I've been reading a few of the letters here for awhile, hoping to find something that might be similar to my issue, but nothing seems really to be close to the case. Hopefully this won't seem like a laundry list of problems, as you say, as it all ties into one thing.
Recently, I've been feeling really depressed, and burnt out. I haven't really had the will to do much of anything, even play video games (which for me is a huge thing). Anyway, I used to be part of this group of friends online, and all of a sudden they all seem to slowly be avoiding me. At first I thought it was because I was being too flirty with my boyfriend, since our relationship is still new and it made me happy, however that doesn't seem to be the case.
After struggling to get a reply, I was told that it was because I was too negative of a person and it was pushing everyone away. I now feel even worse because I never meant to be negative at all and I never wanted to push anyone away. It feels at this point that my boyfriend is the only one who'll really talk to me and I feel really lonely. My mood's taken a huge dive and I've even considered self harm a couple times, though I've never gone through with it.
I just wish I knew how I could fix things with everyone and set everything right. I miss talking to my friends and contrary to the saying, this snow leopard wants to change his spots.
Thanks for listening in advance,
Vemus (age 22)
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What you’re experiencing is very human. The human condition demands contact with our fellow beings, and without that we do, indeed, become very depressed. This is why I consider solitary confinement a cruel and unusual punishment that should be against the law. But I digress.
What you need is to make a fresh start (change your spots, as you say). And to regain the trust and friendship of your peers, you’re going to need to go an extra mile. I am not judging you on what may or may not have been your previous behavior, but if you’re losing a lot of friends who seem to hold a consensus as to why they have abandoned you, then that’s a pretty good indication that you were doing something, however unintentionally, to evoke that response.
My suggestion to you is this: It’s too easy to type an email or post on a furry social site that you are sorry and want your friends back. They need to see a little effort on your part. Go out to your local dollar store and buy a bunch of greeting cards. They can be “I’m Sorry” cards, or you can buy blank cards and put it in your own words. Write each and every one of the people you care about a hand-written note. Tell them (as I understand it) that you didn’t realize you were being so negative. That you value their friendships and you are making a sincere effort to be a more upbeat and positive person.
In the cards, include invitations to those friends who you feel are close enough to come to your place for a party. Do not make it potluck! Ack! Provide a nice spread and something entertaining to do together, such as playing D&D or video games together. For those who are farther away who can’t make such a party, do something special for them. Perhaps a small gift in the mail that says they are special to you.
This doesn’t always work (depends on the person), but for those who have a good heart it should help a lot. Follow up this initial gesture of good will by working to make yourself a more positive person. Post positive, life-affirming comments on FurAffinity, Facebook, etc. Now, this isn’t about being fake and insincere; it is actually both therapy for you and a way to show your friends you are making a new start. It is the former because studies show that if we start saying and doing positive things in our life, it actually does have an effect on our perspective and makes us more positive people. In addition to acting and saying positive things, do your best to surround yourself with positive things and people.
I have a dear friend named Motoko who is such a person. No matter what happens to her, she always turns it into a positive. For instance, a while ago she started falling (she’s an elderly woman) and realized she could no longer take care of herself in her own home, so she moved to a senior center. Now, many people would be depressed by this, but not Motoko. She gave her home to one of her children, seeing that as a huge positive, and saw the senior home as an opportunity to make new friends, which she has in droves.
Like her, you should seek to see the positive in all things (something the bear is at times neglectful of doing, I fear, but when I follow my own advice I do feel better).
The other thing you can do that can help is diet and exercise. Studies have shown that eating healthier foods like fresh fruits and veggies can lift your mood. A diet rich in Omega-3’s and probiotic foods (e.g., salmon and yogurt) is excellent for you, and exercise will make you feel better. When we feel physically better, this also has a strong effect on our mood!
So, really, we are talking here of a two-punch strategy: 1) making amends with your furiends in a way that you put some effort into it to show you mean it; and 2) do things to actually improve your mood and perspective on life.
Putting those together should help a lot. You probably won’t regain all your friends at once, but I would be surprised if you didn’t mend any fences. It might be a slow process, but you can do it! Remember, think positive!
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