection that you two have in particular. While I can't fully empathize, I know that I can empathize with feeling lonely and wanting to be doing something worthwhile, but not being able to do it. In those moments, I feel overwhelmed because I just want to function normally but can't. Some of the things that I'm doing that help me are maintaining a good social support structure, meeting with a therapist, and working on specific habits.

Social support for me has meant trying to be open with my friends and family, and finding a way to touch base about once a week. I'm the kind of person who has just a few, close friends, and so I make sure that I'm doing things with them. I usually plan to go to lunch or meet up to go somewhere with each of them weekly. It's good for me to have time to talk with them so we can work through anything that's going on in our lives and still have time to shoot the breeze. I also call my family a lot and ask for help. It's sometimes hard to start a conversation about struggles you are going through, but it's important to get the care that you need. Sometimes, I don't even have a good reason to call, but I try to reach out and see if they have anything to offer. For you, I would suggest being open with a few people about what you're going through and try to let them help you out. 

Meeting with a therapist for me is almost a must. Even though sometimes the things we talk about don't have a direct effect in my life, the meetings force me to be honest with myself about how I'm doing and brainstorm ways that I can improve. Finding the right therapist is crucial here, since you'll want to find someone who validates your struggles and someone that you feel understands you and has confidence in their being able to help you. If you can't find these things, then you can always ask the therapist if there's anyone else in the office that might be a better fit for you. Having the right therapist can be life-changing. My brother recommended cognitive behavioral therapy for me for some of the things I'm going through, and it sounds like that might help you, too. This therapy is focused on helping people "become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so [they] can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way" (source). You can do some research and see if that kind of therapy would help, but definitely explore your options, especially with CAPS and the therapy offered at BYU Comprehensive Clinic (aka the John Taylor building, the one across the street from the Creamery on 9th). BYU students are fortunate to have some therapy available to them, but you might also want to look off campus, depending on the kind of help you are able to find there.

Finding good habits helps me deal with my problems more long-term. I find that for me, being able to function is largely dependent on what time I am trying to get things done, how much sleep I get, and how much exercise I do. I know myself well enough to know that if I stay up after midnight, I will probably will not do very well the next day, and if I get less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep a few days in a row, I probably will fall asleep at some point during the day and my productivity will be shot. Exercise also gives me a lot of energy, and as much as I don't like it, I usually am able to work a lot more effectively on school stuff before noon. Figuring out how do deal with your bouts when they come and possibly even figuring out why they happen will help you be less distracted by them. Also, I would urge you to combat your urges when they come. Work to push back against thoughts and impulses that you don't want in your life. For me, it's sometimes stressful and difficult to go to the gym in the morning, but when I try to actively push back against those feelings and work through my stress to help myself go, it builds my mental strength to continue to do hard things. This won't work for every feeling that you want to push out of your life, but you deserve to be in control of your life, and working on pushing against thoughts and feelings that negatively impact you can go a long way.

tl;dr find people who can support you, get a therapist, figure out what works for you to do to function, and fight against intrusive thoughts and impulses

Best of luck on your journey,

-Inklings