Everyone needs therapy, but not everyone can afford it. And even if you live in a country with free healthcare (love you, NHS), the waiting lists can be interminable.
In the meantime, here are 7 articles I come back to again and again for the internet equivalent of talk therapy. Bookmark this post, and always be that friend with the great advice.
“When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!””
Coffee with someone you’re not really interested in. A favour for a friend you keep putting off. Hell, maybe even your entire life situation right now. When you consider your decisions in terms of “anything other than a ‘hell yes’ is a no,” everything becomes very clear, very quickly.
Next time you get offered something you don’t really want, don’t say yes and then backtrack. If you don’t find yourself saying “hell yes,” say “no thanks” and move on to something you really want.
“In life, you usually don’t get good at something until you’ve done it a bunch of times. Unfortunately, not many people have a chance to be in more than a few, if any, serious relationships before they make their big decision”
Wait But Why is one of the best sites on the internet for deep-dives into things you really should think about, but really don’t. Like how much of your life is actually left, why you’re unhappy, and why you’re reading this instead of meeting that deadline.
But this one is my all-time favourite. It’s a two-parter on how to know when you’ve actually found someone you can be with in the long term. No fairytales, no movies, just the truth. Whether you’re single, married, cohabiting or confused, you need this.
“Eventually you take it for granted that working around this guy is just a fact of life, and if he hurts someone, that’s the fault of whoever didn’t apply the workarounds correctly.”
The Pervocracy absolutely nails the dynamics that develop around a shitty person in the community / family / friendship group when everyone takes the route of least resistance and just sort of… steps over them.
If nothing else, it’ll make you feel less insane.
“Dealing with the effects of social fallacies is an essential part of managing one’s social life among geeks, and this is much easier when one is aware of them and can identify which of your friends carry which fallacies.”
Geeky friendship groups have their own topography, distinct from other kinds, and sometimes that’s not such a good thing. This perennially-accurate post breaks down the unspoken rules of geeky friendship groups and explains why they’re actually BS.
5. Grey rocking
“When the narcissist is trying to get information from you or is love bombing or trying to hoover you, what you do is talk about something boring, like the weather, or how much your car needs an oil change, or how expensive milk is these days.”
We all have people in our lives that we’d rather not have to deal with. The grey rock approach gives you an easy-to-follow method for interacting with them without giving them the drama they seek. Whether it’s an abusive ex, a judgemental relative or a terrible coworker, become a grey rock and watch them move onto a juicier target.
If you want to gamify it a bit, I quite enjoy coming up with the dullest topics the world has ever seen. Think manufacturing processes, prices of things relative to what they used to be, or long, meandering anecdotes that go nowhere. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time…
“I remember my wife often saying how exhausting it was for her to have to tell me what to do all the time. It’s why the sexiest thing a man can say to his partner is “I got this,” and then take care of whatever needs taken care of.”
A perfect summary of how tiny relationship problems can chip away into unfixable cracks. It’s not about the dishes, it’s about the disrespect.
See also the amazing emotional labour cartoon, “You should’ve asked.”
“I asked her what her secret was, and she said something that would change my professional life as a writer: “Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too.””
A better way of looking at trying and ‘failing’. If this strikes a chord with you, you might also enjoy Jia Jiang’s excellent book ‘Rejection Proof‘, about getting rejected for everything from doughnuts to dates.
Know a friend who could do with some help? Share this post and give them a leg-up.