Asking for a Friend: Help! Practicality or passion - which career path should I follow?

  • This week we talk about pursuing your dreams and negative thoughts
  • If you have difficult, embarrassing or awkward questions to ask, send them in anonymously, and ‘Friend of a Friend’ will do their best to help
Amalissa Hall |

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You can pursue your creative dreams, but it is important to stay grounded.

Hello Friend,

Recently, I watched a talent show on TVB, where the contestants (who were teenagers my age) were so passionate about dancing and performing, and put so much effort into pursuing their dreams.

Although I am a money-minded person, I also have creative dreams, and seeing these teens inspires me to pursue my passions as well. But my parents don’t think this is realistic. Do you have any advice about which career path I should take?

Star-Studded Dreams

Help! It’s so stressful thinking about the future

Hi Star,

Remember that what we see on TV, even on a real-life talent show, is highly curated and not always completely honest. The teens you’re watching may be passionate about what they’re doing, but may also be playing it up for the camera.

Entertainment shows have producers with expectations for what contestants should be doing or saying. They’ll want embellished stories and dramatised situations, and more often than not, the individuals must exaggerate their passion in front of the camera. You can’t know exactly what happens behind the scenes.

Look at the most recent example of Lelush, the Russian guy who was a finalist on the Chinese talent show Produce Camp 2021. He didn’t even want to be there and said so on the show, but he couldn’t leave as that would mean breaking an expensive contract.

My friend is rich - how can I stop being jealous of her?

Being a singer, dancer, or idol can be fun, but there’s so much hard work that isn’t often made public. Most of these contestants have not only been dancing or singing for years, but also participating in shows and countless auditions.

The entertainment industry is pretty ruthless, and it’s not the easiest one to break into. If it’s something you want to do, you’ll have to be 150 per cent certain, because you’ll have to work extremely hard to make it.

That’s not to say that you can’t work towards your creative dreams; but your parents do have a point about it being unrealistic to easily achieve success, financially or otherwise.

You don't have to decide your future now - start by pursuing art as a hobby and see what happens!

Instead of trying to immediately pursue a creative career because of a TV show, continue to work on your art as a hobby.

If it’s something you absolutely must do, seek opportunities to make your dreams a reality. But you should always have a backup plan if you don’t become a backup dancer!

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend

I’m a perfectionist - can I also be happy?

Hi Friend,

I keep having thoughts that everyone around me hates me. Even when people show me affection, I feel like they’re not being genuine.

These nagging feelings are making me paranoid about whether or not my relationships with people are legit. I know I should stop overthinking things, but that’s easier said than done. Any advice on how can I stop these thoughts?

Thanks, My Own Worst Enemy

My BFF and I flirt, but is it for real?

Hi Enemy,

Once you start having persistent negative thoughts about yourself, it can be tough to stop. You have planted a seed of doubt in your mind, and now that doubt is growing and spreading into many aspects of your life, including your relationships.

It might be helpful to write these thoughts in a journal so that you can actually see what’s going on in your head. Read them back - out loud - and you may realise you’re being too hard on yourself!

Writing out your thoughts gives you the chance to see them from the outside, and it can take a weight off your shoulders - or in this case, off your mind.

How to handle fake friends without causing more drama

Something else that could help is looking at your relationships objectively, and writing down the unbiased facts about your friendships - think about how you became friends, and why you continue to be friends. Also, reflecting on the positive aspects of your friendship can help reassure that the relationship is real.

Try to objectively analyse why you feel so paranoid about people in your life. Does it reflect something you think about yourself? Are you focusing too much on a past relationship where someone did break your trust? Delving deeper into why you’re overthinking your friendships may help you to get to the root of where your negative thoughts are coming from.

Also remember that any relationship will have ups and downs. No one is perfect, and sometimes you will clash! But it takes two to make a friendship work, so think about if the two (or more) of you are actively working to communicate and continue the friendship.

My friend is obsessed with Instagram, and it’s making her insecure

Another important part of friendship is vulnerability - trusting that your friends are being truthful about their intentions.

I also think you should open up to someone you know about this. Whether it is a trusted friend, sibling, parent, or mental health professional, it helps to tell someone that you’re feeling this way.

With their help, it will be easier to stop thinking these negative thoughts.

Good luck, Friend of a Friend

If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please send an email to [email protected] with “Asking for a Friend” in the subject line. Don’t worry - you will remain anonymous!

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