Everything you need to know about social anxiety

We live in an age of anxiety. With a combination of countless disasters in the news whilst being bombarded by constant ads, it comes as no surprise that the number of people in the UK being diagnosed with anxiety is at an all-time high.

In ordinary, everyday situations it is reasonable and some might even say good to be anxious, it can after all help us perform better. Even feelings of fear have a purpose, they are designed to help us survive scary situations we might encounter.

Back in the “good old days”, this made us quicker to respond to the threat of being eaten alive; forcing us to run, hide or for those who are a bit more courageous, throw a stone… (and then leg it!)

This response is known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ response which causes the heart to speed up, hyperventilation (getting more oxygen) and increased blood flow to the muscles.

Zoella on social anxiety

We all get a bit nervous if we have to speak in front of a large group of people, right? Or if we have to meet someone for the first time? This is totally normal.

There are countless ordinary situations such as this that cause people who suffer from social anxiety to get cripplingly anxious and experience the fight-or-flight response which can be really disabling to their everyday lives. Social anxiety, simply put, is the fear of social situations.

Living with social anxiety can be frustrating and as with many things, change doesn’t happen overnight. You might feel like your mind has an ability to instantly jump a million steps into the worst-case scenario! Some of the signs of social anxiety are:

  • Finding yourself worrying about other people’s reactions
  • Experiencing extreme nervousness and anxiousness when taking part in social situations
  • Feeling really insecure about everything you say and do in social situations
  • Feeling paranoid
  • Feeling overly judged
  • Avoiding social situations all-together
  • Experiencing physical effects on your body during social situations such as sweating, increased heart rate, or rapid breathing.
  • Avoiding eye contact

If you think you might have social anxiety, we would always recommend seeking a professional diagnosis from your GP.

Most importantly, remember that however isolated you might feel you are far from alone – social anxiety is the most common type of anxiety in the UK.

7 tips for overcoming social anxiety

1. Share

Hiding or suppressing anxiety actually produces more anxiety. The most useful step is to share your experience with friends and family, or even talk about them online to us or someone else that you trust. Many people often feel ashamed of their anxiety and can be incredibly reluctant to share it.

The media often leads people to believe that mental illness is a weakness, which makes people less likely to admit to themselves and others what they are going through. We all have mental health and it is reported that up to 1 in 3 of us, will at some point experience a mental health illness and it’s okay to talk about it.

2. Breathe

Your body is powerful. Learning the warning signs of when your anxiety flares up is important to help you take action; for some, this could be your body feeling tense and your mind feeling chaotic. Your body and especially your lungs can help.

Breathing exercises can help you control your anxiety. Having a steady breath has a direct impact on your heart rate and, in turn, your thoughts. Your heart will slow down as your breath does and as your breathing and your heart rate slow down your mind and thoughts will too.

3. Thinking isn’t reality

As much as it feels like anxiety controls you, anxiety isn’t reality and you control your own reality. It’s important to remember that social anxiety feeds on thoughts that emphasise danger and negativity. Symptoms such as a fast heartbeat and sweating emerge from this kind of thinking.

Luckily thinking is a habit and can, of course, be changed. The cure isn’t just positive thinking but realistic thinking. Try and examine your anxious thoughts such as ‘I am going to say something stupid’ they are often exaggerations of reality. Then try and produce thoughts that criticise and correct them.

4. Shift your attention

Anxiety has a way of grabbing your attention and turning it inward upon yourself, making you not only self-critical but suddenly noticing how your heartbeat has rapidly increased without your permission, meanwhile, you then suddenly feel yourself getting hotter, red in the face… sweaty… it feels like a domino effect that cannot be interrupted.

But instead, try and focus your attention on what it is you may be doing, so if you are speaking to someone try and pay close attention to what they are saying rather than worrying about what the right thing is to say next.

5. Face your fears

Avoiding social situations, yes will make you feel better at that particular moment. But remember this is only a short-term solution which prevents you from learning how to cope and will make you avoid social situations in the future more. As out of reach as it might seem, facing your fears in small steps you will allow you to work towards the more challenging situations and will give you coping skills.

If meeting new people makes you feel anxious you can begin by going to a party with a friend. You can then take the following step of introducing yourself to a new person. Remember, saying no will give you the same result each time. Saying yes, however frightening, means you’re taking a chance and living your life.

6. Stop trying to be perfect

It’s easy to forget that no one is perfect when we live in a world that aspires to achieve perfection. It’s also easy to forget that not everyone will like us nor does everyone need to.

Ask yourself do YOU like everyone (slim chances)? It’s also often forgotten that it’s okay to make mistakes as it makes us human.

7. Play the Rejection Game

The purpose of the game is to gain some sort of rejection through a series of different challenges. The purpose of the game is to encourage you to see rejection differently and to face your fears whilst maintaining a certain element of control over the situation.

Beginner challenges

  • Ask somebody you don’t usually speak to at school for the time
  • Put your hand up in class to answer a question
  • Give somebody a compliment
  • Strike up a conversation with somebody outside of your friendship circle

Intermediate challenges

  • Ask for a discount at the checkout
  • Ask somebody to take a photo of you
  • Ask your strictest teacher for an extension on your homework, even if you don’t need one
  • Reach out to an old friend and ask if you can make up
  • Ask to go to the front of a queue
  • Fundraise for a charity (*cough* we’re a charity *cough*) and ask people you know to sponsor you

Expert challenges

  • Go to a restaurant and ask for a tour of the kitchen
  • Request a refill on a meal you’ve just eaten
  • Dance in public.

Don’t forget that there is always support available – whether you decide to access it online or offline. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to speak to somebody about social anxiety and/or bullying. Join our community to start a conversation about anxiety with others who have similar experiences…

More:

Why do People Bully?

According to our latest research, 1 in 2 people have experienced bullying in some form in the last 12-months. And trust us when we say, we know how difficult it can be to go through it, especially if you don’t fully understand the psychology of bullying.

In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why people bully, using the latest research and psychology to give you a greater understanding of the motives of those who are either bullying you right now or who have done so in the past.

You may have assumed that you get bullied for whatever makes you different or unique, for example: your race, religion, culture, sexual or gender identity, line of work, fashion sense or weight. By the end of this article, you will know that this is not the case at all.

If you want to talk about it – join our community today to start a conversation about bullying and speak to our amazing digital mentors who can help you anonymously without judgement.

The Psychology of Being Bullied

We will explore the reasons why later on in this article, but most frequently, those who bully others are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over you.

The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something that is unique about you – either preying on or creating new insecurity with an intent to hurt you either physically or emotionally.

What happens is, we, as the people experiencing bullying, start to internalise it and we become self-critical. We want to understand the reasons why we are being targeted and we start to blame ourselves.

As a result, we try to change or mask that unique characteristic in order to avoid the bullying. We dye our hair, bleach our skin, date people we aren’t interested in and cover up our bodies like they are something to be ashamed of.

It starts to affect our behaviour and the ways in which we see ourselves, which in turn, can go on to impact both our mental and physical health.

The way we see bullying is all wrong. It isn’t because we are different in some way.

person, standing, edge, of, shoreline, water. fog. hills

The Real Reasons Why People Bully Others

In a recent Ditch the Label study, we spoke to 7,347 people about bullying. We asked respondents to define bullying and then later asked if, based on their own definition, they had ever bullied anybody. 14% of our overall sample, so that’s 1,239 people, said yes. What we then did was something that had never been done on this scale before; we asked them intimate questions about their lives, exploring things like stress and trauma, home lives, relationships and how they feel about themselves.

In fact, we asked all 7,347 respondents the same questions and then compared the answers from those who had never bullied, those who had bullied at least once and those who bully others daily. This then gave us very strong, scientific and factual data to identify the real reasons why people bully others.

It also scientifically proves that the reason people get bullied is never, contrary to popular belief, because of the unique characteristics of the person experiencing the bullying. So, why do people bully?

Stress and Trauma:

Our data shows that those who bully are far more likely than average to have experienced a stressful or traumatic situation in the past 5 years. Examples include their parents/guardians splitting up, the death of a relative or the gaining of a little brother or sister.

It makes sense because we all respond to stress in very different ways. Some of us use positive behaviours, such as meditation, exercise and talking therapy – all designed to relieve the stress.

Others use negative behaviours such as bullying, violence and alcohol abuse, which temporarily mask the issues but usually make them worse in the long-term.

The research shows that some people simply do not know how to positively respond to stress and so default to bullying others as a coping mechanism.

Aggressive Behaviours:

66% of the people who had admitted to bullying somebody else were male. Take a minute to think about how guys are raised in our culture and compare that to the ways in which girls are raised. The moment a guy starts to show any sign of emotion, he’s told to man up and to stop being a girl.

For girls, it’s encouraged that they speak up about issues that affect them.

For guys, it’s discouraged and so they start to respond with aggressive behaviours, such as bullying, as a way of coping with issues that affect them. This is why guys are more likely than girls to physically attack somebody or to commit crimes. It isn’t something they are born with, it’s a learned behaviour that is actively taught by society using dysfunctional gender norms and roles.

Low Self-Esteem:

In order to mask how they actually feel about themselves, some people who bully focus attention on someone else. They try to avoid any negative attention directed at them by deflecting. But know they might look in the mirror at home and hate the way they look.

There is so much pressure to live up to beauty and fitness standards that we are taught to compare ourselves to others, instead of embracing our own beauty.

They’ve Been Bullied:

Our research shows that those who have experienced bullying are twice as likely to go on and bully others. Maybe they were bullied as kids in the past, or maybe they are being bullied now.

Often it’s used as a defence mechanism and people tend to believe that by bullying others, they will become immune to being bullied themselves. In fact, it just becomes a vicious cycle of negative behaviours.

Difficult Home Life:

1 in 3 of those who bully people daily told us that they feel like their parents/guardians don’t have enough time to spend with them. They are more likely to come from larger families and are more likely to live with people other than their biological parents.

There are often feelings of rejection from the very people who should love them unconditionally. They are also much more likely to come from violent households with lots of arguments and hostility.

Low Access to Education:

Without access to education, hate-based conversation directed at others may be the norm. They may not understand what hate speech is and why speaking about people in a derogatory way is not appropriate.

Relationships:

Finally, those who bully are more likely to feel like their friendships and family relationships aren’t very secure. In order to keep friendships, they might be pressured by their peers to behave in a certain way.

They are more likely to feel like those who are closest to them make them do things that they don’t feel comfortable doing and aren’t very supportive or loving.

man in cap standing in front of a wall featuring art

So there you have it, some of the most common reasons why people bully others.

If you are being bullied, it’s time to put the knowledge to the test. Carry on reading with our article on overcoming bullying. If you are doing the bullying, here are 7 things that you can do to overcome it.


If you are looking for more help – our community is a safe space to discuss your issues and get support from trained digital mentors who will help you without judgement.

Being kind is more important now than ever before. The news is all pretty much doom and gloom, and we’ve all been through a lot in 2020, and it’s only September.

That’s why we’ve partnered with the amazing guys over at Simple, who have teamed up with Little Mix, to inspire the UK to #ChooseKindness. 

Being kind doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to come in the form of some out of this world grand gesture (we’re not saying it can’t either).

Kindness can be something so small that just puts a smile on someone else’s face, because even the tiniest bit of kindness can make a difference.

So, here’s a list of 25 small acts of kindness that you can do to help us in our mission to make the world a better place. 

  1. Make someone a cuppa
  2. Donate to an organization
  3. Check in on a friend
  4. Ask people how they really are doing
  5. Smile at someone in the street
  6. Volunteer somewhere that needs help right now
  7. Help out a neighbour
  8. Send someone a little gift to let them know you are thinking about them
  9. Comment something positive on a post
  10. Reconnect with someone you’ve lost contact with
  11. Leave a happy note for a loved one to find
  12. Gift someone one of the Simple x Little Mix Limited Edition Packs
  13. Pet a doggy (safely)
  14. Clean up without being asked
  15. Share the kindest thing someone has done for you on social media to inspire other people to take up the mission of #choosekindness
  16. Send a letter for no reason to someone you love 
  17. Pay for the next person’s drive through/coffee/cake or shopping
  18. Be better to the planet and try out a waste-free day or week
  19. Support a local or small business
  20. Design or make something that will show someone you care 
  21. Tell a friend they can always talk to you if they need to 
  22. Encourage others to choose kindness with you on social media 
  23. Tell someone you love them for no reason
  24. Leave a positive review of a business or service you’ve used 
  25. Send someone to our Simple Hub for support and advice on all kinds of things that they might need help for. 

And there you have it – 25 small acts of kindness that could make someone’s day.

Give one of them a go and join in the #ChooseKindness movement. For more information on #ChooseKindness, check out the hub here.

Is it bullying?

The very fact that you’ve sought out this article to get some advice on your parents bullying you says that yes, it is definitely bullying and you’re definitely not overreacting.

Emotional and mental bullying by parents is not uncommon and can take many forms.

For example:

  • Constantly commenting on your weight or appearance.
  • Emotionally blackmailing you into doing something or behaving a certain way
  • Repeatedly using demeaning or unkind language towards you
  • Telling you that you’re unwanted or useless
  • Saying that they don’t love you
  • Belittling you or humiliating you

These are all forms of emotional and verbal bullying, and many of them are also classed as abuse. You do not deserve this or have to put up with it, and you are not alone.

What can you do?

We are powerless over other people’s behaviour. Chances are, you won’t be able to make it stop. What you can do is cope with it in ways that minimise the impact of the abuse and protect your emotional wellbeing.

Here are a few things you can try:

  • Safe spaces – Establish a place that you can go to get away from it all. Whether that’s your bedroom, the garden, or a friend or relative’s house. It needs to be somewhere that is safe.
  • Try not to be manipulated – Parents who are bullying can sometimes make you feel like a burden. It is important to understand that you do not owe them anything. Try to gain some independence and in doing so, you empower yourself.
  • Strengthen other relationships – If you have a good relationship with another family members such as a sibling, aunt/uncle, or another parent then you should work on strengthening that relationship and building up a healthy level of trust. It doesn’t have to be family either; friends, neighbours and colleagues are good too.
  • In the heat of the moment, don’t engage – When it turns in to a heated argument and voices are raised, don’t respond. In doing so you completely disarm them. Simply remove yourself from the situation and seek out your safe space.
  • Understand that it won’t last forever – Soon enough, you’ll be able to move out, go to college/uni, begin full-time work and become fully independent. Hold on to that thought and put your all into your education and interests.
  • Note that you are not your parent’s problems – What we mean by this is that you should try not to let your parent’s problems affect your own life. It’s easy for us to be affected by things that happen in our home life, but remember that your parents don’t define your personality, you are your own person.
  • Seek out other support networks – family is often considered to be one of our main support networks but sometimes that just isn’t the case. There are so many other support networks out there full of people who truly care and want to help.
  • Speak to someone at school – Believe it or not, one of the amazing things about school and college, (aside from getting to hang with your BFFs every day) that many people don’t know is that there are trained professionals on hand to help you at any time, for free. They don’t necessarily have to be a teacher. You can talk to the person who works in the medical room, or reception, or head of the year’s office or a school counsellor.

Talk it out:

First things first is to understand that you are not the reason that this is happening. Sure, the bullying from your parents may feel pretty personal when it happens, but understand that the problem always lies with them, not you. It is never your fault.

No matter how lonely you might feel right now, understand that you are not alone. This is, unfortunately, something that loads of people have been through and go through every day.

The best thing you can do is talk to someone about it. Tell someone who is a trusted adult or even a friend who is your own age. Whether it’s a teacher, another family member, a sports coach, a care worker or a mate. People need to know what you’re up against and you’ll feel better expressing it to somebody else.

Finally, understand that we understand. We’re here for you no matter what is happening.

At Ditch the Label, we have digital mentors who can help you get through your problems. All you need to do is join the community to get advice. What’s more, is that you can also use this safe space to speak to other people who may have been through the same thing.

Join our Community to ask anonymous questions to our trained digital mentors.


Here are some additional places you can contact to talk things out with professional adults who care about your wellbeing:

The Samaritans – 116 123 (24 hour crisis prevention service)

NSPL (USA) – 1-800-273-8255 (24 hour crisis prevention service)  

Childline – 0800 1111 (Working to stop child abuse)

Young Minds – Mental Health support for young people

Befrienders – Worldwide list of crisis lines 


If you are in physical danger, or experiencing physical abuse or bullying at home it is really important that you speak to a trusted adult about it. You can reach out to any of the organisations above or talk to Ditch the Label, you are not alone ❤️

If you would prefer the easy to read version please click here.

Pretty much everyone in human history has liked someone who didn’t like them back. It’s the premise of every rom-com, loads of songs, even Shakespeare wrote about it. Even so, we know it can leave you feeling totally crap, and it can make you spiral.

That’s why we put together this list of the 7 most important things you need to remember when this happens. We know it feels rubbish now, but you got dis. Don’t worry. 

1) It’s not personal 

It might feel like it, but if they have told you they don’t like you that way, it is almost definitely not personal. After all, attraction is a chemical reaction. No one can control it; and it happens with whoever it happens with, regardless of how they look, or behave or what they say or the jokes they tell. Just because this time it wasn’t with you, it doesn’t mean that you are “unattractive”. It just means that this time, you guys wouldn’t be good together. And that’s OK. 


2) It’s not because of the way you look 

Seriously. We know this is above, but we cannot say this enough. You are who you are, and you should be proud of that. Not only that, but someone will come along who finds that incredibly hot, and that’s pretty amazing. Changing the way you look, dress or act is never going to work because it’s not who you are, and who you are is pretty f**king awesome. 


3) It doesn’t mean they are mean

It can be mad tempting to jump into a tirade of hate against someone who has rejected us. The thing is though, this isn’t always very fair. It’s not their fault that they don’t feel that way about you, in the same way it’s not your fault that you like them. Get your squad together so you have some people who lift you up, and try not to be too negative about it. You got dis. 


4) You have to respect their decision

So yeah, we also got super hopped up on rom-coms a few years ago. But holding a boombox outside someone’s window, leaving presents outside their house, or turning up where they usually hang out is not going to get them to change their mind. Rom-coms made us think it was all so romantic, but actually it’s just pretty creepy. Respect what they’ve said, and move on. For help moving on from someone, take a look at this list of things you can do. 


5) It doesn’t mean you can’t still hang out 

It might seem a bit like you can never spend time with them again, especially if they know you like them and they don’t feel the same way. But, there is no rule that says you guys can’t still hang out, have a good time and do all the stuff you usually do. As long as you think you can deal with it, and they feel comfortable, then get back to making nachos with ridiculous toppings on, watching trash TV or whatever it is that you usually do. 


6) It doesn’t mean you lose all your mutual friends too 

In the same way you guys can still be friends, what has gone down doesn’t mean in any way that you will lose your mutual friends. They are as much a part of your life as they are for the other person, and probably just want the best for the both of you. Try having a chat with one or two of them if they know the situation and see if they are OK with the whole deal. 


7) There will be someone else down the line

At the moment, it might really feel like you will never like anyone else ever again. How could you, when all you do is think about them, check your phone for their messages and scroll your story views for their name? But trust us, just as you were fine before they came along, you will be OK. In a week, a month, maybe a year, someone else will turn up in your life who makes you feel all the same things as this person does, and maybe this time, everything will work out. 


Need to talk to someone about your relationship? Feel lonely? You can speak to one of our trained mentors here, for confidential support. 

The things you need to know when coming out

Are you ready to come out as bisexual? We know you’ve probably spent countless hours wondering if bisexuality best describes you– so let us be the first ones to congratulate you!

This identity is so powerful. You’re ready to be open and honest about something you value. It’s ok to start off slow– you may not be ready to tell the whole world!

We have 13 tips for coming out to help you decide who, when, and how you might tell someone.

1. Decide who, when, and where would be the safest to tell someone.

Your safety is #1. You can slide LGBTQ+ topics into your conversation to see how a friend/family member responds, and notice what environments are the most private. Having a friend who knows your location when you tell someone might help ease any anxiety.

2. Who’s the first person you want to tell?

Consider who might take the news well. This may be a best friend, a close family member, distant relative, or acquaintance. Coming out to the “easier” people first will be a great start to building your support team. You’ll then have reassurance for any people who might be more challenging to come out to.

3. How are you going to tell them?

There are so many different ways to tell someone… Will you send them a text? Say something over family dinner? Or maybe bring it up during a hike? Ideally, keep the environment neutral and remain calm so you can fully express yourself.

rainbow, lake, clouds, mountains

4. Celebrate whenever you tell someone.

No matter how small– you’ve just been completely open with someone! We love hearing about successes on our Support Community. Check out the Brag Box.

5. Be prepared for a shock.

Your sexuality is not something new to you– it’s part of you… but other people may not have expected this. Shock can cause all sorts of reactions– be prepared for any emotion, from disinterest to anger, or sadness. Remind yourself that sexuality is a completely natural thing, and that you’re better for having told someone.

6. Help them understand.

Bisexuality is not a term that’s widely understood, or accepted. Many people have misconceptions around bisexuality- check out 10 Things People Say to Bisexuals. Dispel these myths by helping people understand the facts.

7. Who can they tell?

How this truth spreads is your choice. Give clear boundaries for who they can tell. Remind them how important it is for you that they keep it to themselves, at least while you finish telling the necessary people in your life.

8. Give them time to process.

If they’re sad, or angry, remind yourself that this is their process. It’s not your fault. You were just speaking your truth and wanted to help them know you better. Do not feel guilty for their emotions, and if you find their words are hurting you– give yourself some space.

9. Address the conflict.

If someone’s reaction hurts you, check out our information on resolving a conflict, here. This can create a safe place to talk about how their actions have made you feel, and they’ll have a chance to talk about how they’re feeling.

If setting up a conflict resolution isn’t a possibility, consider writing them a letter that includes how you’re feeling, and what you would like to happen for the future.

10. If they can’t accept you – distance yourself.

It’s easier said than done, we know, but try to avoid expectations when telling people that you’re bisexual. Some people may not accept the fact that you’re bisexual, and that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean you have to try to keep them as friends. Good family and friends accept the full you!

11. Come out, again.

Although it does tend to get easier the more you tell people, sharing that you’re bisexual never stops. New people come into our lives, as do new love interests. Sometimes they deserve to know the full extent of our sexuality.

12. Check out LGBTQ+ and Bi-specific resources in your area.

Meeting people who may have had similar experiences is so powerful for feeling accepted! Finding a group where you can be fully yourself, without judgement, is a beautiful thing.

13. Join our Community

If in-person resources aren’t in your area, or if you prefer an online community, join our Support Community! Many of our other members are figuring out how to share their sexuality with people, too.

Two friends share a hug.

So this week is Loneliness Awareness Week. Even though it might seem like we’ve all got hundreds of friends and followers on social media, it is still really common to feel alone, or have friends or family who are dealing with it. Thanks to keeping social media in our pockets, it’s super easy to connect and communicate with others, but this can mean that when your phone isn’t buzzing, you find yourself spending a lot of time alone. We’ve put together seven of our best tips to help you out if you find yourself feeling like you’re on your own.

1) Social Media Isn’t Real

Yes, looking at social media, you would not be wrong in thinking that anyone with an Instagram page is having the best time ever, and has the best family ever, the best holiday ever, the best breakfast ever; even the best dog ever. But remember, you are only seeing what people want you to see. You actually have no idea what is really going on behind the screen.

Just because someone has 10,000 followers does not mean they have 10,000 friends. We are all guilty of ‘hyping’ up our lives on social media, so we should know that our profiles are not a wholly accurate representation of our reality. Don’t compare your life, and friendships, to something that is just not realistic or attainable. Comparison is the thief of all happiness.

2) Remember your worth

If you’ve been feeling lonely for quite a while then it’s understandable that you might start to feel unwanted and/or unworthy of other people’s company. This can lead to you seeing social occasions as further opportunity for rejection. You may start to shut yourself off from people as a consequence because you don’t believe your presence will be missed or worthwhile. But always remember, if you have been invited, it’s because your company is wanted! You are deserving of all the love and kindness people have to offer you so accept the invitation, get out there and enjoy yourself!

3) Start something you enjoy

Good friends often have much in common. Find something you enjoy doing and you’re sure to meet some like-minded people. Sporty? Go to an exercise class or join a run club/gym. Arty? Go to a life drawing class or attend an exhibition! Music fan? Get down to your local venue and support some up-and-coming bands! You could even volunteer your time somewhere. Make the effort to introduce yourself and you’ll meet a whole new bunch of people.

4) Compliment yourself

Are you self-doubting? You may have let your insecurities get the better of you, and this might be preventing you from putting yourself out there socially. Try acknowledging one positive thing about yourself a day, as a gradual reminder that you are perfect just the way you are and do not need to change for anyone!

5) Do not settle for bad friends

You may be craving company but don’t give your time to people who do not value or deserve it; you can still feel lonely in the company of others. Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, noted: “Reams of published research show that it’s the quality, not the quantity of social interaction, that best predicts loneliness.” Ditch the frenemies – you don’t need them!

6) You are not alone in your loneliness

You are definitely not the only one out there feeling lonely. Despite the fact we live in an era where the internet has made communication as simple as a message away, it seems we are lonelier than ever before. With this in mind, don’t be embarrassed to make the first move if you want to reconnect or re-establish relationships with old friends. Missing someone? Text or call them and they’ll more than likely be glad to hear from you.

7) Embrace ‘me’ time

‘I’m gonna be my own best friend‘ – listen to the wise words of Beyonce and learn to enjoy spending time with YOU. When no one is available to hang out, chill with yourself! It can be really revitalising to spend time alone. Take a bath, watch a film, read a book, listen to music, reorganise your playlists! Try to make a list of things you’d love to do when you’ve got a spare minute so that you can always be busy instead of bored. Your own company is just as good as anybody else’s and it’ll prove to you that you’re a great person to be around.

Maybe you feel lonely, but always remember that you’re definitely not alone. For more inspiration, be sure to follow our Instagram @Ditchthelabel.

If you’d like somebody to talk to or get personal advice about how to overcome your loneliness, then you can join our community here.

Did you know that up to 3 in 10 relationships could be considered abusive? Is yours one of them?

Are you in a healthy relationship? Find out with our 10 signs.

1. You aren’t afraid to say what you think.

Being able to speak your mind in front of your partner without fearing their reaction is incredibly important. Respecting each other’s opinions – even if they differ – means that you will minimise time spent arguing. If you can share and discuss with one another the good, the bad and the ugly, then you know you can truly be yourself in each other’s company.

2. You have your own space.

As Kahlil Gibran once said of relationships: “Stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” Giving yourselves the opportunity to grow individually as people will only help you grow together as a couple. Checking up on one another constantly or needing to be in each other’s company every second of the day might be a sign that you are lacking trust in the relationship…

3. You trust each other.

This is probably the most important factor in any healthy relationship. Trust is the foundation which any successful relationship is built upon and it takes time to earn. If you trust one another, then you are able to give each other freedom without awakening the green-eyed monster that lies within, you are able to be vulnerable in their company because you know that instead of judging you, they will be there to support you.

4. You compromise.

There are ups and downs in any relationship, romantic or platonic. You are not always going to agree on the same things and there will be times where you will need to compromise; if you can meet in the middle then you know you are both mindful of each other’s needs and your shared desire to make the relationship work far outweighs any need for personal gratification.

5. There is common ground.

As important as it is to have your own sense of identity and set of interests, it is also vital that you and your partner share common ground. Having a mutual love of something creates a bond and means that you can simultaneously take pleasure from the same thing, rather than having to ‘endure’ your partner’s hobbies, passions or lifestyle.

6. You let things go.

Rather than cause an argument or hurt each other’s feelings, you both choose to let things slide. This does not mean that you are pushovers however, it just means you don’t make mountains out of molehills. Life’s too short. Even Rose let go in the end.

7. You get along more than you argue.

Fighting is an inevitable part of being in a relationship, but it should by no means be a regular occurrence. If you find that time spent arguing is more than, or equal to the time you spend enjoying each other’s company, you might want to consider whether you are well matched.

8. You support and encourage each other’s ambitions and passions.

You may not find one another’s endeavours interesting or appealing but you would never dampen each other’s enthusiasm by saying so. Instead you support and encourage each other’s pursuits and are not threatened by the possibility of either one of you achieving success.

9. You are accepting of each other’s pasts.

Everyone has one. Rather than continually delving into each other’s pasts or getting jealous of each other’s exes, you have acknowledged what went before and appreciate that it has shaped you both into the people you are today.

10. You regularly make the effort to show each other you love one another.

And not a grandiose way. It’s the little, everyday things that you both do to show each other you care.

Join our Support Community to discuss relationships with like-minded people.

Sometimes in life, we aren’t very lucky. Bad things can happen and we can all go through stuff in our personal lives that can have a lasting effect on us. Once the dust settles, however, one of the scariest things about life after trauma can be understanding how to tell someone about what you have gone through when they don’t already know. Opening up about past mental health issues, bereavement, assault, addiction and more can feel like an endless number of hurdles to jump every time you meet someone new. That’s why we have put together a few tips on opening up about this stuff to people in your life, so that you don’t have to worry about it.

1) Take your time

It’s important to remember that there is nothing making you rush into telling someone about something you have gone through in the past. If you don’t feel ready to tell someone yet, then don’t. It can also be tricky knowing when to tell someone new in your life, whether that is a new boss, partner or friend about what you have gone through. The key here is to make sure you can trust them with the information and wait until you get to know them a little better. 

2) Talk to someone you trust

Making sure the person you tell is trustworthy is crucial, not just so that you feel secure, but also so that they don’t use the information to hurt you in the future or tell others your secret. If you don’t feel like you have anyone like this in your life right now, but still need to tell someone about what is bothering you, you can reach out the Ditch the Label Community here. It is completely anonymous and we will listen to you. 


3) Pick a good moment 

Deciding when to tell someone about your past is a big decision, and picking the right moment is likely to make it easier. Choose a time and a place where you feel most comfortable, and where you know you won’t be overheard by the wrong people. Make it clear to the other person that you are about to tell them something important and discuss if they are ok with keeping it a secret from other people in their life who you do not want to know.

Also, make sure they are in a good place in their life to hear it as well. If they are going through a lot right now, or maybe are dealing with something similar, then it might be especially difficult for them to hear about it as well. If this is the case, consider telling someone else you trust and wait until you feel the other person is in a better place so you can discuss it. 

4) Give them time if they need it  

Sometimes, people might find it difficult to understand what you have been through. If this is the case, try not to take it personally. If they ask for time to absorb the information, give it to them, and take a breather. It doesn’t have to mean they won’t understand or be there for you once they have had time to get used to the idea. 

5) You do not have to tell anyone if you don’t want to

Finally, it is important to know that you do not have to tell anyone about your past. If you feel pressured into telling someone about your experiences, remember that it is entirely your decision to open up about your life.

If you feel like you need to confide in someone, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

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Coming out to your parents as lesbian, gay or bisexual naturally brings up a lot of questions. How will they react? Will it change anything? Can I say it without getting upset? How should I say it? When is the best time?

Telling your parents is much bigger than them simply knowing your orientation. It is about you owning your sexuality and having the courage to say ‘this is who I am’ and not living in secret any more. If your parents are homophobic, you may want to check out this article instead.

Here are 9 Tips to help you get there:

1. First reactions are unpredictable.

When coming out to your parents whether they suspect anything or not, this is the first time they are hearing this news. You have had months or even years to come to a place of acceptance and being ready to share it. They only just found out so remember first reactions are not always lasting reactions and they will need time to process this information.

2. Determine whether this is the right time.

It is crucial that you take the time to consider your own personal circumstances when making the decision to come out to your parents. What might be the right thing for one person, may not be right for you. Your safety and wellbeing should always come first.

3. You don’t have to tell them both at the same time.

If there is one parent you are more nervous about telling, you don’t have to tell them together. Start with the parent you feel safer talking to. You’ll know if it’s best to tell them separately or together so trust your instincts.

4. Pick a good time and place.

This news deserves your parent’s full attention. So make sure you choose a time that won’t be interrupted and in a place that feels comfortable for you. You are in control of this situation and its key you feel as comfortable as possible. There may also never be “the perfect time,” and if there is one, you might lose your nerve and let the opportunity pass – that’s okay, don’t sweat it if that happens and try again.

5. Be clear about who they can tell.

This one can easily be overlooked as you will be so relieved at finally telling them, that its natural to forget to be clear what you want to happen next. Decide beforehand whether you are comfortable with them sharing this news with your family or if you want it kept between you for the time being – be clear about that.

6. Their approval or permission is not required.

Try not to expect too much from your parents and wherever possible, avoid measuring the success of the conversation by their initial response. If it’s not what you hoped for, don’t despair or give up. They may just need more time. This isn’t about them. It’s about you and who you truly are. Show them that you are the same person they’ve always loved, just more honest now.

7. Questions are ok.

One concern can be a barrage of questions, especially knowing the answers can sometimes be awkward and uncomfortable. Don’t stress yourself out trying to think of every answer ahead of time. Questions from your parents are natural (but don’t feel pressured into answering things you aren’t comfortable with) and whether you have answers or not just be as honest as you can.

8. Help educate them. 🌈

Whatever reaction your parents have; good, bad or ugly, suggest they have a look at these organisations: FFLAG and BeLongTo;  They are dedicated to supporting parents of lesbian, gay or bisexual sons and daughters and have a wealth of resources nationwide. It will help educate them on all things LGB and give them the opportunity to speak to other parents for advice.

9. Talk to us.

Coming out to your parents is a big deal full stop. Even parents who have the best intentions will frequently get it wrong and say something unintentionally offensive and hurtful. Everyone’s experience is different so whether you are on the brink of doing it, have done it but are struggling or just need some support with it all, join our community to talk to one of our awesome mentors who understand completely what you are going through and get advice from others who have similar experiences…

If you would prefer the easy to read version please click here.