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Counseling/perpetual ditzyness


I want to start this out by saying I do not feel as if I have low self esteem. I am a recent college grad in my early twenties, I am a very creative writer, musician and artist and feel as though I have many positive qualities. However, I always find myself being the butt of the joke and in my social groups, even those stemming from middle school and high school, I find that I am the person who catches the most crap, if you will. I know my close friends don't make fun of me to be hurtful, its just that it seems I have a propensity towards the role of the ditz, and I don't know how I keep falling into that role in almost every social situation. I do feel that my brain may not work on the same "level" as most peoples'. Things most people would consider to be common sense, I do not consider. A good example of this would be an issue that recently occurred at my moonlighting job. I wait tables at a mom and pop italian restaurant and one of my tables ordered an entire bottle of wine. Going back behind the bar, I spotted a bottle of the type they requested and promptly brought it to their table. One of the other waitresses, who has been with the restaurant since they opened, brought to my attention that I had placed the wrong bottle on the table. I had apparently given my table the larger wine bottle that the restaurant uses for "by the glass" orders. I had to go back to the table and explain my mistake after they had already opened the wine. I later caught the waitress fussing to the host and the owner regarding my mistake. I know it was a stupid mistake, and that it should have been an obvious one as the bottles meant for purchase are smaller, but this didn't cross my mind. This is indicative of the types of incidents that happen to me on a daily basis. I want to know why my brain doesn't "catch" these seemingly obvious concepts and what, if anything, I can do to work on this. I know this negatively affects my life because not only does it make me feel stupid, it hurts me that other people see these mistakes and assume I am dull as well. It also worries me that this issue will affect my career. If I am not able to think on a level with other individuals, I will get passed over for promotions and more than likely lose out on opportunities for other types of advancement. I want to thank you in advance for any and all advice you have to offer.

Hi, Ashton.  Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity by asking a very childlike question; "what would it be like to ride on a photon of light?"   The key to finding solutions is starting out by asking useful questions. I've usually found it not helpful to ask to know more about the problem - usually what you end up with is knowing more of the problem and not much else.  Asking "why am I a ditz" begins with the assumption that you are and there's no where to go from there except reinforcing that assumption.  Problems, by definition, have exceptions - times that the problem is either not happening, or happening less.  My own experience in working with people for over 30 years is learning that no problem is constant - even though at times it may seem that way.  Problem constancy is an illusion caused by focusing on the problem rather than the exceptions to the problem. Having said that, I don't think that it's useful to ask "why" this issue exists - even if we could know the answer which is doubtful despite the psychological Theories.  You would be better off, I think, to begin to look for the exceptions - the times that you are "on a level with other individuals."  They exist, you're just so focused on the problem that you're not noticing them.  In terms of your friends, even if it's supposedly done in jest, it still reinforces the assumption.  The fact that you comment on it, tells me that you don't find it very funny and (while you may go along with it) it is hurtful to you.  My suggestion is that you talk to each of your friends privately and let them know that what they are saying is hurtful.  If that doesn't change things in your social group, then I would suggest that it's time to find a new circle of friends and start fresh.  Friends who continue to do hurtful things when they have been made aware of the effect it has are not friends at all.  At the very least, I hope this gets you thinking in more useful ways.  Let me know if you have any follow up questions or thoughts.  By the way, you can begin with this first exception:  what you've communicated here seems to me to be focused and articulate.  Joel  


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Joel Simon


General questions about counseling, psychotherapy and mental health.


Over 30 years as a therapist, clinical supervisor and solution-focused trainer. I've worked in a variety of settings including adolescent day treatment, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, community mental health clinics, and hospice. Further information is available on my website:

A founding member of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association, Academy of Certified Social Workers, Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York State.

Co-authored "Solution-Focused Brief Practice With Long-Term Clients in Mental Health Services: I'm More Than My Label." Authored: "Solution-Focused Practice in End-of-Life and Grief Counseling" Several articles published in professional journals including 2 with Insoo Kim Berg. Further details are available at

Masters of Social Work (Yeshiva University 1978). 5 years training in Transactional Analysis, certified in Advanced Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis with the New York Society (NYSEPH), Advanced training and advanced supervision seminar in solution-focused brief therapy with the co-developers of the approach, Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer

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