Stuck by Squidward Tentacles

What’s it mean to be “stuck in a rut?” For most of us, it’s got everything to do with losing interest in our daily routines — we go to work at a job we’re only halfway interested in, come back home to a life we’re bored of, contemplate how to spend our next few hours of free time, and then get ready for bed. And the next day? It’s rinse and repeat. We do it all over again. And what do you know? Soon six months, one year, two years, five years pass like this. We’re still doing the same thing, and we’re running out of time to do anything else. 

If you’re stuck in a rut right now, you’re in luck: today, I’ve got a client we’re going to help who’s in this exact same position. His name is Squidward Tentacles, and he’s in a larger rut than anyone I’ve ever met before. Everything he does — from getting up in the morning, to playing music, to working his job — seems to annoy him. It’s gotten to the point where he’s actually feeding off of the negative energy of some of his neighbors, whom he welcomes into his life just for a distraction.

But Squidward doesn’t want to be this way. So, he wrote to us at The Journal That Talks Back  to see if we could help him out of the corner he’s in. I think it’s definitely possible. And I think that if you’re in a rut right now and need a little guidance on how to get out of it, you’re going to want to follow along too — some of these tips might just apply to you!

Alright. Let’s read Squidward’s journal entry to us, and then we’ll dive in with some coaching help. 

Squidward’s first journal entry

Entry One:

I’m stuck in the same old boring routine as always. Get up, get ready for my minimum-wage job, go to work, come back home. Even the things that used to excite me, like playing clarinet, painting, riding my bike… they all feel pointless. I’m in a rut. It’s even gotten to the point that I’m starting to welcome the annoyances in my life. My neighbor/coworker is unbelievably loud and obnoxious, but I even find myself looking forward to seeing his stupid face just to get some novelty in my life. I don’t know how it got to this point. I was going to be something incredible, someone who took risks and made something of myself. Now I feel like a cold, dead fish…belly-up in the water while I slowly wait for a bigger fish to come and eat me.” — This post was journaled by Squidward T. 
spongebob and a grumpy squidward

First impressions: let’s understand Squidward’s real goals and relationships

First of all: big mood, Squidward. I mean, we’ve all been here, right? Getting disenchanted with life and wanting to make it more fun, interesting and novel is sort of a universal truth. It’s a weird sensation, where you feel stuck, left behind and not sure how to get back onboard. So how do we get back onboard during these moments?

I’ve got some ideas. Here's how our instruction manual for helping Squidward might start: as coaches, first we need to ask the right questions to better understand what he’s really trying to get out of life. We might start by asking, “What was that incredible thing that you were going to be before life got the best of you?” We know that Squidward was interested in biking, clarinet and several other hobbies, but we don’t have a great picture of what his true passions are just yet. Knowing that will help. 

It'd also help to learn more about Squidward’s relationship with this neighbor that he has a seemingly love-hate relationship with. Is his neighbor experiencing their relationship in the same way? And what separates these two from having a shared experience if they both live and work in the same place? Why is Squidward in a rut, while his coworker doesn’t seem to be? I think we should pose some of these questions to Squidward to see if we can get a clearer picture of how to help him out. 

(In a saucy Frenchman’s voice): Two weeks later 

Okay. It’s been two weeks since we posed those preliminary questions to Squidward. Here’s his reply to us: 


“Where do you work, how long, and why do you feel like you’re still there?”


I work at this local burger restaurant, not a chain, just a place where I thought I could get an easy job as a cashier while I pay the bills and spend my free time creatively expressing myself. That’s me in a nutshell, though: always waiting and taking the easy route and never taking chances. I feel like interesting things happen to people around me all the time, and I’m in the same place, with the same mouth-breathing customers, asking myself… ‘Squidward, why is this happening to you?’” 


Alright. Now we’ve got a better picture of what Squidward’s pining after. And if we can go out on a limb and say it, I think we can pretty safely assume that Squidward is starting to see everything in his life in shades of melancholic black and white. Right now, it seems like everything’s bad, no matter what it is — even his customers annoy him, and we know that not every customer is trying to ruin Squidward’s day. 

So, what we’re learning is that Squidward doesn’t have a strong foundation of joy to build on at the moment. That means what we’re dealing with might be a matter of perspective, instead of a matter of great big life changes that need to be made. In a sense, helping Squidward might be more about taking on little challenges that change his relationship with his values, rather than telling him to go out and seize the world. 

So, what we might ask Squidward in a situation like this is: “Can you challenge yourself to do one small thing every day that’s a little out of your comfort zone? Something a bit hard, new or different?” Asking Squidward these questions might help him gain clarity about whether or not his stuck-in-a-rut feeling is really tied to the life he leads, or if it’s more a matter of perspective. 

The check-in: appreciating the foundation while chasing the larger goal

Okay. It’s been three months (cue our sassy time-describing Frenchman again) since Squidward’s first journal. We’re checking in with him after posing our questions to him, and here’s what he wrote back to us. 

Closing Journal:

“You know, I have a house, a job, people who seem to care about me… maybe I don’t always take time out to appreciate those things. You told me to pick one challenging thing every day and it’s been… kind of nice. I felt challenged to keep painting and even completed an impressionist piece of myself yesterday. Taking life by the gills like that wasn’t something I would have seen myself doing a few months ago.”

Final Thoughts:

What a response! It feels like Squidward’s broken away a little bit from the monotony of his life, which is a great first step toward getting out of that rut. What’s important to note here, though, is that we didn’t simply encourage Squidward to be more creative each day, or to play clarinet more often, or any other ‘motivational’ style lessons where we’re pushing him in places he doesn’t want to go. And the reason that’s important is because if Squidward had tried to simply ‘do more’ and failed, he’d come back to his baseline, which is that monotonous dissatisfaction with the world. 

In short, Squidward wouldn’t have a different perspective to fall back on. That’s why we specifically worked with him to change his mindset, instead of simply changing his behaviors. And that’s the power of coaching! We’re able to intuitively target the underlying factors in peoples’ lives that leave them wanting for more, instead of giving surface-level advice that anyone could find out of a self-help book.  

So, it looks like Squidward’s doing much better than he was before. That’s awesome to hear. Admittedly, things won’t always be easy, but now Squidward can at least appreciate the things in his life that he already has which give him stability while allowing him to chase larger dreams.  

We’ll call that a win. 

Curious about how to get coaching like this? Check out The Journal That Talks Back if you want to know how a coaching relationship might look with YOU (yes, normally we coach real people) in the driver’s seat. Or, hit up other episodes from our new Character Coaching podcast to listen to how we’ve helped other infamous figures — from Dwight Schrute to BoJack Horseman — gain clarity around their challenges. 

Episode Transcript

Jon Rom: [00:00:00] Character coaching is an exploration of coaching principles applied to fictional characters by the host. Any likeness to real people or situations is coincidental. And none of the advice given is intended to take the place of real coaching. Learn more about getting accessible

Jonathan Friedman: I'm Jonathan

Jon Rom: and I'm John

And this is Character Coaching coaching

Jonathan Friedman: character. So ching ching, ching

Jon Rom: ching.

Jonathan. I got another journal for us here. No, wait,

Jonathan Friedman: this is working. I didn't think we'd get this many

Jon Rom: I didn't think we'd get this far. All right. It's called it's titled Stuck I'm stuck in the same old, boring routine as always get up, get ready for my minimum wage job. Go to work, come back home.

Even the things that used to excite me like playing clarinet, painting, riding my bike, all feel pointless. I'm in a rut. It's even gotten to the point that I'm starting to welcome the annoyances in my life. My neighbor coworker is unbelievably loud and obnoxious, but I even find myself looking forward to seeing his stupid face, just to get some novelty into my life.

I don't know how it got to this point. I was going to be something incredible. Someone who took risks and made something of myself. Now, I feel like a cold, dead fish belly up in the water while I slowly wait for a bigger fish to come and eat. And this post was written by Squidward T. Squidward... I wonder if that's a, one of the Danish or something maybe of the Swiss Squidwards.

Oh, the Swiss. Ah, yes, the famous Swiss Squidwards.

Jonathan Friedman: Especially with the mention of the clarinet. I mean, gotta be Swiss, right?

Jon Rom: I mean, who would know who else plays the clarinet on this big, beautiful globe. Yeah, sorry.

Jonathan Friedman: I'm processing. And I was waiting to not over-talk you

Jon Rom: like

Jonathan Friedman: that old podcast, jim jam, you know?

Jon Rom: Yeah. All right. You know, I I'm just, I'm just what a bummer.

Jonathan Friedman: So, this is this, this is a journal. This is a journal. And John was, as Squidward's coach, like what are some of the things that you're starting to feel? Some of the things you're starting to notice in this journal, are by our good pals, Squidward.

Jon Rom: Just, well, so, it depends on the day, but some, some days I'd call this a bummer.

Some days I would, I simply. Look up at the sky and say mood, because this is absolutely something that I think we all go through at some point, the rut, the getting stuck in the same old routine feeling disenchanted with life and wanting it to just be more interesting, more fun, more novel. I don't know, Jonathan, what did you pick up?

Jonathan Friedman: I think it's sometimes we get journals that are ethereal and they can have a lot of different meanings that you can extract as a coach. And that's why we, and as we'll get to shortly, why we ask questions in a certain way, but especially in a journal like this, this is super explicit, the same old boring routine. They all feel pointless. I'm in a rut. Squidward is being and doing a great job is being super, super clear about what's going on in his head, in his life, in his world.

Jon Rom: Yeah. And it's, and w you know, what imagery, imagery that he conjures is very, very, I could tell he's very artistic because I feel like a cold, dead fish, you know, it's, it conjures up the image of something that's just gone completely belly up, but also something they used to be alive. Something they used to have lived in. It was swimming around you know, dooring around the ocean and then all of a sudden, boom, it's over and you don't have any, any Lester for life. The

Jonathan Friedman: last time I was belly up in the water, I was doing back float for my level seven swim test.

I can relate to that feeling, that, that annoyance, that rut having your ears in the water like that, man. What a weird feeling.

Jon Rom: You feel stuck, you feel stuck up and you feel stuffed up and you feel, you know, wet behind and in the air. It's not good. So, where do we go from here? How do we do, how do we, you know, it's my I've completely forgotten everything I've ever learned about coaching?

How do we, how do we approach this?

Jonathan Friedman: Well, lucky for you. I have my instruction manual right here. So whenever we're looking at a journal, it doesn't matter how explicit, how ethereal will, how, how anything, the first thing we gotta do is check our story, check our biases. As an example for me, I was so quick to just jump on my experience with back floating as the feeling of being belly up.

But for Squidward, it might be a different feeling after we check the story. After we take note of, you know, what our own beliefs are so that we can come carte blanche fresh to the journal. We want to get the story. We want to notice that we've acknowledged our beliefs, our experiences, and biases.

And now we can take all the time to ask all of the questions that we want. All of the questions are coming from the journal. It's time to get those spicy nugs, John.

Jon Rom: Okay. All right. So it sounds like we're going to have to understand a little bit more about the situation, because, you know, it sounds like Squidward doesn't know how it got to this plan, you know, I certainly don't.

So, I guess I would start with the minimum wage job, you know, where does he work and how long has he been working there and why does he feel like he's still there?

Jonathan Friedman: I think that's a really good question. And I think. A lot of coaches and a lot of people in the helping profession try and look right away for the juicy, juicy, hot dogs, spicy nug.

I dunno why I said hot dog. I'm so sorry, but they're trying to look for that really big thing first. And I loved your question, John, because we have to know everything about his job. Like it could be something like flipping burger patties or being a cashier. It could be something like working in construction.

Jon Rom: Yeah, it could be, it could be something very menial and it would, it would sort of lean into this idea of he's doing the same thing every single day. And that'll trigger. That'll trigger a lot of au nuit in, in someone's life, the the the desire for more, how, how can you avoid. But I don't want to assume. I don't want to assume, you know, not every bit of minimum wage job is menial, and not every, every routine is going to be something that gets you into a rut. Some people love routine and some people thrive in routine, but it's, it's all about understanding. Where is Squidward coming from? When, when he says that he he's looking for novelty.

In his life.

Jonathan Friedman: So, john, the question I was going to ask is around, I was going to be something incredible, which is what Squidward wrote in his journal. What is that incredible thing that he was going to beat? Was it being, you know, what, what are the professional biking competitions

Jon Rom: called? Cycling races.


Jonathan Friedman: What's he going to be a professional cyclist? That's the word? Was he going to be playing in? Maybe the Toronto symphony orchestra is a master clarinet player. What was something incredible going to be? What does that look like?

Jon Rom: To Squidward blue players are called flutists are clarinet players called clarinetists.

Jonathan Friedman: They are actually, that's astute.

Jon Rom: Clairenetist sounds like an adjective. I w you don't want people to describe you as, because you hate clarinets,

Jonathan Friedman: like, oh, that's so

Jon Rom: clarinetist of you. Oh, that's so clarinetist. Oh yeah. You only like woodwind instruments that are longer than this length... That's so clarinetist of you.

Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. Single Reed players only come

Jon Rom: on. Oh, man. I don't know enough about what, when the instruments to make up another thing, make up another one. What's tell me more about.

Jonathan Friedman: It's funny because we both went to school with someone who's like the most artful clarinet player we've ever seen.

And I feel like we should have asked more questions back.

Jon Rom: I really should have asked more questions. We never, we just said like, yeah, she's dope at the clarinet. I remember more do I need to understand? Yeah,

Jonathan Friedman: I remember. Her grandmother came into town and decided to put on this show and she was the most energetic captivating grandma I had ever met.

And her granddaughter is this clarinet player we're talking about. And I was the stage manager for the show and our good friend who had the reddest hair we've ever seen, played flight of the bumblebee. And she played it double time. And the piano player who was accompanying her was even struggling to keep up.

And I swear it was so beautiful to listen to, but watching it, her face got as red as her hair from, from playing woodwind is a, it's a hard instrument, man.

Jon Rom: Yeah, no kidding. I also knew what I knew about her, I was having expecting her to finish the piece. Stand up and drop the clarinet, like a mic at a rap battle.

They didn't happen, but I wouldn't have been shocked if she did it. I would say, yeah, that's on-brand.

Jonathan Friedman: I feel like that's what went on in their head.

Jon Rom: Absolutely.

Jonathan Friedman: So John back and back to the matter at hand here, back to our good friend, Squidward T is there anything else? I kind of pop out at this general that you're thinking, man, if I'm about to ask what were some questions I want to get to the stuff I want to ask this question.

What do you want to ask him?

Jon Rom: I want to know about the neighbor, coworker that's loud and obnoxious because it sounds like a love, hate relationship. It sounds like deep down. Squidward has an appreciation for this person but doesn't necessarily love all of the things that they do and how they show up in their life.

But what's, what's interesting is, is the, is the neighbor having this same experience? Can they relate? Can they relate to hating the monotony of their life? Or are they. Vibing, are they having a great time? It's hard to tell if they're loud and obnoxious, it could be because they're happy and, and, and having a lifelong party who knows.

Jonathan Friedman: Yeah. And I think. This is the perfect time to get to know all of the different characters in Squidward's, life. This is the best time.

Jon Rom: Absolutely. So I'm, you know what I'm going to do. I'm going to send these questions over to Squidward and we'll see if we can hear back from him and get some more insight into what's going on.

Jonathan Friedman: This

is the place where we can do it three months later.

Jon Rom: Three months later, actually it's been a couple of weeks and weeks later, two weeks later, I, you know, it's, it's weird this French guy once we, once I, once I read that first post it Squidward wrote a French guy started following me and describing lengths of time.

Jonathan Friedman: That's crazy how that happens.

Yeah, I

Jon Rom: don't, I don't know what that's about, but anyway, I did hear back. Yeah, exactly. You're F you're and you're so right. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to acknowledge respectfully acknowledge the Frenchmen in my room, and I'm going to keep on reading this follow-up post. I work at this local burger restaurant, not a chain, just a place where I thought I could get an easy job as a cashier while I pay the bills and spend my free time creatively expressing myself.

That's me in a nutshell, though, always waiting and taking the easy route and never taking chances. I feel like interesting things happen to people around me all the time. And I'm in the same place with the same mouth-breathing customers asking myself Squidward, why is this happening to you? That's so, so it seems to me that what we've learned here is that.

This was supposed to be a temporary position. This was supposed to be something that covered the bills so that he could express himself creatively. And maybe that's kind of where he thought things would go. He thought things would escalate as. You know, creatively expressed himself, he would be recognized for that.

He doesn't say that, but, but we know he wanted it to be something, and he wanted to dedicate all his free time to creative expression. I don't know. What do you think, John?

Jonathan Friedman: I think that's a really good job at really identifying the belief. Even in that first journal, we noted that rut Squidward was pretty explicit about it.

We're getting to know a lot more than Squidward. Feels like I'm doing that thing where I talk and talk and talk it's okay. We'll fix it in post. We're identifying what Squidward is struggling with, which in this case is that he wants to be doing those creative things, but feels stuck.

So I think that's an awesome job. And really what's interesting about that. Squidward here is for somebody who is struggling to express himself. I think he's doing a really good job expressing himself here. This is one of the most explicit, clear journals we've gotten. So I think it's a really interesting that he's struggling, you know, to express themselves creatively, but here he's really doing a bang-up job.

Jon Rom: I think, I think it's a challenge for us here to assume positive intent, where he says, he says that the customers are mouth breathing. We know, we know that he's frustrated. We know that he's sick of working this job and that and that it's not. It's not the customer's fault that he's still working there. So we need to look into what he's trying to say. When he, when he insults them, you know, if he doesn't think highly of the place that he works, then how can he feel, think highly about himself.

Jonathan Friedman: Well, so if you were to, you know, challenge that belief, finding the crux of what he's really struggling, what would you, what would you challenge?

What, what would you ask Squidward?

Jon Rom: I'd want to identify if he believes that what he has in his life so far is so bad because here's the thing routine can be changed. But if you look at what you have in everything you see is cruddy, then you're not going to have any wiggle room to, you're not going to have anything to build on.

There's no foundation. And I think that sometimes it's a matter of perspective. It's not about changing the things in your life. It's about understanding what is valuable in your life and building upon it.

Jonathan Friedman: And I think that's interesting because a lot of us as coaches would look at him and say, well, Squidward, you've got to sit down for 15 minutes minimum every day and k into the habit of being creative.

And every time you do that, 15 minutes of clarinet, we'll give you a sticker. We'll give you a bit of a reward and you know, that can be helpful for some people, but in this case, we'd be skipping past so much of the struggle that Squidward is facing. So I don't know. I, I love your question. I think that's a really important thing to get to.

Also one of the beliefs I want to challenge is that Squidward is calling these people to mouth breathers, but we know they have gills, like

Jon Rom: I have spent so many hours offering to teach you biology because I know, I know you'd never took an interest when we were in high school and. I, I feel like you really should have taken me up on the offer because it seems to me like you might have some misconceptions on how breathing works.

Jonathan Friedman: I regret the decision I made every single day, John.

Jon Rom: Well, you don't have to listen. Hey, if you want to start in a separate podcast, cause I'll only talk to you in the form of a podcast that's are per our agreement. I will teach you biology one unit at a time. At least to a grade 12 level

Jonathan Friedman: sick. And, and we'll do that in another podcast.

What would the podcast be called?

Jon Rom: Oh, bio bros. Nope. That sounds, that sounds like something else. It sounds bad.

Jonathan Friedman: Bio break?

Jon Rom: Bio break. That sounds like we would have to deal with litigation. That's a good question, I think the bio should be in there. We love alliteration. Don't we, we love, we love, we just love pairing things up.

Let's start with the same letters. Bio bullies?

Bio Boyeeeeez?

Bio Boyeeeeez!?!. And we add as many unnecessary vowels in there anyway, so, so we, we, we, yeah, this is, we feed up. We feed on each other is tangent. And, and we end up somewhere, what were we even talking about? Oh yeah. Squidward.

You gotta

Jonathan Friedman: be nice to me. Remember it's in our agreement, it's in our agreement.

Jon Rom: That's true. I signed it in blood, which was weird that you asked me to do that, but I did it.

Jonathan Friedman: Weird flex, man. It was a weird flex.

Jon Rom: So I would also want to understand, I also want to challenge Squidward to do something out of his comfort. Yeah. You know, it that's, that's how people who view themselves in a nutshell as, as, as, as taking the easy route and not taking chances, you know, that's, that's the way to get them out of the nutshell to crack it open with a Nutcracker called innovation and challenging and necessary challenge and necessity. We'll just, we just got to throw them the, into the deep end and see if they go belly up like a fish or if they swim.

Jonathan Friedman: I think that's a really interesting point and kind of back to what I was saying before about a lot of people would sort of jump and put things more into his routine that sort of rebuild that creative spark.

If we look at all of the journals we've gotten from Squidward so far, it's not necessarily about adding things into his routine. It's about the problem of a routine altogether. He's in a rut he's stuck. So cracking the rut with a nutshell rut shell, if you will, how do we. How do we break him out of that?

And I think you're challenging beliefs question is interesting, John. I think we should go ahead and ask Squidward

Jon Rom: All right. Let's give it a shot and see what goes,

Jonathan Friedman: give it the old college

Jon Rom: try.

Try. Would you like to ask the freshmen to inform us of the time that that's passed?

Jonathan Friedman: Excuse me, John it's French

Jon Rom: person. Sorry, French person. You're right. I apologize.

Jonathan Friedman: So John feels free to ask the French person to do his thing.

Jon Rom: I don't know his name. Hey, bill. I decided his name is bill. Hey, bill. How much time has passed...

Jonathan Friedman: three Weeks later.

Jon Rom: So I did get a message from Squidward he let us know that I have a house, a job, people who seem to care about me. Maybe I don't always take time out to appreciate those things. You told me to pick one challenging thing every day. And it's been kind of nice. I felt challenged to keep painting and even completed an impressionist piece of myself yesterday, taking life by the gills like that. Wasn't something I would have seen myself doing a few months ago. And I gotta tell you, Jonathan, he he sent me a picture of this painting. Woo hoo. Boy. It is. It is. It's bold. I will, I will give him that. It is, it is something.

Jonathan Friedman: Oh, and he also, I'm not sure if you remember our problem from the last segment of the show, but you wanted to reteach me about biology and bio boys, but here he's taking life by the gills.

So, I mean, get your facts straight.

Jon Rom: Well, this is why it needs to be a podcast. It needs to be a podcast because I think that there's a lot of people who are suffering, you know, you know what, remember when we were in school and they would say, you know, you should always ask questions because it's possible that if you're wondering three other people in the room are wondering, well, podcasts are just a, it's just an expansion on that idea.

Someone's wondering, do meet. Do, do folks have gills? And I'm here to answer that question.

Jonathan Friedman: I always got to end things off on the nice to know the day, John.

Jon Rom: Yeah. So it's what I do.

Jonathan Friedman: So. What are some of the things that sort of happened between before and now? Because before we saw, you know, there's that rut, there's that monotony, there's that tone?

That feels, well, I guess that's monotony. It's a tone. It's a monotone. But yeah. There's that struggle. And we felt that in the first journal and the follow-up post what's something that's sort of changed between that. And how do you

Jon Rom: think, well, I put myself in his shoes, you know, I, I thought to myself, like, I'm squid word.

I have a job. I have friends, I have a house. Why don't I appreciate those things? And when I thought about that, I said to myself, well, maybe it's because. I I've never pushed too. I've never really had anyone say, well, do you value the things in your life? And so when I did that and I kept on bringing up the resources that he has, it is at his, at his disposal.

I said it sounds like the fact that you're in a routine that you're in a rut that you, that you don't have anything on fire in your life. Is the problem, but maybe it's an opportunity. Maybe you can, maybe you can take this opportunity where everything seems to be pretty stable and just go after what it is that you want.

Take a risk on the things that you want. And I, and I, and I figured the best way to start that. Would it be to start small baby steps, pick a challenge? But the challenge that you want to complete. And he said he wanted to try to finish a painting that he'd been working on for a long time.

And, and you just go for it and it seemed to be the kick in the pants. That he needed. I don't know if he, I don't know if he wears pants. I don't want to assume that well,

Jonathan Friedman: and you just kind of assumed what his voice would be as well. I mean, did he leave you a voice recording?

Jon Rom: No, that's actually, that's the internal monologue that I have when I try to try to identify what my clients are thinking.

Jonathan Friedman: Amazing. And that that voice is, is something unique. So, John, one of the things that I like about this experience with Squidward is I think back again, I love talking about myself back to my early point when there were a lot of coaches and people in helping professions who sort of like lead with just motivation.

And the problem with that is that motivation can be helpful, but it requires it. Like good motivation requires a good relationship. And going through that journaling back and forth with Squidward, you're doing your job of showing up and listening and asking the right questions to Squidward. It gives Squidward that sense of trust.

That no matter what happens when he tries to go back to that, He knows you're in his corner. So even if he went back to that painting and, you know, he needed to be in that Redford just a little longer, he knows he would have still had your relationship to fall back on. Sometimes when we push people to, you know, just try this clarinet playing for 10 minutes every day.

If you do that, you're going to make a million. I don't know what currency they have down

Jon Rom: under is. In Australia, a dollars 'dollariedoos', I believe

Jonathan Friedman: how foolish of me to forget it. But if you, if we focus so much time on, if you just play clarinet for 10 minutes a day, you're going to make a million 'dollariedoos' in no time.

We're feting Squidward up for failure because if Squidward who's already in a rut and has been in a rut for a long time, tries to play clarinet for 10 minutes. And either doesn't make the money he wants or if it is as creative as he wants and falls back into that rut he'll have nothing to fall back on building that relationship first, before we sort of do the challenging it's really, it comes in clutch.

Jon Rom: It does, it does. And I came to understand that Squidward is surrounded by. His own set of characters, that all have a unifying theme in his life and that they care what happens to him and they, they want him to be happy and that understanding that his life wasn't really all that chaotic.

It was just, it was just a matter of his attitude and how he was showing up in his life that was affecting his viewpoint and his. His frame of mind. Oh, damn. 

Jonathan Friedman: I love that. John, that's amazing. We're gonna take a quick break. We're gonna go and see what the listeners have been saying on our, on our AOL messenger.

Jon Rom: Oh, my MySpace has been popping as it always does. Exactly.

Jonathan Friedman: All right. We got this question from, uh, from Barney and I'm excited to go through this with you, John, are you ready to rock and roll? 

Jon Rom: Um, yes, but I don't know what the rolling part of rock and roll means. 

Jonathan Friedman: It means getting down on the floor and rolling around. What else could it possibly mean?

Jon Rom: Alright. Meaning to work on my agility. Yeah, I think, I think I'm ready 

Jonathan Friedman: to rock 

Jon Rom: and 

Jonathan Friedman: roll. 

Ease your mind and roll around on the ground. 

All right, I'm rolling. Let's roll. Let's roll. Let's roll. So we have this question in from Bernie and I think it's a really interesting question. And the question is, is it possible for extroverts to get social anxiety?

And I think this is a really interesting question because I know for me as this guy who needs to a hundred percent recharge at every single turn, I look around at people around me who have. What are these big balls of energy? And I'm like, wow, they can just keep going and going and going and going. And they have no fear.

They have nothing, no anxiety, nothing stopping them from doing anything they want. And I'm like, man, I want to be like that. But is it so simple, John, do extroverts not, are they, are they invincible? 

Jon Rom: Well, do gold medalists in the Olympics. Get the jitters before they're about to do what they've done a thousand a million times before.

Do famous actors and actresses still get on stage? Before they go on stage. I think, I think that an extrovert will get a lot more practice being social, but the anxiety of, of, of being social isn't necessarily based on how often you do it, it's, it's based on your preconceptions on how it's gonna go. And w what your, what, your kind of unconscious thinking about that.

Jonathan Friedman: So John, I know you're, you're, you're a big ball of energy. And so you're saying that sometimes when you break through the karaoke room door and get ready to sing the Pokemon theme song for the hundredth time, you still get the jitters. Sometimes you're not, you're not immune. 

Jon Rom: Yeah. I think I think that the courage to go out and do things.

Uh, whether you're a type of person who, uh, social interaction drains your battery or social interaction, recharges you, the the courage to go and do things doesn't mean that you don't feel anxiety or fear. It just means that you do it anyway. And I know that every time I've ever gotten up to sing karaoke, uh, I've thought in the back of my head, Uh, what if this doesn't go so well, what if I embarrass myself, but then I've also learned to ask myself what if I don't, what if it goes well?

And also, what if I just want to sing the entirety of Bohemian 

Jonathan Friedman: Rhapsody? Oh, heck yeah. That's me. That's

Jon Rom: our song. We have, you know, I don't, I have yet to find a song, uh, for, for my current relationship, but I don't, I know that we have a song and so, and so worst comes worst-case scenario. I know what's going to play with.

Jonathan Friedman: Oh, oh, heck yeah. I remember there was that one time we went to this dingy karaoke place at four o'clock on like a Tuesday when you were in from school once and nobody else showed up. So we just did karaoke, just you and me. And I can't sing for anything, but I can scream. So I remember just going.

Full out on like high screams and pitch screaming and Gutterals, and then after the karaoke guy looked at and said, you're not bad kid, the only 

Jon Rom: review you need, 

Jonathan Friedman: that's all I've ever needed.

So in that case, they work there. I think what's interesting to me about extroverts and introverts and ambiverts and all the different verts is that I almost see those labels.

I think, understanding yourself in terms of labels, that can be a really important way to sort of understanding where you fit in. But I also think they have some limitations because as we say a lot on this show, Everybody is very different and it has a lot of different needs. And I think it's our job as people to look at what we need in any situation, what do we need before going into a social situation?

What do we need to do after to recharge? What do we need to do in a social situation to feel safe? You know, if we're going. Um, to like for me, for example, like I get anxious going to clubs where I don't know anybody and having one person who I do know can be helpful and helps to create that safety.

So the question is, is, is it...noticing that extroverts can also have social anxiety or is it noticing that you as a person can experience that and, you know, bringing in the structures, the facilities, the the the tools to sort of do what you need to feel good. 

Jon Rom: Yeah, your every, every single person listening to this is a unique iteration on humanity.

And there are no rules to what you are and are not allowed to feel. So if you are someone who considers yourself extroverted and you feel social anxiety, not only does that make perfect sense, but the way that you deal with it is also probably going to be unique and different from someone else. 

Jonathan Friedman: Yeah, I think that's so, so true.

And so, uh, as some of you might know, I do a stream on Twitch and one of the things I do is answer Quora questions. Quora is a platform where people ask questions and me as a Jonathan, I must answer, I am obliged. And one of the questions that keep coming up is if I'm in this specific situation, Can I also experience anxiety or can I experience depression and what can I do to sort of work through it and no matter the situation, no matter the person, these are all very human experiences.

And you must bring in some tools and some structures to sort of manage emotions. And it doesn't matter who you are. It's important for everybody. And one of the things that for me is important is. Even if it's not something that you feel is severe, it's really important to go to a therapist, to a coach, to a counselor and just talk to them about what you're going through and talk about some tools that you know, are rightful.

Uh, there are lots of different practices. It could be something like journaling, it could be going to therapy or coaching or counseling. It could be, you know, switching up your exercise, diets, sleep regime. There are so many different factors and talking to a professional to sort of, you know, build that strong foundation is a great way to get the ball.

Jon Rom: Yeah. And for all you, all you science nerds out there like me getting external feedback on internal observations is never a bad idea. That's just good science baby. 

Jonathan Friedman: Very cogent of you John. Thank you. Very cogent. So for all of you out there wanting to do, as Barney has done, and shares your, question with us so we can answer it live on the air, you can feel free to do so by shooting us an email at

You can also follow us and reach out on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, even Quora, um, stumble upon. Um, Tumblr Shelfari. Is that a thing? 

Jon Rom: Apparently for books, something about books. Oh, quetchup it's sort of friendship and dating. Probably 

Jonathan Friedman: not that one. No, no, we're not on Quetchup now. We're not on Quetchup.

Don't try to find us there... Don't spend the time. We're not there. Yeah. Don't don't 

Jon Rom: spend any time on Quetchup.

Jonathan Friedman: Character coaching is a production of the journal that talks back a product, a frame of mind coaching to get accessible coaching for just $200 a month. Book, a free intake call at Our music is the swindler by the original orchestra. Featuring Ian post. Our editing is done by one of the Jonathan's on the show, which one we'll never tell.