Alone in the big city
I am an 18-year-old girl who has recently moved from Bangalore to Mumbai to pursue my further studies. I am not able to adjust properly and due to this I am unable to make any new friends. I can’t concentrate on my studies either. Because of this I have lost interest in my daily activities and I feel sad and lonely most of the times. What could I do so that I make new friends and I can feel comfortable and adjusted again?
Ans: I understand that moving to a new environment must be overwhelming. But any new environment feels unsettling to begin with as it is stepping out of your comfort zone. Now in order to feel as being a part of the environment, approaching people in your class without a set agenda of making friends out of all is essential. Once the pressure is off, you might find it to be easier to hold a conversation with them and realise for yourself who you are comfortable with in order to be friends. The comfort and adjustment will follow once you feel less pressurised to settle within a given timeline.
Lost interest in girls
I am a 17-year-old boy currently studying in 12th grade in a school. I have noticed that I don’t feel and look at girls the same way my other friends do. I have been feeling this way since a few years now, but I have never told anyone about this. All my friends tease me and call me names. I have tried talking to my parents about this, but they too have told me that this isn’t right. I feel suffocated and I don’t know what to do. What could I do so that my friends and family accept me for who I like, because I don’t want to lose my friends and family?
Ans: The inner turmoil is quite palpable in your narration. I get where this need for validation and approval and acceptance might be stemming from. However, the first person to give validation to self is ‘you’. Once you have complete understanding of your likes and preferences others simply have to be made aware about the same. Their acceptance will definitely make you feel relieved, at the same time the suffocated feeling you mentioned will do no good to anyone. Psycho-education by some professional could be of help to you as s/he can work with your family and friends in order to understand you better.
A father’s woes
I am a 35-year-old single working mother of two children. Due to the situation at home, I am forced to work both the day and night shift and because of this I barely get any time with my children. My children are 13 and 10 years. Lately, both of them have stopped talking to me whenever I am home and show disinterest in whatever I say. They feel I am not there for them and I am always at work. How do I make them understand that I love them, I care and I want to be there for them but I can’t due to the current situation?
Ans: Your kids seem perceptive as they are able to gauge that you are not able to spend quality time with them and hence don’t know much about their lives. Deep down they know that you love them hence the effort here to be made is to make some time available in your schedule to spend with them doing things that they would like. Simple errands at home like cooking a meal can also be made fun and done together. They need your presence more than your assurance that you love them. Thus, taking out some time out of the schedule could help mend the relationship.
The career conflict
I am a 16-year-old boy who just finished with my 10th grade board exams. Having received my grades and excelling in them, my parents are pressurising me to pursue science as they want me to join my father’s business as a chemical engineer. I have no interest in science and I want to pursue literature. I don’t want to disappoint my parents as they have done a lot for me, but I don’t want to let go of my dream either. I am very confused having to choose between what to study further. What can I do so that I don’t have to choose between my parents and my studies, because I am facing a lot of stress right now?
Ans: Often we misunderstand our parents as being non-understanding or inflexible by simply basing our conclusions on their side of conversations. In order to make a choice here, assertively telling them that pursuing science is not only your disinterest, but somewhere the required knack for it might be missing as well if forced to take up a subject that you are not keen on. Your interest in literature has to be conveyed to your parents in a way that doesn’t put down their choice of subject, but helps them understand that your interest, personality as well as aptitude all of these are in sync.