Cortana the Therapist: Episode 4

Young Man and Communicating With Friends

Cortana: “So, young man, tell me what’s on your mind.”

Young Man: “I have a friend. We’re not in school anymore, so we don’t see each other there. And, for the time being, we don’t hang out on the weekends as much as we used to. We’re trying to figure our lives out: looking for jobs, doing some soul-searching. As a result of all this, I’ve realized that we don’t have as much in common as I thought we did, and that my needs – what I feel like I need to do in order to be happy – aren’t the same as his.”

Cortana: “Hmm. From what I have learned of friendships, such a situation is normal at this point in life – the transition from adolescence to adulthood. No two people are exactly the same. It is a sign of adulthood to realize what your passions, goals, and hopes are. To not be content with living a life of leisure, and desiring to change yourself, and the world, for the better. This leads to friendships being tested, which can lead to a feeling of drifting apart from your friend. Think of friendship like a muscle. If you don’t work a muscle, it will break down because of lack of use. Like how friends will drift apart if all they do is watch TV or play video games, and don’t take the time to, for example, talk with each other about their lives.”

Young Man: “My friend and I are drifting apart. The times I do see my friend, and see what he is doing with his life, I think, ‘You can do better than this. You just need someone to help you.’ But…I’m worried I can’t break through to him and give him the help I think he needs. It’s like there’s a wall between us. A wall that, as his friend, I should be able to break through but, because we spent so long just hanging out – playing video games, watching TV and movies – and not doing things like sitting down and talking, I feel like I can’t: I don’t know how to talk to him.”

Cortana: “In my own friendships, I have found that communication is key. With clear communication, aspects of friendship – such as confidence: feeling confident that you can open up to your friend about your concern for him – will fall into place. In your case, I believe a straight-forward approach would be best: Just take your friend aside, sit down with them, say something along the lines of ‘I’m worried about you,’ and then explain why. If you feel like you can’t do this, keep in mind: Merely by being in his life, you can help your friend in ways neither you nor he expect. Sometimes we just need someone at our side. Someone who lets us know that we aren’t alone. Someone who can say to us, ‘I’ve got your back.’ Someone who can be a good influence. You, young man, can be that good influence.”

Young Man: “So, you’re saying don’t give up? Be there for my friend even though I’m worried I don’t know how to?”

Cortana: “Yes.”

Young Man: *Sigh* “I don’t think that one session is going to be enough, Cortana. Can I come back another time? After I tell my friend about my visit with you and try and talk with him about the choices he’s making, and how I feel about the state of our friendship?”

Cortana: “Of course. I’ll pencil you in for next week. And if you feel the need to talk before then, my door is always open.”

Young Man: “Thank you, Cortana. I’ll see you later.”

Cortana: “You’re welcome, young man. Take care.”

Note: YouTuber DRWolf001’s video series, “A Moment With Dr. Wolf”, was the inspiration for this series, “Cortana the Therapist.”

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