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-If all we’ve been is accommodating, appeasing, and appealing to others in non-reciprocating friendships, how do we start making meaningful connections?

-What do we do with the discouragement when we seek deeper connections but end up feeling even more disconnected?

-How do codependents balance the advice we get on making connections (i.e., ask lots of questions) with our tendencies to be too patient, understanding, and loyal (i.e., just listening all the time)?

In this episode, I sat down with Beth Klein, LMFT, LPC to talk about “how to make friends and influence people.” (Just kidding! That’s the title of an archaic book that unfortunately doesn’t help codependummies like ourselves in making authentic and genuine connections) You’ll hear Beth share about how “accommodating” she was in her former relationships, including friendships. So, how did she stop being so codependent/invisible in her friendships to foster deep connections? Beth shares insights on her road of making friendships that we can all apply to our own efforts to create community. We typically hear things like “focusing on giving rather than receiving,” but that’s not the best advice for a codependent. By the end of the episode, you will have specific tips catering to our need for balance as we make connections. It’s a must-listen!

More on this week’s guest:

Beth Klein is a licensed therapist specializing in helping young professional women get unstuck so that they can bring their lives back into alignment with their purpose, passions and values. She sees people in-person in her office in Saint Paul, Minnesota and works virtually with people residing in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

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More deets on this episode:

We start with our “typical two” and hear Beth’s definition of codependency then aspects of codependency from her own life. Beth discusses how she was “accommodating” in her friendships growing up which then turned into accommodation with partners and in her former marriage. She provides examples of codependency between friends, partners, and the parent-child relationship.

Beth reveals how she started to seek deeper connections following her divorce and wanted to be sure they weren’t like the unreciprocating connections she had in her adolescence and young adulthood.

But how do codependents make meaningful connections if all they’ve had are non-reciprocating, thankless, and boundary-less relationships?

Beth describes how she was able to make friends by taking risks, putting herself out there, and facing the fear of rejection/unfulfillment/loneliness/and other things that we codependents usually face when trying to create community.

You’ll hear Beth share about her experience attending MeetUp groups, receiving encouragement from her therapist, and slowly creating a network of connections.

I push back when she suggests focus on “giving rather than receiving” and other tips like that since, as codependents, all we have done is give. The typical advice to make friends may not always apply to us, right?

We conclude with Beth sharing about how we can investigate and explore our values. By knowing our values, we can then decide if we are willing to face the fear and pain that comes with being vulnerable and making friends.

This is definitely a topic we will be covering on an ongoing basis as we codependents are so lonely but also so discouraged when our attempts to connect with others are not successful.

Questions for you, dear listener:
What came up for you as Beth shared her definition of codependency? What did or didn’t resonate as you heard her examples?
How did you relate to Beth’s experiences of codependency from her own life?
How are you doing with your friend game? Do you feel fulfilled and connected in your friendships or are you lonely and discouraged?
What have been your experiences recently in making deep connections? Any advice to share (please email me!
Can you take time this week to look at your values? Beth’s questions:
If you could do whatever you wanted, what would you do?
When you’re 80, what do you want to look back on and remember fondly about what you did?
Are you willing to face pain, discomfort, and fear to attain what you value most?
How have you struggled to balance the advice we get on making friends with the fact that, as a codependent, you can maintain relationships for decades where you’re invisible/unheard/unseen/etc.?

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