Hi, welcome to Talk Rx with Doctor Neha. This week I received a letter from Joan in Colorado, and she wants to know how she can help her friend. Her question is, “Doctor Neha, my friend is always going on dates. I think she’s subscribed to every dating app there is, but she says she has a hard time trusting other people and taking risks in relationship. Isn’t this what relationships are all about? Inevitably, things fall apart after two or three dates, and then I have to hear about it again. Can you help me help her?”
This is a great question. Ah, love…the thing that books and movies are made of. First of all, your noble intention to help your friend is lovely. But before you help him or her, you want to ask yourself how your own love life is going first. Because sometimes it’s a lot easier to focus on other people’s lives than it is to focus on what’s going on in our own. That is the first question I’d ask you.
Next, you mentioned your friend values relationships and wants to have a relationship but seems to be falling into the same trap over and over. Your friend said that he or she doesn’t trust other people and won’t risk in a relationship. That’s the crux of what I’m hearing in this question. Each of us can make an excuse and say, “I don’t trust someone else, that’s why I don’t get into a relationship,” but the truth is that this person doesn’t trust themselves to navigate the relationship or if they get hurt. They don’t trust themselves to handle what comes next. That’s really what’s going on here.
Relationships are uncertain; you have to take risks. We don’t know how things are going to turn out, and we’re risking the most precious thing we have: our hearts. This is a normal and common question. The answer is a little bit harder, and it comes from asking, “How do I then learn to trust myself?”
One of the ways that I’ve learned how to do this is by learning effective communication: my ability to know what’s happening in my body, understand my thoughts, navigate my emotions even when they’re strong, know what I want, and then be able to take the action to ask for what I want or know when what I value doesn’t align with what someone else values. For me, communication has given me this freedom.
Listen, you might consider getting a copy of Talk Rx for you and your friend. It offers a number of tools that will help you learn how to trust yourself, how to be courageous, and how to navigate your own body and communication with others.
So the next time this person tells you that he or she is not able to trust other people, that’s actually not what’s happening. What’s happening in some way, shape, or form, this person doesn’t feel like they can trust themselves to continue. They might be even self-sabotaging their relationships. I don’t know enough about it to give you those details, but stay curious and hopefully you’ll both figure it out.
Send me your questions — drop me a tweet at #AskDoctorNeha or write your question and comments down below.