How to make and strengthen healthy connections?

Just as it was last year, my main goal/desire for the upcoming year is improved connections with others.  I also feel stymied as to how to truly go about achieving that.

I feel like I have plenty of second and third tier friends — you know, folks to do stuff with, folks to see movies with, folks who I can have interesting friendly conversations with when I run into them in the grocery store,  Several of these third tier friends are people who I would like to have closer friendships with  And I do have friends who I can share a personal stuff with . . . . . when they have time to hang out.  But I find that it is really hard for people to have time for socializing. and that friendship can get low priority.  (maybe I just need more friends who are not workaholics?!? ha)   And because, when I send out an email that says something like “I could really use a girls’ night out!” or “Need a break from work, wanna get together tonight?” or some such, and can it take days and days to get a response, if I do get one, then I’m never willing to say something on the order of “hey, I am really feeling rough and could really use a friend to talk to right now.”

If I’m feeling really down,  feeling lonely and wishing for someone to hang out with to talk to — well the folks to call on then is lacking.

When I talked about how frequently I sent out emails or left voice mail messages that never got returned (and I this happens more than half of the time, although there ARE folks who  DO almost always respond), the last therapist I saw would yammer on about being the value of being self revealing for getting closer to people, blah blah.   I have to say that, although I see some truth to her response, I don’t really fully buy it — to begin with how do you-self reveal when folks don’t return you calls or emails??  And when there are multiple instances of lack of response, that does also lead to me feeling less trusting, less open, so then I do not try to contact that person for  a while.  There are  definitely times when reading novels seems preferable to keeping making the effort!

The always-doubt-and-dislike-myself part of me feels like it must be me, must be something I am doing wrong. Realistically, I know there is a part of this that has to do with my own lack of trust in other humans, and another part that is due to being an introvert and not being someone who gets to know others really quickly.  But I don’t think that is all of it. This can happen with people who I have known for years, and who, when I am with them, feel like we have a good connection.

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