Counseling 101: Comparing Friends To Home Decoration

I worked as a psychologist and counselor for a year when my middle sister asked if I could pencil in her colleague in my schedule that particular week. She explained that the woman was a fantastic interior designer at their firm, but insecurities drove her actions outside the workplace. While they were not close, my sister leaped faith and offered her a helping hand.

Of course, how could you say no to your favorite sister? Even if my schedule was full, I made sure to make time for her colleague the very next day.

Meeting The Interior Designer

My sister’s colleague arrived on time at my office, looking elegant and fashionable. Upon a quick scan of her, I noticed that she was excellent at hiding her real emotions with her smile and poise. However, her eyes betrayed her as she kept blinking and looking around.


Extremely Bold Designs Are Not For Everyone

The interior designer’s primary dilemma was that her friends kept wanting to do things she was uncomfortable with. One time, they asked her to go to a strip club and get lap dances. The other time, they invited her to a nudist beach, even if they knew that she was not the type to show too much skin in public. She worried that her friends might ask her to do something more extreme in the future.

The simple advice was to say no. “No, I’m not into that.” “No, I don’t want to do that.” In my client’s case, though, she could not bear to think of disappointing her friends.

Instead, I told my client, “Have you ever thought of separating yourself from your current friends and finding new ones? If you don’t know it yet, the phrase “opposites attract” often applies to lovers. When you have friends, your likes and dislikes should be the same to avoid conflicts.”

“I don’t understand,” the designer said.

“Think of your friends like bold home decorations. I’m sure you know where to get or create the most frivolous designs out there, but you cannot recommend them to all your customers. Similarly, extremely bold friends – like the ones you have – are not for everyone. It’s practically a fact of life that you must accept.”


Subdued Colors Are Not Boring

My client also worried about seeming undesirable or bland in other people’s eyes. She uttered, “I already have a tough time looking for love as it is. With my crazy friends on the side, they can at least make me look cool.”

The interior designer’s lack of self-confidence was evident in her choice of words. It could be surprising, especially if you saw how elegant my client was, but it was more common than you assumed among beautiful individuals. Although they knew that they looked good, they could not believe that they could be enough.

So, I reminded my client, “I know you know that subdued colors are not awful in a house. More often than not, they make a space look lovely and lively. Hence, please try not to think that people will only pay attention to you because of your friends.”


Minimalism Is Amazing

Last but not least, my client told me that she had always had issues with letting go of people, even if she knew how toxic they could be. The interior designer assumed that it was likely because she did not grow up knowing what it’s like to be loved by her family, so she would cling to anyone who would show her affection.

It was unfortunate to hear, but I likened the situation to her favorite topic: minimalism. “Whenever you talk to your customers, you tend to advise them to throw away as many possessions as possible or donate them to others. This way, you can have a less stressful life than others,” I said.

When the interior designer nodded, I added, “Well, please think of emotional detachment using the same principle. Having fewer people in your life can most likely make your relationships more significant than ever. After all, you will only allow yourself to get close to individuals who want nothing but greatness for you.”


Final Thoughts

Helping an adult client deal with anxiety and dependency issues was more challenging than helping a child overcome them. As the interior designer was full-grown, her beliefs that her current friends were the only people who cared for her and that she would be nothing without them had been deeply ingrained in her mind. I had to keep her in counseling for a few months because she kept going back and forth, unsure of what she should do, although she was aware of what must be done.

Nevertheless, the interior designer made a concrete decision once her friends tried to make her do something illegal. She reached her breaking point, turned her back on them, and never looked back.

It did not take long for the interior designer to find real friends at her workplace. The last time we talked, she said that she could not be happier about agreeing to do counseling since it pushed her to see a solution to her problems.

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