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How can I learn to trust people?

I’m bipolar and I have a really hard time with people. I can't trust anyone and I don't think it’s them—I think it’s me.

I feel bad because no one really understands me and I can't talk to anyone without getting upset. I really just want to feel comfortable around people and myself, but I don't know how.

It’s natural to feel the way you are, but don’t let it dampen your view of yourself. You’re def not alone with those feelings; it’s hard for anyone to trust others. People are complicated and can totes be hard to relate to sometime.

Here’s the big issue: How can you decide whom to trust? Answer: By getting to know them and making friends gradually. These two steps will help you add some people to your crew.

Stage 1: From acquaintance to friend
This first stage is about testing the waters. Try talking to some of your peers in your classes about school. Try to sit with a new group at lunch or get involved with a club or activity. Surround yourself with people. Be polite and understand that you don’t have to get super personal just yet. You can have friends you aren’t besties with; it’s totes OK.

Stage 2: From friend to BFF
If you’re looking for a shoulder to lean on, once you’ve gotten to know the people around you, you can focus on a few girls or guys you trust. Invite them to hang out outside of school. Let your friendships progress gradually and naturally: There’s no rush. With time, you’ll begin to trust your new friends and them you. It’s important to keep in mind that friendship is a two-way street: The golden rule—treat others the way you’d like to be treated—totally applies. Live by it.

A little help from a coach
As you do this, know there is someone you can trust who’s already out there: your guidance counselor. What you’re going through is something tons of teens and adults go through, but they don’t have to do it alone. It’s so important you talk to your guidance counselor (or a parent or trusted adult) about your feelings and what you’re going through. Believe me, they only want to help you and bring you up. Let them.

Put your best out there and you’ll be all right. Stay strong!
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BY ALYSSA BAILEY ON 1/29/2011 7:00:00 AM


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