fish are friends not food

Fish are friends not food

I take a lot of inspiration from the movie Finding Nemo. When my son was very young, he must have watched it 100 times, so it’s imbedded in my psyche.

When Bruce the shark is at his underwater AA meeting, desperately trying not to eat fish, his affirmative statement is ‘FISH ARE FRIENDS NOT FOOD!’ which he says over and over again trying to convince himself not to eat the little fish he brought to the meeting. It’s a hilarious scene.

I have an affirmative statement when it comes to our own friends.


In times of crisis, we turn to our friends of course. It’s only natural and I am not discouraging it, but I encourage people to find the balance and understand the limits of friendships.

1. Friends are simply not therapists and not qualified to help you.
2. You will get some bizarre advice, and possibly hurt feelings if you don’t take it.
3. It changes your relationship slowly as they become your advisor, and you their pseudo student.
4. When you start feeling better, it’s nearly impossible to switch back.
5. It can change the dynamics of the relationship dramatically.
6. You might hold back and skew the conversation for fear of judgement, only giving them what you want them to know.
7. After a while they can tire of the situation.

We need to learn to separate the two. Friends are great and want to help, but you also need to get the right professional help. A therapist, life coach, or other professional advisor of your choice is educated in this realm, where you will not be judged and can say what you want anonymously.

A therapist taught me how to manage advice I was getting without insulting the friends trying to help me. You love them and want them to remain friends! When you say thanks and nod or agree, you’re implying that you will do it, so when you don’t it feels like a waste of their energy and time. They will feel that you weren’t listening or appreciating their efforts. So that you aren’t paying lip service try somethings like this:

‘Those are really good ideas we’ll see how it all works out’.

This way you acknowledge their help and allow yourself the option to decide. You also aren’t giving up your personal power by becoming a student. You keep the friendship intact.

Get professional help when you need it. It is money well spent on you.

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