Struggling to make and keep friends in a new city

Dear Annie: I have a friend, “Donna,” who lives in another state. We’ve been friends for three years. Due to past trauma of being cheated on, I have trust issues, not just in relationships but friendships as well. I’ve damaged and even lost a few friends because of these issues.

Donna is an introvert and doesn’t want to talk all the time. I’m more extroverted. When she says she can’t or doesn’t want to talk, I have doubts about our friendship and it causes fights between us. It hurts because I know she’s a true friend, but I struggle to bring myself to trust her because I think about what I’ve experienced before.

Truth be told, ever since I moved, I’ve missed having a true friend who’s close by. Making friends where I moved to has been a struggle. I’ve tried counseling, but it is expensive. I want to go, but affording it is a challenge. I dislike where I moved from but miss the hell out of my friend. Please help. — Lonely in Wyoming

Dear Lonely: Don’t take Donna’s introversion too personally. Everyone has different communication styles, and just because yours don’t exactly match doesn’t mean she doesn’t still love and value your friendship. Let her know how much you miss her and how you’ve been struggling in isolation after your move. Suggest that you set a standing date — once a week or every other — for a phone call or FaceTime to catch up and keep in touch.

As for settling in in your new city, put your extroversion into volunteering, joining a club or hitting some local scenes to meet people who share your interests. There might also be online therapy or low-cost counseling near you that’s more affordable than the options you’ve already looked into. Remember that growth takes time. Be gentle with yourself.

Dear Annie: I wanted to take a moment and let you know how much I enjoy your column; I think you give the best responses to your readers. I do not have a question, but rather some valuable advice for your readers. You see, I grew up in a home with a toxic marriage modeled by my parents. I remember being about 10 when my mom found out about my dad’s affair and we rode around with a baseball bat, searching for the “other woman.”

Fast forward, they just celebrated 50 years together, and my dad calls me complaining about my mom, and my mom calls me complaining about my dad. I am frankly TIRED of it. If you are in a bad marriage, consider this your approval to end it. I married a man who my counselor said was cut from the same cloth as my mom. It is true! We model and are drawn to it and don’t even realize it.

My mom always taught me that you stay no matter what. I am about to graduate college and will be a social worker. I am so excited to empower/teach others to end what does not serve them. Love is not enduring unlimited abuse, and you don’t get a trophy for the years you stay. This really damages the children; they typically grow up modeling the same stuff they’ve seen, and when you put them in the middle, it sucks! The more I heal, the more dysfunction I see. — Willing to Walk

Dear Willing: Thank you for your letter and wise words. I’m sorry to hear about all the traumas you’ve experienced but am glad they have given you such a strong sense of self-worth and awareness of what you deserve. I agree it’s so important to protect ourselves, our mental peace and overall well-being. Here’s to letting go of the things that do not serve us.


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