Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April and Spring Break (Plus Dr. Pete's Social Advice)

So it's now April, and I'm on spring break once again. It feels quite nice to get a week of "me" time even if it is not paid. How productive have I been? Laughably un-productive.

I do have lots of boring, boring junk to work on tonight, so that will keep me busy.

I've been keeping myself quite busy with friends lately, which I am really proud of myself for doing. My recently expanded amount of "me" time has given me a golden opportunity to re-connect with some old friends and even make a few new ones. I'm quite thankful for this as it had been a while since I had done any real social-sphere expansion.

When one loses the bubble of comfort that a long-term relationship provides, you are then forced to make your own plans. It's not a given that you will have quality social interaction, which especially for people in long-distance relationships who don't get to see their signifigant other often, is paramount. One often doesn't grasp just how important the friendships you have are, and after a traumatic separation just how heavily you rely on these friends to give you emotional and social support in your recovery.

I would encourage anyone in a long-distance relationship to make time for your friends, real time. Not just lunch once a month or something. I know you need to see your signifigant other too and talk to them. I'm assuming you already do this rather easily so there's no need for change. However, how many evenings or weekends do you sit around kinda mopey? Nothing to do? Call someone, anyone. Make plans, even if it is just someone coming over to watch the game or a movie. You'll be a far more mentally healthy person, and it will actually help your relationship.

What if your signifigant other dislikes your friends or feels uncomfortable with your hanging out with members of the opposite sex not in their presence? What if they yell at you and use bully-ish tactics to dissuade you from going out? I've seen this way too often, and it really kills the victim. Yes, I refer to the person who's social life is being held hostage a victim. Now, maybe the "victim" in question is a habitual cheater? True, there are grey areas to this scenario. However, if the victim is this un-faithful that it makes the relationship such a hell, why are you dating him/her?! If you cannot trust your signifigant other around members of the opposite sex when you're not present, don't even think about marriage.

I've seen people go turtle who are in a long distance relationship and rarely ever talk to friends. Don't be the turtle, you have a responsibility to yourself and your mental health to have social contact. It will help all aspects of your life, from mood to your performance at work.

The doctor is now out.

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