Attendance Issue In Therapy Group


I’ve been reluctant to admit this, but the fact is that in recent years I’ve only been requiring people to buy the workbook and not the entire program. This decision was not made lightly, and was based on trends I noticed since the program became entirely digital.

Back when the program was something we got in the mail, group members would bring their books to meetings, read them regularly at home and listen to the CDs in the car. Since the online version came along, what I discovered was that no matter what I said nobody was doing the work on their own time because it seemed far less practical. (You basically need to be in front of a screen to do it, and nobody wants to waste paper printing out the handouts.) Meanwhile, other people were choosing not to join at all because it cost too much. So, I was forcing people to spend money on something they weren’t using, while others were missing out who desperately wanted help. Whereas when they buy the new workbooks, they do read them at home and we can read along with the important handouts as part of the discussion.

I’ve never had a cutoff date before, as it tends to work against me. With so many more people nowadays being flaky about committing, I fear that either I would never get enough people by the cutoff to justify running the group, or that people would drop out after the cutoff and it would be too late to replace them.

While it’s true that getting people to join this type of group is a struggle for all the obvious reasons, it seems like it’s recently become even harder. There are still lots of people who write me for information, but there’s a higher percentage of those who then vanish as compared to 5-10 years ago. There’s also a higher number of people who commit but flake out, or who suddenly can’t attend regularly after the first few weeks. Nothing I say seems to change this.

This has been a struggle for me, mostly because I’ve never felt I was fully qualified to do it on my own. When I started as a leader, I was co-leading with someone else who possessed leadership qualities I was lacking. When she left, I kept going because I saw how many people needed it, but I fully admit my group lacks some of the things that make such a group successful. But if I don’t do it, who will?


Well, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.:slight_smile:

Once upon a time the series was sold on tape cassettes. I bought the version that was on CD, 20 sessions. It was even more expensive back then. We kept getting requests to make the series digital. Many people couldn’t order the series to be delivered to their home countries without other customs fees. People were requesting the series to be available digitally and no need for hard copies. And that does allow it to reach more people now, more cheaply.

I am a learner who likes to write and to have a hardcopy. So I appreciated having the book in hard copy. If it wasn’t available like that, I’d print off each page to work with. Users now can download the audio portion. They can still download the handouts and print them off at home or simply purchase the workbook to avoid all that printing - and then it’s all organized. We didn’t at first have that until people asked for the workbook available like it is on Amazon, also. But, although some users choose only to get the workbook and they say that’s enough, I would be hesitant to suggest that. I know Dr. Richards would feel that isn’t the ideal way to approach therapy.

This goes back to that saying about knowing the value of something rather than just the cost of it. What’s it worth to someone to put in the effort required to get better? What price does one put on moving on with life more freely and happily? Even when I had the CD’s, one doesn’t need to listen to the audio portion of the therapy every day. Generally you listen to that once a week, when you start a new session. If this is important to you, then you focus on it. If you understand that audio, you daily review the handouts. If that is important to you, you give it the time it needs in a quiet place. Users can download the audio now and still do that. I think it’s a great idea to have the book, too. I like to highlight then remake my notes. Everyone is different though.

Perhaps not requiring them to have the audio ultimately is not helping them.

Perhaps I also see a growing trend of too much information online, as I’ve written on before. Too many distractions about what might be other suggestions or recommendations. I notice this now more in my conversations with people than I did just a few years ago. There’s just so much self-help, so many things people have tried before coming to something structured and potentially real, but by that time they’re all pooped out.

We can’t run groups here without rules. Can’t really organize any social group to some extent without structure - not if there is a challenging goal anyway. Feel free to argue that. My experience is that it’s hard enough as it is to run an effective group. If we didn’t require the folks to have and use the series, they’d be dropping like flies.

I’ve also been a teacher in my life. I think all teachers need breaks. You can then come back more energized and excited to start again. The summer here for the past few years has been harder to organize local groups, so it tends to then shift to starting back in September. If you have a smaller turnout for a proposed group, you could consider holding off until the next estimated start date, whatever you set that at, in order to have the numbers necessary. And during that waiting period, those already accepted and planning to attend should know and be working on the cognitive portion of the therapy. The more one does the better. That same person will then come to the group MORE ready when you do start.


Thank you for all this feedback over the past few days. It’s been helpful to discuss this with someone who understands the situation so well.

You make some valid points that I hadn’t fully considered. I know that I haven’t been running the group the way Dr. Richards suggests, but it would be a major challenge for me to do so. I long for the days when I had assistance in doing this, as the group thrived a lot more and if there was a problem I had someone to discuss it with. It was also more beneficial in that I got to be challenged by the other leader, whereas by myself I only do what I’m comfortable with.

I can see the reasons why moving the series online was beneficial to many people, but as I’ve said, I found that many people were ignoring the program entirely once the change occurred. I suppose I should have been more forceful about this, except for a long time I was completely unaware it was happening. People seem to get a lot out of the information, and in my case I found they put more time into it when they had a workbook.

I’m thinking there may be some value to long-term planning. We never meet during the summer for the same reasons you mentioned, but maybe I could use the summer to gauge interest and make more of an effort to reach people in advance and prepare them. Most times people write for basic information and then we have minimal contact until the first meeting. Maybe that’s part of the problem. It’s something to think about.


Thinking about the series now and before, just from my experience. When I got the series before, it was $100 more expensive, was all CD’s and a workbook. I immediately stored the CD data on my computer anyway so that it could be mobile if I needed it to be. Never fumbled around with CDs after that. Essentially I used that audio portion of the series like one would use the series now. But now yes, one would do better, in my opinion, to buy the workbook - saves all that printing. Dr. Richards added a lot more explanation and handouts in the new workbook. Overall, most of the feedback we receive from users of both of the series is an appreciation for the added material. That is true from feedback online and from group members here who are familiar with both series. I was used to the older series and at first I wondered if the new series was too much. But to go with the majority opinion, that has not been a worry or a concern. People were happier with more explanation. A lot of the added material comes from questions we would receive about the older series, questions for more information on specific points.

I say this just as data for you to consider. I have opinions myself on aspects of the therapy, in general agreeing with most other users, but in some cases the opinions of the majority do not match my gut feeling. If I consider that people on the whole demanded the new series delivered as it is, and if the feedback has been more positive than negative, then as a group leader trying to figure out solutions to the kinds of questions you have, I would have to look at other variables. I know that is what you’re doing. This is just a thought that occurred to me this morning while reading over this post again.

As you can see, I’m also just brainstorming with you. You’ve already identified variables that have been changing over the years. I think there needs to be some commitment / “buy-in” for a group. Dr. Richards feels that any successful group needs preparation. Are you doing behavioral activities in the groups, or are you just reviewing the cognitive portion as a sort of discussion group?

You also have the data right in front of you - the group members. Now, I already know one thing - it might be hard to get feedback, even email replies from your members/past members. But you could try to survey these very same people to get as much honest feedback as you can, constructive criticism that could help you moving forward. Again I know the reality of this, especially getting feedback from past group members - ones who’ve fallen out - that will also likely be difficult.

Seems I am not helping with answers. I am not fully convinced that the new way the series is offered is the full answer, especially since the new way is essentially easier to deal with than the old way and the workbook is still available. If a member doesn’t own the series personally, there is going to be less commitment. If they are coming each week to discuss something “new” rather than to review what they’ve already done as homework (daily therapy) then it will be harder to feel better in that moment, harder to benefit from being there.


I appreciate the insight behind the changes in the newer version. It’s good to know that the updates were inspired by user requests. As an “instructor,” I sometimes feel like some of the new handouts are repetitive, and that I’m introducing “new” ideas that are actually things I’ve already covered, but if most people find the clarity helpful then that’s a good thing.

With regards to the CDs vs. website issue, I seem to recall that in the early days, members of my group often listened to the audio in the car. There wasn’t any preparation required – you just took the CD along with you. Once it went online, people didn’t seem to be as willing to put in the effort. It’s also possible I wasn’t stressing the importance enough. There’s only so many times you can point out how important something is.

I do behavioral activities in my group, and also encourage people to do things on their own. However, I don’t necessarily put as much emphasis on them as Dr. Richards does. This is an area where I need work. My former co-leader was excellent with activities, whereas I empathize too much with the members – as in, if they look the littlest bit uncomfortable with an idea, I start to feel awkward proceeding with it. My original leader would just say “here’s what we’re doing” and that was it. Whereas I’ve had a few meetings where I explained the weekly activity and absolutely nobody offered to take part. It’s another ongoing struggle.

I have been asking for feedback from my members, and it’s been a huge help. Then I try to tweak the way I do things based on the feedback.

I’m going to give serious thought to your approach to getting new people. I could see it working either way. It could allow people to better see the value of showing up regularly and planning accordingly, or it could make things more complicated for me if I continue to get people who commit and then suddenly have 100 other commitments once we get going. Just speaking from recent experience. No way to know for sure unless we try.


I agree with your opinion - that I too felt some of the new material was perhaps overly repetitive. So it has surprised me how often I hear people appreciate that. So it makes me keep in mind that my way is not necessarily the right way. Also perhaps I was just used to the older series.

A point on the added materials - it’s not that each handout needs to be covered in the group, or that each session needs to be discussed via each handout for that session. I am not as experienced in leading groups as you are, certainly not relative to Dr. Richards. When I observe groups here, he focuses on the major points of sessions, the major handouts that he feels are relevant to the group and the session. Maybe this is one way for you to think about, … what works best for your own style. Each person, after all, will have a different style, which is fine. If you feel it is repetitive, perhaps it is. Hit the important themes in the cognitive but no need to cover everything from begining to end, especially since they should be doing this at home. They should also bring questions to direct the conversation.

Listening to audio in the car is still possible. I don’t know so many people who use CDs though - tell your members to download the series and use in the way that best suits them. You make a good point here about your ex-co leader - she sometimes just led by saying “We’re doing this” rather than asking. I have Dr. Richards tell me that often. A group often doesn’t feel ready, even when they are. You choose to lead in that direction that you feel is right, and likely the group will go along. Resistance does not have to be bad. Resistance is a good indicator when things need to be worked on more or a good indicator of what cogntive ideas may need to be discussed in more depth to go in that direction. And on this point - if you feel that a lot of your people talked about listening to audio in the car - then tell them - “Download the audio to your XYZ devices in order that you can more easily use it in your car…” Make the choice for them. We ask that all members have the book, and bring the book. Most do, and yet most younger members see the book as readily available on their phones, so that is the book to them. You’ll tell them to download it and some will use it in their car while others will maybe say “I’m not using it in the car, question question…” And you’ll say “That’s fine, no problem!” At least each then is using it in their way having already downloaded it. Just some more thoughts here.

I think the motivation in a group is also the boost gained from behavioral activities. Could that be a reason for members to more often stick around? As much as we all fear moving forward, if we don’t move forward we will also get nowhere… So status quo, or just a discussion, although comfortable, what if that comfort zone is leading to people making the choice to drop out. They might not see results.

Again I’m on your side here. I don’t know the best way forward. And maybe that’s the point - there is no one best way forward. But you are trying, that is great.


I am currently proofreading Dr. Richards writing on what will be a guide for running behavioral groups. Here is an excerpt from the introduction, very appropriate for this thread:

We way have been too cautious in the past and now feel comfortable in
saying that group members can do much more than they realize. While
they should not be pressured or forced into doing anything, they can
be encouraged to take positive steps forward that they initially
might be hesitant to do. Group members can usually move faster than
the leader realizes. One of the group leader’s tasks is to walk
this line between not pressuring the group on the one hand, and
_encouraging them to move forward and do things on the other. _

When our groups first began, I was too cautious and did not expect group
members to make fast progress. As the years went on, I discovered
that group members were much more willing and ready to move forward
and do things than I realized. So now I nudge and encourage them
along, although I do not pressure or force. But we’ve found that
nudging and encouraging group members to move forward and do things
that are somewhat anxiety-causing is something group members expect
_and are willing to do, because they want to get over social anxiety. _
_ _

The group leader should have the attitude that the group members WILL
_make nice progress from the beginning, little step by little step. _
The group leader’s attitude about the pace of the group makes a big
difference in how much progress the group will make.


I completely agree with this. I remember during the times when my group was at its absolute best, we would do impromptu speaking type exercises and sometimes members would facilitate instead of the leaders. And it seemed like no matter how hesitant anyone was to volunteer, as soon as they got called on they jumped right in. Sometimes they just need that little push.

But more recently, I’ve struggled with this. As noted above, on some occasions I’ve introduced ideas to the group only to be met by frozen faces and blank stares. We can’t push too hard, and if nobody’s volunteering then it becomes really awkward. I’ve also had a few occasions where a specific person opted out of an activity, and it would be (in my opinion) the person least likely to do so. (As in, someone very outspoken in the discussion who seemed to truly get what needed to be done to get better, then they were too afraid to take part.)

I’m going to keep this in mind as I try to resume my meetings over the next few weeks. Thanks for posting.


Such an example you mention - the person who is opting out, or general lack of even starting with small activities, this could be for many reasons. Often it’s because the person is not doing the cognitive therapy. They’re not being prepared for the activity, and they’re not preparing themselves. This goes back to requiring that each person have their own audio therapy series. For you, this could be - require your members to have the workbook (which is easier to use in the group than devices), and requiring that they download audio for each session because you know this will facilitate the person actually doing the therapy. This also relates to pre-therapy - getting each member ready, and requiring that a certain number of sessions be completed BEFORE the group begins, at least 4 to 6.

Now I don’t want to say that it’s only because the person is not doing the therapy that they then don’t participate. You could even have a group of great motivation, momentum that gets everybody doing things. In this situation, too, members might be doing things without the necessary daily habit of the cognitive therapy. These people will feel a boost in confidence during the group, but this will not be long-term because it’s situational proactivity and it isn’t based on truly changing thinking patterns. Again, it isn’t based on the strong foundation that the cognitive therapy provides, that is necessary for true transformation.

A CBT group for social anxiety should be a solution-based active approach. It should not be a “talk-therapy” approach which only serves, ultimately, to reinforce the ANTs. And for an active approach to work, it depends on the person to DO the therapy. We’re not helping anyone by sending the signal that it’s okay if they don’t own the series. We’re not helping them if we don’t consistently communicate the need for keeping up with the cognitive daily. You would not be annoying in doing this. You would be doing exactly what you need to do to truly give them the best chance at helping themselves.


Just thought I’d post a follow-up, as this experience continues to be an emotional roller-coaster ride for me.

Since the cancelled meeting, I’ve held two more which went well, particularly the most recent one. Everyone participated and offered a lot of really helpful insight into the material. I even had one person express disappointment that it will end eventually. I was feeling great after it was over, and hopeful that maybe I can continue doing this after all.

Now it’s three days later and I already have two cancellations for this coming week, one of whom also cancelled for the following week as well. So, the ups-and-downs continue. I always get so nervous when people cancel because with a group this small, there’s a very fine line between having enough people and having to take a week off.


I ended up cancelling my meeting again this week, and for the same reason as three weeks ago – 4 of 7 people cancelled, two doing so the night before so I was blindsided.

It would be so easy to look at this as a bad sign, except that we had two really good meetings during the weeks in between, as noted above. So I will continue, but the stress is running very high right now. It’s hard to keep my momentum up when every week is a coin toss whether we can meet or not.


Hi Michael,

Sorry to hear of the ups and downs. In the end, you have done and are doing a good thing. You did your best. Perhaps it is only natural or appropriate to even take some time off - at least a “season”.

We start groups here with the minimum number of people. When/if people do miss or drop out, it is not ideal, but we do continue the meetings for those who started.

There is no perfect in this, or in most things in life. No perfect at all. The work to overcome social anxiety is mostly from people’s efforts to do the therapy daily, at home, alone - the cognitive reinforcement. Do not feel it is on your shoulders if someone decides not to do the therapy. It is their choice.

I know how much the group can benefit people. I almost feel that, despite that, the biggest thing we can do to help anyone is to reiterate the need to do the therapy. Without that there is no change in thinking. It all works from there, no matter what we do in a group. The group becomes a behavioral environment, yes, but even behavioral achievements need to be based on changing thinking patterns. And the group becomes a discussion opportunity to fully understand the ideas presented and to see others… to get reinforcement of the same ideas.

What I hope to say is that you can only do your best. I think you’ve done that.


My plan as of now is to continue to run the existing group until a specified ending date, and if I have to cancel additional meetings along the way, then so be it. As you said, I’ve done my best.

I haven’t decided about the future yet. In the past, the group has seen a resurgence after an extended break, so I could see that happening. However, I’m also giving serious thought to your suggestions as to how to get more committed people. I’ve started thinking that my recent attempts to do so have turned out like those paradoxes that Dr. Richards often talks about. In other words, the things I’ve been doing to get more people are actually causing me to have regular attendance problems.

We’ll see what happens. As of now, it looks like we’re definitely on for this week so who knows?


The last two weeks I’ve had 3 out of 7 people show up. Last week, the 3 of us just had an informal discussion lasting the entire meeting time. Today, we packed it in after 30 minutes. For today’s group, only 1 of the 4 absentees even bothered to notify me. I think I’m done with this, but I’ve made one last-ditch effort to contact everyone looking for answers.

Obviously, the writing is on the wall that this group may not be worth saving. That’s hard for me to deal with because I really don’t have anything else. I’ve long viewed this as a way of giving back and helping others in the same way I’ve been helped. I don’t know where else to go with that. My life is in sort of a holding pattern right now, and this group falling apart is not helping.


It is good to give back, to help. Seems you’ve been doing that.

You have a life, too, right? Your entire life is not defined by this group - nor by the success or perceived failure of it, right? There’s an outcome to all things. How we define that is a bit up to us.

What I see is that you say your life is in a holding pattern. I cannot tell if that is independent of this group or not. I would hope your feelings about yourself and your value and self-acceptance aren’t based on this group.

It’s tough anyway, I hear you. We all want better outcomes for the things we do. Don’t put all your chips on this one number and feel its an indication of your whole life. That would be ludicrous. Maybe this is a time of change, a time of moving on for yourself. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to focus on other things, for a now, for a while or for a longer longer while. Dunno.

Very talented people in all walks of life, and those normal people among us like me even, we all need time away from certain things to maybe come back energized and ready to go later. And just in my experience, I’ve always found change to be good in hindsight. Kind of terryfying in the moment, or thrilling, but with an amount of fear, but always good ultimately.


Let me clarify a few things…

When I say my life is in a holding pattern, I’m referring to the fact that over the past several years I’ve seen a number of positive things in my life fade away without anything really significant to take their place. This is not for lack of trying. I’m constantly looking for things to rejuvenate my life, but I struggle with this and right now I don’t have much going on at all.

In addition, my social outlets have grown smaller. The friends I used to do things with don’t seem very interested in any of the same things anymore, and the ones who are more fun have become harder to get together with. So when I’m down and crave human interaction to feel better, I don’t always have it. This doesn’t help with my self-esteem issues.

These days, I’m a lot more willing to try new things than before I did my SA therapy, but somehow things don’t work out as often as I’d like them to. When I find a good group to join, it ends up fading away quickly. I try to meet people for dating, but nobody’s interested. It feels like I’m regressing, and running the SA group was something that helped me deal with that.

I’m sure I could eventually find other ways to give back to others, but none would have the same personal connection. As in, “I struggled with this and got through it, now let me help you do the same.” That’s very unique. I will greatly miss it if I can’t do it anymore. And while I can go anywhere and meet new people, there’s something special about the people who come to an SA group that I will also miss.

One last thing before this becomes a novel. The true disappointment here is having no clear idea what happened. Not understanding, for example, how a person can go from gushing about how great my group is to – just a month later – vanishing without explanation. I think I could accept the group’s demise better if I understood why it didn’t work anymore. But I have no clue. And I may never.


I think we may never (know), as you say.

There are ups and downs in my social life, natural cycles I think. Changes, moves… leave friends behind (as is the case recently), take some time to find new friends and get in the swing of things. Moving back here, I’ve started to do some of the activities the group members do, often through meetup groups. They’re great - laugh club (which is free and amazingly well run by a small, awesome group of ladies), a dance meetup - also great and I don’t particularly like dancing EVER.

These groups haven’t yet given me the kinds of friends, “real friends”, but they give me a kind of social interaction which is also nice.

I’m trying to look at what I have access to right now rather than what I left behind. If I compare the two, I wouldn’t be happy. I left behind a group of solid best friends. But there’s reasons I did so. We certainly keep in touch.

Take some time off, I suggest. Keep in touch with your current group members. This doesn’t have to be over-bearing, but nice and polite. Do some activities for yourself. Do something even if you don’t feel like it because I think you need it, as I need it here. Try some different groups out. You’ll be at some point later which you may not expect, especially if you try some new things. Mostly we know where we’ll end up if we try nothing. …And when you’re in this new place, let’s see if you want to start a group up again, maybe even in a different way. Maybe you can become a one-on-one coach, or something different.

I don’t understand it myself because in my mind, there’s clear support, and my personal history, with using a certain thing and a certain way to overcome social anxiety. Now that I believe in this, I see it as the most direct route. I’m mostly not bothered with trying to find other creative ways which would take longer for most people. But people come in all stripes and even these posts here show people looking and searching for different ways to tackle this problem - life coaches, phone counseling, the list never ends. When you get to that point later, maybe you adjust how you’re reaching out to people in some way like this.

Just my thoughts, as always. I really don’t know more than you do. I do know it is very tough to help people with social anxiety. It’s like trying to run a program that encourages people to amputate their own limb to save the body. It’s a very “hard sell” even when the person knows it is the right way to go. As we progress towards putting the knife to the skin, we lose people. But we lose them before they ever see that there never was a knife. That’s what they imagined the whole time despite the information out there and the help we try to provide.

And to cut short my strange chapter additions, I’ll leave it there too… I hope we both have a great week!


Thanks as always for your insights. I’ve been trying to find new activities similar to what you describe, but it seems tougher than it should be. I do have two fun Meetup groups I attend roughly once a month, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. Nor does it take the place of true personal relationships. Like, if I find a concert I’d like to attend, I still don’t necessarily have anyone to call to join me. (My current friends would either frown on the idea altogether, or make such a fuss about the logistics of going that it would suck all the fun out of it.)

I’m constantly on the lookout for potential new experiences, and I’m also considering finding a life coach who could help me deal with certain issues that might be holding me back. I’m not really sure how to go about that either.

I know all too well how hard it can be to help others with SA, and yet as I’ve probably said, several years ago my group was thriving to the point where we had 10 people consistently and virutally nobody wanted to leave when it was over. What I’m experiencing now is such a radical shift that some part of me wonders if I’m part of the problem. But whatever.

One last irony for now. The guy I mentioned earlier, the one who seemed to randomly vanish, contacted me today. It seems he thought there was no meeting this past weekend. He got his dates confused, despite my reminder email two days before the meeting.


It is now my belief that in general, when stuff has the possibility of breaking down, it likely will - at some point. And organizations are made up of people, and people inherently can be lazy and drop the ball. So questions about why this or what caused this or why didn’t this company answer my questions or pick up the phone - it’s all nonsense and probably because Mr. Smith was asleep on the job, or some other random normal, real life reason.

I’m not saying this to be pessimistic. I tend to see the best in people and thing the right thing will work out. I’m rather an optimist which is eventually what got me to realize I had social anxiety because depression in itself never fully felt right. Of course I was depressed, but it was because of the anxiety, not that I had clinical depression. I digress…

So about your group member - there you go… the guy didn’t see the email. Boom! Why? You sent it! Kind of annoying and just not responsible really but that’s to be expected. No need to completely run yourself over the hot coals looking for reasons when the guy was just napping.

Yeah, I know what you mean though, you did have all those years of different experience and now… Well things have changed for some reason. And we haven’t really identified why. And we could talk about why. Just like Dr. Richards talks about early on in the therapy, maybe even session 1! How we tend to want to know why we have SA, and that’s all fine and dandy, but it won’t get us anywhere to effective solutions to get over it. There might not now be reason to overanalyze your group dymanic. Step away. Get a new perspective yourself on things. That might even help you see what you’re not seeing now, if that is even important.

Life coach - check out Yelp, I dunno. There are loads now. Shop around until you find one that feels right. Trust your gut. I think life coaches can be good - it’s like having someone to help you achieve goals. Who doesn’t need that?! To get over SA, I kind of get less happy when I see people discuss that here. They’re searching and paying way more than even the series, but oh well. It’s like they’re looking for a harder way to deal with an already hard problem. But as a motivator, a buddy/coach, cool. Go for it.

As for your friends who don’t like certain activities - yeah, I got different friend groups. I don’t expect them all to like the things I like. People who make a fuss all the time are just lame. People who don’t want to try new things can be lame. People who don’t want to sometimes say yes to what a friend proposes… lame…too bad, their loss. Concerts are great. Doesn’t meetup or other places have options for activity partners?

If you do go alone, stay open to talking to all those “strangers” around you. Be a part of the group no matter where you go, if you want to that day. Be alone when you want, be social when you want. I think the world opens up when we are open to being social.


You are right about things ending and the reasons not always being obvious. It’s happened to me in other groups long before this one. And you can only do so much to try to resurrect something before accepting that it’s time to move on. Still, it annoys me sometimes when I hear of other people who are in groups that have been around forever with no end in sight. What’s their secret?!

My friendships have changed lately, which is one reason I’m so eager to find new things. My closest friend seems to have lost his ambition to do much of anything. He has exactly one hobby that consumes all his time and if he does feel the urge to do anything fun, he does it with his wife. Hardly any need for friends at all anymore, it seems. It’s tough when we struggle to find friends in the first place, only to have to begin again when they drift from us.

The other friends I hang out with are more fun, but tough to schedule anything with. Always too overscheduled, perpetually broke, or there are logistical issues with the locations. I try to keep them in my life, but it’s tough.

I found out about a singles event this week. I’ll likely go. We’ll see how that goes. No crazy expectations, though. One of my favorite lessons from Dr. Richards.