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    I used to feel a bit like Jan says, that I was chasing friends. And sometimes it is more clear that you are trying to stay in touch with people who truly aren’t interested.

    But I have also learned that very few people are what I think of as “connectors “, by which I mean, the pale who initiate the phone call, or organize a group to go out to dinner, etc.

    I learned that some of the friends I have started in touch with best are these connectors. They sometimes feel just how you do, that they are always making the call, but not getting called back, or they are always the one organizing going out to dinner.

    But I am still in touch with these people because they keep in touch! I do reach out to them, and I do think it’s clear that I enjoy being their friend, but I admit they do more work at keeping us in touch.

    So you may have to be the connector for people, and understand that they appreciate it. I think many more people are NOT connectors, and rely on the connectors to keep us all tied together.

    I think the people who get birthday parties organized for them might be good friends with one person who makes that effort, or maybe they just plan their own party.


    I share a lot of your feelings, so I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve been working on the question. Some people truly don’t want to be friends, and they will just not answer or be too busy to talk or have nothing to say, sure, drop those people.


    Hope this helps!


    Absolutely. I think my parents are good parents, but everyone brings with them their own issues from *their* parents and passes it on…

    I recognize that a lot of the inner critic is repeating things that my critical parent frequently told me about myself “You’re smart but you’re lazy. You can do anything, but you’re lazy. You’re a negative person.” Which is maybe why there’s a weird mix of “I’m good at this, oh but my laziness is holding me back.”

    But I think my question is, accepting that I have this inner critic, understanding that it came from my parent, how do I move on from it?

    I think the trouble is when it coincides with an external critic–I have gotten much better over the last few years of not having the inner critic be so vocal when the people I’m working with appear happy with me. The question is, how can I keep the inner critic quieter when the people I’m working with seem like they might be thinking the same things as the inner critic? Suddenly then, the inner critic seems so correct!


    Anita, yes, your summary is correct.

    The inner voice is partly aimed at the client too though, “This guy has shown me no respect, he hasn’t responded to my emails, he’s so disorganized and expects me to be organized 200% so that he doesn’t have to be,” and this “spirals” to “I should stand up for myself and let him know this isn’t acceptable, I’m not going to work with people who expect me to be more organized than they are, maybe I just shouldn’t work with this guy.”

    But at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s worth it to chastise the client directly, because a) I need the money from working with them and b) they are, in other ways, nice to work with.

    So the time wasted is also spent on working through what I would say to this other person to tell them all the reasons that they are wrong. I would like to both be kinder to myself, and also kinder to them (because they are probably mostly grumpy because of some external stress too.)


    Hi Jenn:

    I think everyone’s given you good advice so far. I hang around a lot on some personal finance forums ( and unpaid student loans are not an uncommon problem. There are plenty of posts where people in your boyfriend’s position come to the forum to say “My significant other revealed to me their debt, what do I do?” And the key thing (that a bunch of strangers care about anyway) is whether the significant other is now willing to take charge of the situation.

    I think the first thing you need to do is forgive yourself, for anything that makes you feel bad inside about this debt. Maybe you are beating yourself up because of the degree you got, or because you’ve ignored it for some time (just basing this on what you mentioned), so forgive yourself for these things. Your degree sounds really interesting, and I bet you got a lot out of it, even without working in that field. Your parents don’t sound like they managed money well, so it’s no wonder you tried to just not think of it.

    Once you have forgiven yourself, then you can make a plan. You’ll need to look at where you spend your money now, and see if there’s anything you can reduce and put towards your loans instead. Even finding an additional $50/month is a good start. Secondly, you’ll need to find out what you owe on the student loans, and if they are in collections you’ll want to talk to a credit counselor to help you figure out how to deal with that (there are steps to make sure that the collections agents are telling you the right amounts). Once you have some ideas for how to change your budget, and you know who to pay and how much, then you need to actually execute and start making the payments.

    I think if you went to your boyfriend somewhere in that process and said “I’ve got loans, I want to take care of them, here’s my plan” that will be a very different conversation than just “I’ve got loans.” I also think that while you should attempt to come up with a plan of your own, it is fine to ask him for help improving the plan, and you’ll need his help to change your budget, for example, if you like to eat out together and you decide to stop eating out to save money, then you’ll need to tell him why it’s important to you to change that behavior, since that will affect him too. As Anita said, I agree that your boyfriend may take this in a positive way.


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