There are lots of things that are posted on here that may be issues I am struggling with myself. This happens to be one of them. It is a very interesting dilemma that was brought to my attention by both a coworker and a very good friend. Who do you talk to when you are feeling bad, anxious or nervous about something in your life? Do you have a few certain people you confide in? Perhaps you just write in a journal. let me tell you what I do. The reason I am sharing this is so you will not do it as well. Most people see me as the guy that is “happy all the time” first of all that is not exactly true which is an issue we discussed in the post titled ‘frequently asked question’. The fact remains that shockingly I live in the real world too and sometimes it just sucks. not very inspiring I realize, but true. So what does Neil do when I am in a bad mood? Well the thought process in my head, which can be scary at times, goes something like this. “I’m the guy that likes to make everybody happy, but now I am not happy” “well, you can’t be the person who makes everyone unhappy and brings them down” “maybe you should just not be around people until you are happy again” Let me tell you this is really the wrong way to handle things for several reasons. There are a lot of people who say “I prefer to handle problems on my own” That statement is an excuse. what it usually translates to is “I’m afraid to make myself vulnerable and let other people see me when I am hurting” or in my case and several other giving people I know “Everybody is dealing with their own problems I don’t want to be a ‘Debbie downer'” it is true that nobody enjoys being around somebody who is always down. It is also true that everybody has bad days. When you are more of a giver you tend to see other people’s problems greater than your own. I remember a situation when I stopped myself from sharing why I was having a bad day because of work issues with a friend of mine because they had just broken up with their boyfriend which I figured was truly more painful than what I was going through. I didn’t want to ‘bother’ my friend with my little problem. Then I heard a story about two guys going out for dinner and one fellow who was a little better off refusing to let the other fellow buy. While he felt he was being considerate he forgot to think about how his actions may affect the other man. “How dare you!” yelled the second man. He felt he was being deprived of the honor of treating his friend for dinner. The other man was thinking that since he had more money he would just pay. Unfortunately this only accentuated the other person’s financial situation. it made him feel like he was taking advantage of the fact that his friend had more money. Obviously this was not the first man’s intent at all. I must confess again, I can be guilty of this very crime. When your behavior tends to lean toward being a giver it can be hard to receive yet by graciously receiving a gift from someone with gratitude you are also giving that person a feeling of joy from giving as well. This was a material example, but the same holds true for what this post is really about. Sharing things that may be bothering you. When you keep problems bottled up inside you are depriving your friends of the feeling of being helpful, needed and a valuable friend. Of course that is not our intent, we just do not want to add to their list of things to worry about or be concerned about. Yet, it conveys a feeling of trust, closeness and demonstrates you either value their opinion or just their ability to listen. Now do not get me wrong, sometimes some solitude and time to think come in handy. As does writing in a journal which we discussed last week. But let us remember we must all be a giver and a receiver. When someone never is allowed to help you they may feel uncomfortable sharing their problems with you out of fear of the friendship being one-sided which will only lead to a distance between friends and a weakening of the friendship. Remember sometimes receiving help can be giving a gift to those who offer it. When you accept that gift whether it be dinner, or just the gift of their time with gratitude and humility you are creating a win/win situation and bringing the friendship closer together. So next time I am having a problem I think I will reread this email and do a little better at receiving.