Module 11: Opening Up to Others

Who do I talk to?

If you don’t have a partner, family member or friend to talk to then there are organisations who can help. Stop It Now! offers free confidential advice and support for people who are concerned about their sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviours. You can also get counselling via your GP or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  

How do I talk about my feelings?

Some emotions are more difficult to express than others. Negative ones can often be harder to express but there are ways to make it easier.

Setting the scene - Location is important. You want somewhere that offers privacy; you want to have the time to discuss the situation and how you feel, possibly on neutral territory. For example you might choose a quiet corner of a café on an afternoon when you have plenty of time.

Self-talk – Use positive self-talk to help yourself calm down and build your confidence to talk about your feelings. If you are unsure what positive self-talk is then read the self-talk section.

 

They are my friend; they care about me and want to hear how I feel. They will be happy to be able to help me.

It can be really helpful to plan out what you want to say to someone and how you are going to say it. You don’t want to plan out the whole conversation (as you need to be able to respond to what the other person says) but it can be helpful to have an opening line.

Feeling lonely illustration

What if they are causing the problem?

If your feelings stem from the other person’s behaviour then it is important to approach the discussion in a non-confrontational way. Using the following structure can be helpful:

DESCRIBE THE SITUATION – “when we don’t spend time together”

EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS – “I feel lonely”

SPECIFY WHAT YOU WANT TO HAPPEN – “I would like us to have at least one evening a week together”

STATE THE OUTCOME – “that way we can have quality time together”

It is important to state how you feel using ‘I’ statements, as no one can disagree with how you feel and it doesn’t sound like you are blaming the other person. (Try practising in your head ‘you make me feel lonely’ versus ‘I feel lonely’ and see how it sounds to you.)


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