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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I become a more likeable person?

    Hey, I am feeling particularly sad at the moment. Some friends of mine took me out the other night, one of them well she was considering me on a deeper level. I screwed it up because I didn't consider her feelings as I complained too much and I am too critical of my self. I am holding onto my friendship with them by the skin of my teeth. I am not a bad person, I am fit and healthy, still very conscious of my self image. I am a good caring person that only wants everyone to be happy. I have trouble letting people in and when they get close they can't stand how hard I am on my self and they go away. I have a under control anxiety no more meds.

    I am in my 30s and while so much has changed in my life this underlining problem remains the same and I don't know what to do any more. I want to be able to have personal relationships, I want to change, I will never give in. I just don't know how to stop doing the things I am barely aware I know what I am even doing and I want help.

    Thank you.
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  • 1




    Michelle Lam

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I accompany clients as they explore how to access their inner strength and obtain a greater sense of self so that they are able to … View Profile

    What you are experiencing in your relationships is quite common, so you are not alone.  Relationships can be a struggle sometimes and intimacy of any kind can be a challenge.

    From what you have shared, there seems to be a part of you that has certain expectations or beliefs about how you should be in this world, and when you fail to meet them you punish yourself. 

    I imagine these expectations/beliefs about yourself were messages that you learned in your family when you were very young. And because you were so little at the time you took on these expectaions/beliefs about yourself, and because the love of your family was very important to your wellbeing, it is natural to (still) want to meet these expectations all of them time and to beat yourself up if you fail to do so - as you believed when you were very little (and continue to carry this belief today) that people will withdraw their love and leave you if you failed to be a certain way.

    Seeing a therapist on a regular basis can help you:
    a) explore the basis and extent of these expectations/beliefs that you have about yourself
    b) give you the opportunity to choose what expectations/beliefs you want to continue to have about yourself
    c) learn how to be more gentle, accepting and kind to yourself
    d) increase your ability to tolerate/manage uncomfortable thoughts/feelings without withdrawing from others or pushing them away
    e) explore the reality of relationships and how to actually “be” in relationship

    So its important to know this:
    a) you are human.  And all humans make mistakes and are imperfect
    b) you have the inner strength and willingness to change and do something different and
    c) you can learn how to feel as good as you can in spite of everything going on around you

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    How fabulous that your desire for change and growth is so strong! I love the fact that you say you will never give in. Relationhips are the best tool I know of for providing you with that growth and awareness you seek but they are also, as you are experiencing, one of the most challenging. Intimate relationships bring out the best and worst in all of us. Our fears can be driving us on a subconscious level and ironically the very thing we seek is repelled from us by the self sabotaging ways in which we act, even without realsiing it. The complaint about your behaviour from your friend may be rooted in many causes, some of which are hers and some of which are yours. Relationships are co-created. Seeking professional assistance to change your own patterns of behaviour in relationships may well be the most rewarding thing you do as you learn to match more closely the ways you aspire to be with the ways in which you actually think and behave. Pleasing others (although a very common way of behaving) is a sure fire way to ultimately displease them! Counselling will help you see how you can learn to be more authentic and show up in your friendships being true to yourself as well as at the same time considering the needs of others. It will also help understand the roots of your self criticism. Your behaviour made sense as a child but no longer serves you and it is great that you are ready to do the work you need to get the changes you want.

  • 1


    Gai Baker-Luz


    I am a Registered Psychologist specialising in Relationship Counselling I have a Graduate Diploma in Couple therapy and enjoy working both with individuals couples and … View Profile

    Hi there,

    It sounds to me like you have quite a bit of insight into what happens when you interact with people which is great because it means you have the capacity to reflect and then move differently.
    This is your strenght and you don't want to lose sight of it.
    When you want to move differently with people you often have to rehearse first what you want to say and how you want to be !!! This takes a bit of practice but is absolutley possible.
    Although people will push you to change back as they don't have a script of the new you !! yet !!
    The other thing I want to say to you is it isn't possible to keep other people happy , but you can work on your own happiness and that might require a bit of reflection too

  • 1


    Marie Bloomfield

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Marie Bloomfield is a highly experienced psychologist specialising in helping to manage anxiety, fears, panic attacks, depression, relationships, parenting, pain, trauma and weight loss. She … View Profile

    We all have painful times when we feel we are not connecting with others and those moments of loneliness can be hard to bear.

    I admire your courage of never giving up!

    There are many ways to be more engaged and to feel more connected with others. For instance by seeing our similarities with others rather than our differences. Elisha Goldstein has a great utube video called "Just like me" which is a great exercise in feeling more connected with others.

    Also looking out for the positive in others and ourselves helps to have positive relationships.

    A great winner is also to be a good listener and to spend time exploring and validating someone else's point of view.

    By learning mindfulness and self-compassion you can learn ways to relate to yourself and others more positively. 

    There are some good books written by Chris Germer, Kristin Neff and Paul Gilbert on that subject that you may find helpful.

    There are also some group programs offered on Mindful Self-Compassion which can help in improving relationships.


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