“i stopped partying and now 70 percent of my friends are uninterested in hanging out with me. what should i do?”
when i was in graduate school, i got sober in an effort to improve my mental health. i didn’t struggle with addiction but at the same time maintaining my sobriety was important to me. this turned out to be an insanely annoying endeavor that amounted to me doing very little with my nights. in our society, it really feels like you’re either sober because you have to be, or you drink. i learned a few things:
first off, drinking and drugs are still, for the most part, a nighttime affair so if your friends are particularly annoying about their partying, catching them during the day can be a nice way to avoid this issue. at the very least, most people pace themselves while the sun is up.
the biggest thing, however, to understand about this issue is that people drink—mostly—because they’re bored. when people get drunk, things tend to happen—drama, make-out sessions, fast-food binges. if you take the settings people drink in and remove the drinking, there’s not a lot of room for that stuff. if i’m sober in the backseat of a car, suddenly that Crunch Wrap Supreme is just calories i don’t need. that annoying thing my friend keeps doing is just a conversation we need to have instead of a shouting match. everything is just… normal.
my solution? don’t do normal things. go climb a rock or race a go-kart or scuba dive or laser tag or anything that require some semblance of brain power—preferably something with a little danger involved. your friends are likely in a routine with drinking so you’ll have to do a bit of work planning and pitching an evening like this but chances are, at least a few of your friends are bored enough of the routine to back your play on it.
"'how soon is “too soon” to start seeing someone after a break-up?”
there’s really no such thing as a “typical breakup” just as there’s no such thing as a “typical relationship”. every person in the world is a collection a million unique features, opinions, and idiosyncrasies; and a relationship takes two of those collections and meshes them together, creating millions more. so instead of thinking of this question as a question of time, let’s look at it as a question of conditions: “what needs to happen after a breakup before I can see someone else?”
sometimes the “work” of a breakup is done long before the breakup even happens. some relationships cool off. people stop fighting. and then they stop talking. and they just coexist until one of them shrugs and says, i guess we should break up. in this case, the connection between the two people was broken before the relationship ended.
other times, relationships end in big ugly crying fights followed by long bouts of drinking and strippers and—i’m projecting, sorry. the point is, sometimes a relationship ends before the connection between the two people is broken. this creates a “wound” of sorts and that “wound” needs time to heal. these are the breakups that people need a break after—or sometimes a rebound (though that can be a tacky thing to do to someone…).
but realistically, we don’t get to choose when we meet the person we want to date. forcing yourself not to date someone you really like because the timing doesn’t feel right is a level of discipline many of us don’t have—and maybe there’s a good reason for that. we’re here to live our lives and do our best to be happy and connecting with someone on a real level requires a lot of things to go right.
is it possible that this person just feels right because they’re different from the person that was wrong—or because they keep you from thinking about that person? sure, it’s possible—and you might not even be able to tell. so what should you do?
you should be honest with the new person. don’t drone on about your ex by any means, but make sure that this person knows you’re coming from something else—something else that’s fresh—and let them decide if it’s worth the risk.
“how do i ask my boyfriend to spend more time with me without seeming needy?”
first off, ask yourself, is he making you feel needy or are you being needy? are we trying to add time onto every day or are we just trying to bump it up to more than once a week? this question is, unfortunately, going to be one of those questions where i have to give out some tough love…
there’s no universal model for a “healthy” relationship—instead there are a collection of factors that should line up relatively well between two people to create a relationship that satisfies both of them. and the time spent together is a huge one. some people are very invested in their careers or hobbies and for those people, an ideal relationship consists of seeing their partner once a week or less. for others, frequent romance and intimacy are very important—their ideal relationship involves being attached at the hip. neither of these things are wrong or unhealthy but if you’ve got one of these people with the opposite kind… well, someone is always going to end up unhappy.
i think it’s a bad sign that you’re worried about seeming “needy” in this negotiation. open communication is always important when it comes to the fundamental aspects of a relationship (which, as i’ve said, time spent together definitely falls under). if you’re feeling negatively about how you’ll be perceived for asking for what you need from a partner, you need to then ask yourself if this is coming from you or the way your partner treats you. while it’s true that you won’t always (or really ever) get everything you need from a relationship, it is important to feel like you’re being heard by your partner—that they’re making some effort to meet your needs. if your partner is making you feel negatively about expressing and trying to have these needs met, it may be a sign that your partner isn’t a good fit.