Stage 3: In a situation for mutual self-disclosure
I'm different; they wouldn't understand me. If I were honest,
people would hate me. I'd better pretend to be different.
Stage 4: Meeting a potential boy/girl friend
There's no one available. I always get hurt. There's only one
perfect person for me. If you are attracted to them--if "the
chemistry is right"--that is all that matters (no need to be any
more selective than that).
He/she won't like me. I can't approach guys/women. It would
crush me to be turned down; I'd rather not approach anyone.
Stage 5: Getting intimate
I always screw it up. I can't stand to be dumped again. If
you're dumped, there's something wrong with you. If people
really care, they have no right to leave.
I can't relax during sex. I'm not a good lover. I'm fat. They will
be judging every move I make. If the sex isn't good, it's my
Stage 6: Making an emotional commitment
I can't meet all his/her needs. I'll lose my real self if I fall in
love. I should meet all his/her needs. It would be terrible if we
didn't love each other equally.
He/she will leave if I say what I really feel. I never get what I
want. People should give me what I want without my having to
ask them for it. If he/she criticizes me, he/she is about to
My partner won't change even if I ask him/her to. He/she is a
different person now. Things should be done the right (my)
way. If my partner won't change when I ask him/her to, he/she
doesn't love me.
The first task is to identify the automatic, self-defeating thoughts
you are having. Then question if these thoughts are really true and do
some experimenting to see if it's more pleasurable (less hassle) to
stay home than go out alone, if others always consider you dull and
boring, if you can learn to tell interesting stories and jokes, if there is
evidence that others are constantly evaluating you, if a friend can be
trusted with your personal feelings, if it would be crushing to be
rejected, if classrooms yield different partners than bars, if personal
traits might be more important than looks, if there is a "middle
ground" between saying nothing and complaining frequently, and on
and on, until your thinking becomes more realistic and helpful and less