MGU 372 | Problematic


We all have our own struggles and different ways of dealing with them. Some of us choose to expose our vulnerability by connecting with others and drawing strength from our relationships. Others face the challenges head-on and without reservations, while the rest of us deal with them on our own. Either way, we will have different experiences with people and may not share the same opinion about them. At some point, we choose not to express our views and show who we are for fear of being judged and labeled as problematic. In this episode, Coach Lee Hopkins shares insights on how problematic is being perceived and how self-discovery, staying authentic to ourselves and respecting our differences can help us resolve our conflicting impressions or ideas so we can agree to disagree. He also talks about board game meetups, developing vulnerability and intimacy with yourself and others, and why we need to defeat shame, build self-esteem, and set boundaries. After all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

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The Problem With Problematic: Staying True To Yourself And Respecting Differences With Coach Lee Hopkins

I’ve been having a wonderful conversation with my guest, Coach Lee Hopkins. I am so thrilled when I have someone like Coach Lee, who is an open book, but also shows up as someone I immediately feel comfortable at ease and interested in. It doesn’t happen with every guest, believe it or not. Certainly, the show is about leaning into discomfort when it happens. It is my preference when I feel a very natural and organic rapport with somebody. That feeling you get when you’re smiling a lot on your cheeks is how I feel.

You’re such a joy to talk with. You and I were getting into this flow. There’s probably a bunch of things we’ve already said that no one will ever hear, but it’s just us. We’re trying to jump in. The point in which we were starting a discussion was based on my inquiry where I had seen Coach Lee posting on his wonderful TikTok account. One thing I love is that you do these journal prompts there. One of them I found fascinating was what did they think about Pringles? What’s their favorite flavor of Pringles? What was the exact question?

Have you ever eaten an entire can of Pringles? That’s the prompt, and why? Tell us some more detail about what the heck happened.

I’m laughing because before we started, I opened up a bag of not Pringles but plant-based cheese puffs and thought I would have a handful and ended up finishing the whole bag. To answer your why question, much like Pringles, it was that they tasted good, but I was also hungry. The lunch I had didn’t fill me up enough. I have positive associations with Pringles for a number of reasons. Although, I now prefer the natural brand that has less preservatives. I think Pringles also might not be gluten-free or something. There was a reason I started avoiding them beyond any other, like overly processed or non-plant-based ingredients.

That’s so awesome because the whole prompt is supposed to get conversations started. We talked about the Pringles, but now we’re talking about the rest of your diet. What are you eating? Why? That’s why we get to know each other. It is through those kinds of things, knowing what about our lives have changed, why they’ve changed, and been willing to share those with others. That’s pretty awesome that you didn’t stop and say, “I’ve never eaten an entire can,” and left it there. We want a conversation and to connect.

Isn’t Pringle’s whole tagline like once you pop, the fun doesn’t stop or something like that? Do they still use that?

Yeah. I don’t know if it’s problematic now.

It could be problematic, I suppose, but there’s a whole other reason I’m bringing up this Pringles prompt. When I heard that, I started laughing to myself because it reminded me of this comedic performance by Bo Burnham. For those that are curious, this was from 2016 on one of his specials, and it’s called “Can’t Handle This.” He is doing his own version of a Kanye West song. Not only in that performance but probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard him say is related to Pringles. When I first saw this performance, I was laughing so hard, but from a place of I would’ve never thought to turn something like that into a punchline. After I had that thought, I paused because I found myself wondering if Coach Lee would know that reference.

There’s always that moment when you meet someone new, you share something, and they don’t know what you’re talking about. That did happen before we started. You weren’t even sure who Bo Burnham was. I was a little relieved because my other question was whether or not you thought Bo Burnham was problematic. I don’t even know for sure, but I’ve heard references to some people having some issues with him. That started a whole dialogue with us where I’d love to start with your response to me bringing up someone like Bo Burnham potentially being problematic.

Everyone at some point in time can be seen as problematic. Click To Tweet

My response about him being problematic is that everyone, at some point in time, gets labeled as problematic. It happens on a larger scale for people who are more visible. When we’re talking as individuals to each other, there’s something problematic about it. The problem is that they’re being their authentic self. They’re showing who they are, what they think, and how they feel about things. It goes against somebody else’s standard, which hurts us. It stops us from making the connections that we want to make.

When people say problematic, I’m like, “What is about what they said that you don’t understand and don’t like?” I know problematic can be considered for racist people, transphobic people, or sexist people. We can slap on problematic for everything. The problem with problematic, what I don’t like about problematic, and I don’t understand, is that if we are trying to get the behavior to change, how does labeling it as a bad thing motivates someone to want to change in a genuine way? I don’t think it does. Throwing that label as problematic is counterproductive.

It’s confusing, too, because once I started asking you about Bo Burnham, I realized I don’t have a lot of data to back up my thought about him being problematic. All I could think of was maybe two people online saying that they didn’t like him. Something happened during one of his live performances. While their experiences are valid, what’s interesting is there hasn’t been anything else that he’s done that I’ve perceived as problematic, but I’m taking somebody else’s experience with him and opinion of him into account for myself.

That feels confusing to me because I’m curious how you feel about that balance. Respecting that somebody else had a bad experience with someone. Since your expertise and focus in life now is about friendship, Coach Lee, you’re thinking a lot about communication and relationships. This reminds me of times when I’ve had an issue with somebody, perhaps a friend, an acquaintance, or maybe a stranger. I’ve realized that other people that I know haven’t had an issue with that person. I’m sure you’ve gone through that too. That’s got to be pretty common.

It is pretty common. I liked that you brought it down to a relatable friendship level because it’s easy to see or feel we have power and action that we can take in our own friendships rather than in our relationships with celebrities or people in public. There’s something that we’re not going to like about someone or we’re going to hear that we shouldn’t like about them, but our interactions with them were fine.

You want to take it to a level where we talk about being Black and trans. I’ve heard all this stuff about trans people, but you’ve never met one, and you haven’t had this experience. I’ve heard all these things about Black people and never hung out with them, but you’ve heard about other people’s experiences or seen it on TV. It makes it easy to pull it into our friendships and relationships to see it in people around us. That’s where we can do in the actionable part of it.

In my friendships, if I’ve had a scenario in which I was told I shouldn’t like this person because they’re a jerk for some reason, and my experience with them has not been that. Now I’m a problem with the other person who’s told me not to hang out with them. I’m problematic. If we scale it down to Bo Burnham, if he’s problematic to somebody or those people who out there are problematic, you haven’t had that experience. Go and see what that experience is. Research or do something that makes you feel that you don’t want to believe in them.

MGU 372 | Problematic

Problematic: The problem with problematic is that if we are trying to get the behavior to change, how does labeling it as a bad thing motivate someone to want to change in a genuine way?


You don’t want to enjoy them anymore. Figure it out for yourself, and don’t take someone else’s word for it. When you figure that out, the benefit of doing that as a friendship coach is to understand yourself more. What is it that you’re going to tolerate more? What is it that’s important to you? Is it the word of another person and being accepted by a bunch of people, or is it what you truly deeply believe and understand for yourself? What is it?

That leads to a follow-up question that feels unclear to me. I’m curious about your perspective on this. There’s a huge part of me that strives to “do the right thing,” which I’m laughing about because I feel like it’s a little bit impossible given what you said. No matter how hard I try my best intentions, I make mistakes often. It’s tough because I don’t like offending, hurting, bothering, or annoying someone. I feel a lot of times I’m trying to avoid that. One term you brought up was like a misunderstanding. That’s one of my least favorite, if not the least favorite, thing I have about social situations, a fear of being misunderstood. Along with that, I find myself leaning in when I hear about somebody having a bad experience with someone else.

I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking, “If Coach Lee had a bad experience with this person, if that person was rude or disrespectful to Coach Lee, I’m on Coach Lee’s side. I don’t want to associate myself with this person.” This has happened a lot to me personally, but it also is interesting from, as we mentioned, the more celebrity side of things or a public figure. An example that came to mind as I was thinking through this was Woody Allen. I watched a documentary about Woody Allen and the accusations. The same thing with Michael Jackson. I remember watching that big documentary that came out about Michael Jackson where he was being accused of things.

For both people, there are two sides to it. There are the people making the accusation saying, “This is what happened to me, believe me.” There’s another side of people that’s saying, “I don’t believe you because Woody Allen was saying he didn’t do those things,” or whoever else. You can come up with many examples of these public figures that have been accused of doing something they’re denying.

I find that confusing because it’s like, “Who do you believe? Do you believe the person that had the bad experience and is saying to the world, ‘This person is problematic? They need to be canceled or held accountable.’” Can it be an and/or reaction where you can still believe and have compassion for the person that supposedly did something but saying that they didn’t? That I find hard to navigate.

I may be the first person to say on your show, but I’m uncomfortable. It’s a big question. I am trying to scale it down again to the between me and you. Eventually, if we pull out all the other people, we feel what’s right for ourselves. There’s a whole bunch of ideas within the question that you asked me. I want to go back to where we started when you started about the idea of not offending someone or trying to make sure that you’re very understanding. The misunderstanding is a pain point for relationships and friends, being connected with people in the first place, and doing the right thing. I’m pulling it way back.

I would say that, at some point in time, I picked up the idea that it makes it easier for me to be myself if I recognize that I’m always doing the right thing. The right thing is to honor how I feel and my own emotions. No one else in the world can tell me how I feel. I know it deep down. Unconsciously, let’s say my body wants to respond to something like, “I don’t agree with their assessment of this person being a terrible or mean person.”

It makes it easier for me to realize that I'm always doing the right thing if I'm honoring myself. Click To Tweet

I want to say that, but I don’t because I want to keep my friend and that connection in mind, but I’m not being honest and genuine with myself because I want to make sure that they’re all set. I am doing things like that disrupt the connection that you could have with that friend because you’re not being open and honest with them. They need to see the truth in you and have to deal with the fact that it’s not that you don’t believe them. It’s also, “This is your experience.”

What we want to do is share our experiences with each other in a way that is genuine for us but not attack the other person. We’re not attacking them, Whitney, by saying, “This is not my experience. This is what I’ve experienced. I believe you and I’m going to pay attention.” Keeping in mind the idea of us doing the right thing. I said that we always do the right thing. Even if you say, “I do believe you, and I’m never going to talk to that person again,” the reason why it’s the right thing is because you’re going to learn from this experience.

You’re going to learn from the experience of doing that. If it’s something that feels good to you and you keep it up, you keep it up. For myself, I’ve found that doing things that go against what I want to do has always hurt my relationships with other people. I don’t recommend that we do so. He’s scaling it up to these people who’ve had these accusations by larger groups of people and more people. It’s not that I don’t believe you in your experience, but this is my experience with this person. By the way, I’ve never been in close contact with them.

I’ve never known them on the level that you have. You’re the closest thing that I have to understand the experience that you’ve had with them because you’re telling me what this is like. I can’t imagine because I’m not there. I have a fantasy idea of what that person might be and how they might behave. I don’t know for sure, but again, it’s not that I don’t believe you. I want to understand that this is my experience with it.

There are some expectations now that I believe you or you’re sharing your story with me, maybe they expect me to behave. What do you want me to do in that case? It comes down to this. What happens in public is that we see people who have been accused and are like, “I believe the person who’s been accused. Now we’re going to something and be on their side.” I’d like to hear more about their experience. I like to hear what they want me to do about it. How can I comfort them? How can I help them if I’m willing to do so?

We have to absolutely be honest with ourselves about those accusations. I’m going to be honest with you right here. Michael Jackson was a big hero of mine, and I enjoy his music still to this day. I’m not even on, but I can get canceled for saying that. I know it’s absolutely true for me. No matter what people say, think, or feel about it, it doesn’t change the fact that I feel that way, but it could change how much I speak about it because I don’t want to interact with other people. It’s all about us deciding and honoring how we feel about ourselves. That’s the conclusion that I’ve come to.

It’s beautifully said and shows that this is complicated. It’s not right or wrong this way. There’s so much nuance, gray areas, and fluctuations too. It certainly can go in different directions. Sometimes I struggle trying to navigate complex things like any prejudice, whether racism, sexism, or all of these issues where it’s saying like, “I don’t like you because you do this. You look like this or you are something.” Being White sometimes, I wonder how much of my experience. It seems like it’s super limited to heterosexual White and cis-gendered.

MGU 372 | Problematic

Problematic: What is important to you? Is it another person’s word and being accepted by a bunch of people? Or is it what you truly deeply believe and understand for yourself?


If I can’t understand somebody else who isn’t that, my experience is my experience. If I’m trying to have compassion and understand someone, I have to go outside of my experience, if that makes sense. I’m curious, in the context of things like that, where you’re so different from somebody, but you want to relate to them no matter how hard you try, you can’t because you have a natural bias towards who you are and who they are.

That’s a natural bias. I liked the way you pulled that in there because I think that spiritually. I spiritually believe that we’re all connected in some way. We all have this consciousness that we share with each other. I take that with me. When I say this, I believe that we have the same experience. Although you say that you’re a ciswoman who’s White and heterosexual, I am a Black man who is trans. Pansexual is how I identify.

We all have an experience in which we feel like we cannot be ourselves. We’re all having this experience of being humans. There has been one point in time in our lives, at least one, but many millions, I’m sure, where we cannot express exactly who we are, how we felt, and what we wanted to do. We couldn’t go because of something that another person had said to us. We’ve had that imposed upon us because maybe our caretakers or parents or something like that has had that happen to them. They were not able to be themselves in some way, suppressed housewives, working men who were always busy under the thumb of their boss.

Black man who’s pulled over by the police, all the time, harassed. This idea of a strong Black woman, trans people who don’t live out loud, be gay, be this, and be that. We’ve all had that experience in which we were not allowed to be something we wanted to be. Go with the feeling that we feel in our hearts. We aren’t able to do that. In some capacity, we’ve learned how to do that. It’s ingrained to us.

We’re having all the same experience because we’re doing it to each other. I see Whitney. I don’t want you to be you because of all the things I know about white people who may have the privilege. I know that you travel. I hate you now. I don’t want you to travel because I can’t do it. You can’t be yourself and live authentically out loud. You can’t talk about your problems because I’ve got problems and so forth.

Physically, in this physical world, we believe that there’s a difference between those people who have a lot of things. They have a lot of money, wealth, and privilege, but it’s only because, collectively, we believe that they should have that. As soon as we realize that, we create that by believing that they have everything and I don’t.

As soon as we stop thinking like that and we start thinking, “I’m me and I’m awesome.” Everybody starts thinking that “I’m me. I’m awesome. I’m able to be who I am in the space no matter what anyone else says.” The next person would be like, “They’re able to be themselves. They’re not trying to make me be somebody else either. I’m going to be myself.” We continue on and spread that way. When I think about us having the same experience and consciousness, I think about that right there. As soon as I stop looking at you as the cause of my problem, I can be myself. I’m limiting myself. You don’t have any power over me. I don’t have any power over you. You do what you do, respond to me, and sometimes people react. The reaction is where we see so much chaos.

We all have the same experience because we're doing it to each other. Click To Tweet

I’m curious how you define being yourself because that’s also not as simple as it sounds. We hear that messaging so much throughout our lives, at least I did, which is, “Do it, be yourself.” The older I get, I’m like, “I don’t even know if I know who myself is,” not in a bad way, but I’m discovering layers and layers, but I’m also changing constantly. There are parts of me that I identify with from when I was a little kid and feel vastly different than who I was ten years ago.

Coach Lee, you went through a transition that was something I’m curious about. Is that something you always identify with? Is it something that you’ve learned about yourself? For you being yourself is a different expression than I’m talking about. For me, it’s been fully internal and my own. For you, it’s come external and is something that you’re addressing frequently. I’m curious about two things. 1) What does it mean to be ourselves? How do we know who ourselves is? 2) What’s your experience been through your evolution?

What does it mean to be yourself? Throughout life, we have experiences that shape who we are. I think it starts when we’re young. We are born knowing a bit about who we are, what we like, and our preferences passed on through our genes. Unconsciously, we have done things since birth. We’ve always done things that have been natural to us. We’ll cry when we need help. We’ll poop when we need to. No one’s taught us to do those things.

As we grow up, we have our caretakers or society tell us what we feel we cannot act upon. Don’t touch the stove. That’s a great thing. We shouldn’t touch the hot stove, but also don’t speak up when you’re upset. Don’t say what’s on your mind at this point in time because it’s rude. We do not understand why we’re doing this. We’re conditioned by our external environment.

I say this because unconsciously, we have something in there that is ourselves, but our world has conditioned us not to express it. When I say becoming yourself or being yourself is that you are expressing the thing that feels natural to you based on how you feel about it and letting the world respond. That’s what it is. That’s what’s being natural, saying the thing that’s going to get you in trouble but letting the world respond.

If you are observant, see the same thing, and the world responds to it in a way that is going to hurt you, it’s likely you’re going to keep that quiet. You’re not going to say it as loud, but you still have a desire to express that. The desire for connection and friendship comes in with that. It’s very useful for that because you need at least one person to talk about your truth. I say that is your truth. How do you feel about something at a given moment and time? I feel angry about the fact that you stepped on my foot. I’m not going to apologize to you because you stepped on my foot. I’m going to be angry about it.

Suppressing that stuff doesn’t feel right and your truth. I say being your authentic self is expressing that. We’re all looking for somebody to tell us that what we’re feeling is okay. The way I express myself, if it’s not what the world wants me to show, I want at least one person to tell me it’s okay. That’s what we’re looking for and not taking it a step further. It’s the understanding of why I want to do it in the first place that makes me feel loved.

MGU 372 | Problematic

Problematic: No matter what people say or think or feel, it doesn’t change how you feel, but it could change how much you speak about it. It’s all about deciding for ourselves and honoring how we feel.


All we’re looking for is someone to share our experiences with that can understand how we feel about those experiences and demonstrate that they understand how we feel about the experience. I like to use this analogy about going to the movies. We go to the movies together. I will take you to a movie that I enjoy. Let’s say Marvel Universe movies or something like that. I love it. It’s absolutely amazing. I like the special effects and everything. You come out, and you’re like, “That’s the worst. I didn’t like this.”

How are we going to connect and talk to each other? How are we going to know each other? We had the same experience of seeing the same movie, but we had different feelings about it. We want to connect with each other. This is what we were talking about. It’s curiosity. Both of us can become curious about each other’s experiences. This is why we’re doing this episode. You’re asking about my experience.

Lots of other people are curious about the experience, but we’re connecting it over curiosity. If you are willing to listen to how I felt about the experience, then we can connect. Some of us have this same experience, and we also have the same feeling about the experience. Let’s say we’re going to watch the movie together. I still love it. I think the sound effects are great. The special effects are wonderful.

You also liked the movie, but you liked it because you liked the actors in the movie. You liked the camera work and the cinematography. I have no interest in that. Here again, we had the same experience. We feel the same level of joy and excitement for the experience, but we’re not connected because the reason why you enjoy the experience is different from what I enjoyed the experience.

We’re seeing this a lot on a bigger scale, but we can bring it back to us understanding each other because of curiosity. I say that expressing your authentic truth and who you are is all those things. It’s having this experience, talking about the feeling you had of the experience and why you had that experience, having someone demonstrate that they understand how you feel about the experience, having all that why everything underneath makes you connected.

I went off a bit about understanding and connection and being your authentic self. That’s what I believe is true about being authentic. To answer your second question about transition, I’m glad you pulled it out the way you did because I share the fact that I transitioned because it’s something that’s physical and that people can see, but my experience is not unique. Only 1% of the population is trans, but I’m saying that everybody goes through an experience in which you believe that if you change in some way, your life is going to be better. Things are going to be different, but everything you do is internal.

This is what I discovered. That was the big epiphany. Honestly, I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I felt like I couldn’t make friends or connect with people there. I went to college and was hoping to have different connections with people. That didn’t work out so much. I had an opportunity to leave Ohio and move to California. I did and I met new people. I was big on the karaoke scene. It had lots of people who knew me. They knew me, but they didn’t know me. I was still hiding something. I thought, “I need to leave California and move to Chicago, where I am now.” This is where I transitioned from female to male.

Our world has conditioned us not to express ourselves. Click To Tweet

All along the time when I was in Ohio, I wasn’t sure of myself. I started dating women, so I presented as a lesbian in Ohio. Part of the reason why I moved from Ohio to California was that I could be open and be out. This was back in the early 2000s. I was out and made lots of friends, but I wasn’t able to be trans. I didn’t know what the language was and what it was. I thought that there’s something that I’m hiding from them. I moved to Chicago then I transitioned. I met the queer community, 1% of the population who has been through the physical experience I’ve had.

They could understand my experience, but still, I was disconnected from them because I had found something else to hide. I had the privileged that I hid. For example, I worked for a Fortune 500 company and they paid for my surgery. I had all the medical care I needed, but many people in the circle in the queer community are struggling to find that. I felt like I couldn’t talk about that. They don’t understand my experience of going through this process.

You and I are both trans, but I had a different route to go through. I had different experiences and can’t seem to share and connect with you because you don’t understand how it is. You look at me like everything is so easy. No, everything wasn’t easy for me. I struggled as you did. We have the same experience. Those who out there who were like, “I’m not trans,” Sure, you’re not. That’s fine,” but I am.

You can see the manifestation of me searching for something outside myself and how the change wasn’t outside myself. To be clear, I’m not saying that I don’t want to be trans and that I regret my transition. I’m saying that what I needed to make friends and make a real change in my life was a change of mindset. Everything needed to be inside. It’s the idea that I’m able to express my authentic self and be okay with the world responding. My transness is a physical manifestation of me being my authentic self and having the world respond.

I love the way that you worded that. It’s so insightful. As I was sharing with you before we started, I’m grateful for you sharing your experience, too, given such a small percentage of the population is trans. Like many or maybe even most people, I have not had a lot of direct experiences with trans people before. I want to because I want to understand it. You and I are also talking about how me being a very curious person.

The way that I hide myself commonly is a form of mask game based on my experience in life. People tend to feel uncomfortable. As you shared earlier, you were uncomfortable. I’m used to people being uncomfortable around me by the questions that I ask, but that’s a vulnerability of mine. That’s a discomfort for me because I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable. However, we’ve been talking about we’re not responsible for somebody else’s experiences or discomfort.

It takes away from who we are if we’re hiding something. We’re changing something about who we are or how we want to show up in order to make someone else comfortable. Is that something that you experience frequently? To me, you feel so confident and self-assured. You have this flow to you that feels adaptable. I’m curious if that’s an accurate representation of your experience, or do you find that you still hold back to an extent in order to try to create some comfort within a social situation?

MGU 372 | Problematic

Problematic: As soon as you stop looking at others as the cause of your problems, you can be yourself.


I appreciate that you shared your vulnerability. You can identify that you’ve hidden in some way because that’s what we all do. We hide some ways, somehow, sometimes, and some place. We do that. That’s one of the ways that I hide myself too. It’s me being mindful of asking the questions that make people uncomfortable. It’s a form of love because I believe love is understanding the person.

After many instances with people who will shut down, I understand their why behind the experience. Why does asking these questions upset them? Maybe because they don’t know the answers. I think about this relating to my own experience because people would ask me, “What do you like to do for fun?” I had no idea. I honestly couldn’t tell you. I drank, watched Netflix, and played Candy Crush. Those were things that I did, and I would feel attacked, “Why do you play Candy Crush?” Isn’t it obvious? I like the game. Why? There’s no why behind it. There’s nothing else. What are you looking for? What are you trying to do with this information?

I’d feel frustrated, and they’d feel frustrated because they’re trying to get to know me. “I don’t know myself. Don’t ask me these questions.” I didn’t realize that I didn’t know myself, and it felt like an attack. That comes from not knowing ourselves way back when we started to. We’re trying to express our authentic selves like, “No, don’t do that.” We shut it down and stopped paying attention to those things that brought us joy and why they brought us joy.

We know that we are supposed to respond to our environment. With so much conditioning of responding to our environment, it is now becoming ingrained in us. Now somebody is trying to pull us out of that. We learned not to say who we are. We’ve learned that. Don’t ask me about it. When I come to people, and they respond to 2 or 3 questions in a way that seems uncomfortable or they don’t know the answers, then I think, “I have to remember that I understand where they are and it’s uncomfortable for them to come out right now.” Don’t pry, don’t push, and try to keep it safe.

Try to keep it safe for them. I’m not interested in trying to pull anybody out of the space that they’re in that’s uncomfortable. People come to me as a coach. I’m like, “I know exactly where you are. If you’re ready to come out, let me help you get out. Here are some questions, ideas, or thoughts you can exercise or do to help yourself get moving forward.” To answer your question, Whitney, I run into this a lot. Curious people do a lot because we want to know more about ourselves.

By getting to know other people, we get to know ourselves a little more too. We get to know what their experiences are and how we can respond to them. How would we respond to a new experience? We see ourselves in a whole new light when someone shares who they are with us. You and I are looking for that. Some people aren’t yet and don’t know they need it yet. They might be looking for it in the form of a promotion, new car, girlfriend, partner, baby, or something like that. They might be looking for that fulfillment and those things, but it is knowing who you are.

You have such a nice way with words. I love listening to you talk about all this. It’s bringing up so many things for me. I can see how you’re very inquisitive like I am too. Even the journal prompts that you post on TikTok that get you thinking about something. I would love for somebody to ask me that Pringles question. I’ve said these many times. I do not like small talk. In social situations, I get anxious when I’m anticipating small talk. I feel most comfortable in situations that are either structured in a way to avoid it. I will also do whatever I can. If I go to a party, I feel like I’m scanning and like, “Is this person going to ask me how my day was or something? Are they going to ask me things?”

You need at least one person to talk about your truth. Click To Tweet

I’ll find a way to either avoid that conversation altogether or leave the conversation. My brain is constantly thinking about those things socially. Social situations can feel quite intense for me. An example of that was I returned from a retreat, and it was about a week long. I was looking forward to it because I thought, “I’m going to this retreat and I’m going to get to know myself better. I’m going to take some time off and do all this inner work because I love that stuff. I look forward to getting uncomfortable, digging deeper, crying, and all that stuff.

What was interesting is I may have cried one time, but it wasn’t in a way that I expected. What I didn’t expect was for the social parts of that retreat to be tough. I found myself, by probably day three of this retreat, feeling so deeply uncomfortable, and I was the odd one out. I don’t know if anyone in there like me. That must have been the work for me because I hadn’t experienced that in so long. Normally, with new people, you have those moments like at a party, you only talk to them for an hour or so, and you may never see them again.

You connect, you have follow-ups, and maybe that builds into an actual friendship, but it’s pretty rare as adults that we’re with people consistently for a whole week. After we finish school or if we’re not going to a new job or something, how often are we presented with ongoing exposure to new people or the same group of people? I had no idea I was going to react that way and feel so insecure. In hindsight, that was great for me. At that time, it was deeply uncomfortable because as you’ve been saying, I didn’t know if I could be my full self. I think I was trying to be at first.

I either interpreted or felt some of their reactions that the flow wasn’t there. I’m curious, what is your advice in a situation like that? Where you have to spend time with people, you can’t leave like I would at a party. You can’t avoid these socials. You’re in it together and you have to deal with yourself. How do you do that inner work on yourself until they manage your insecurity socially? How do you find a way to show up as your true self if you feel like you can’t be your true self? How do you do it anyway?

I thank you for your vulnerability because I painted myself into your shoes in this picture because I’ve had that experience myself. I was in the Army and have been around people who I didn’t like. I’m not going anywhere. I’m right there with you. This is basic training, and I’m connected to these people that didn’t behave the way I thought they should behave. I felt excluded, and so forth.

Back to you and your experience, I feel like you’ve done what you can do. What I understand I heard you say is that you were mindful of how you were feeling, and you worked through that. That’s what the whole purpose of it is the meaning of life, connecting with people in the retreat or being with people in the first place. The ultimate goal of life is to find people with who you can be your authentic self and find people who will demonstrate that they understand how you feel.

What you’re doing is every opportunity you have like this is an experiment. You could say, “I know that I’m probably not going to see these people for the rest of the year or week. I know that I’m feeling this way in this situation. This is an opportunity for me to learn something.” This is where people talk about being intentional about what you’re going to learn from other people.

MGU 372 | Problematic

Problematic: Everybody goes through an experience in which you believe that if you change in some way, your life will be better. Things are going to be different, but everything you do is internal.


Be intentional about how you’re going to behave, see how they’re going to react, and see how you feel about their reaction to you. This is what I’ve done. I’ve tried different things. I’m in a situation in which I’m very uncomfortable. I’m still out there making new friends and trying to meet people who understand me. I go to this board game night. I remember the first time I showed up.

I was like, “No one wants to talk to me.” I came in with that mentality and idea, but there are plenty of people there. They didn’t see me. None of that. I already have this social anxiety. I muddle around in the night and leave. I come back the next time with the idea that, “Even if no one wants to talk to me, when I feel like that, I’m going to sit down and are going to have a conversation.”

I have my conversation, and then I get the feeling that at least people around me are not interested in me. “I got that feeling. What am I going to do with that? Am I going to stay or am I going to leave, or I’m going to stay to see what it feels like and go through that?” The next time I went, I sat down and had a conversation with people that I didn’t know if they didn’t like me, but I enjoyed playing the game together. That’s all I know. I was focused on me enjoying and playing the game. After I talked to them, they were like, “Let’s hang out. Let’s do this next time. I’ll be here next week. “ I had no idea that was coming, but I was happy and excited to be there and authentic to myself.

I knew I wanted to play this game and connect with people and I did that. It happened to work that way. What I’m saying is that what you did is focused on how you felt in this situation and keep moving the situations that make you feel comfortable acknowledging that. The one thing that you do not want to do is move into a situation in which you feel like you cannot be your authentic self and stay there. You met people that you felt that you could be your authentic self. Now you’re in this space that you can’t change or move. Experiment with that experiment by doing different things to see what is authentic. What would you say that would get the conversation started? Say it.

It doesn’t matter because they’re not going to be around. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how they feel about it. It’s about how you feel about it. Let them respond to your expression of being yourself. You can deal with that expression to get more practice doing those things. It’ll be easier for you to be like, “Yeah, people react to me like this all the time.” You are so used to people reacting to the way you ask them questions that you’re like, “People do that.”

You move to a different group of people. You’ve developed a whole new set of skills to deal with that, to find the people that you want to talk to. You don’t waste your time. It’s figuring out what it looks like for you. Being in a space, you had to do that so you can take that to reality where if you don’t have to, you can move away.

Even if I don’t fully feel like, in hindsight, I’m processing a lot now. At that time, was I actively working on something at that moment as you’re describing? It doesn’t matter quite as much because the lesson of reflecting, what that experience was like, and where my discomfort came from. It’s something that comes up for me, especially must relate to friendships. It’s something I’ve struggled with a lot of people. Romantically, platonically, and with family are people perceiving me as being controlling.

We're all looking for someone to tell us that what we're feeling is okay. Click To Tweet

I used to get so triggered by that and offended. I’m sure I would still, but maybe in a different way because I recognize that what they’re perceiving as controlling is not what I believe I’m doing. I can look at it from a different lens. As much as I didn’t feel like I was trying to control them, I was trying to control the dynamic of like, “Let me do this or ask them this so that we can maintain a good relationship.”

A phenomenal example was a time that a friendship ended. We had gotten into an argument years ago with one of my close friends, and there was a whole slew of misunderstandings. I could see it happening and wanted to solve it because I cared about this person. I wanted this friendship to work. My mistake was that, in that moment, this friend did not want to resolve it and wanted to go process it and be by themselves. I was afraid of them doing that because I thought, “If they leave this conversation, we’re not going to resolve it.”

I insisted that this friend stay in the moment with me and talk it through even though they didn’t want to. I thought at that time like, “This is what’s best for us as friends,” but I imagined by me trying to control what that other person wanted to do, that cause what I was afraid of happening to happen. The friendship ended.

Years later, it’s still upsetting for me. In that moment, I think you also said this in one of your TikToks, somewhere. I feel like we are doing the best that we know how in that moment. My hindsight sees where things may have gone wrong, me controlling and trying to force a situation between this friend. In the moment, I thought that was the best thing to do. I can’t beat myself up for it.

It sounds like something I would say, but absolutely, it’s not productive, and you can do what you want. Everything you’re doing is correct all the time. I say that to release the fear, the shame, and the guilt that come with doing the wrong thing. In hindsight, you were doing exactly what you knew how to do at that time. You did the best that you could with the information that you had. Now, you are a different person who has looked at that experience.

Who knows that if you run into that situation again, you have a choice and an option? You may have that feeling that comes up with you like I want to do what’s best. In that moment, not that you reflected on it, you weren’t listening to your friend. All we want is to be heard and understood. She didn’t feel heard and understood, or they didn’t feel heard and understood, so they left the situation and disappeared.

I understand what that feels like, too, because my friendships at a friend group, we ended up being toxic. I say toxic and I used to point fingers like they weren’t interested in growing, changing, and being different people. Here I am changing and growing. I want them to come along because I see how smart, awesome, and talented all of them are. I want to encourage them, but they’re doing the wrong and the opposite thing. That’s not what made their relationship toxic.

MGU 372 | Problematic

Problematic: What you need to make a real change in your life is a change of mindset. Everything needs to come from inside. It’s the idea that you can express your authentic self and be okay with the world responding.


I, Coach Lee, made the relationship toxic because I wanted to change them. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to hear how they felt about what was going on in their life. I’m like, “Judgment.” It’s two ways. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. I’m not saying that you judged your friend or tried to hurt them in some way. The problem was that we were trying to change our friends in some way, like, “I know what’s best, and I’m going to fix this because you don’t.”

That’s the impact that we’ve had, even though the intention was, “I’m here for you. I’m willing to not sleep for you. I want to talk about this. I want to hash this out right now because it’s so important. I’ll cancel everything, but that’s not what they heard. That’s not what they heard. They experienced something else completely different. In hindsight, it’s beautiful. I like how you reflect on that experience because we have to reflect on our experiences to know how to move forward better and make the connections we want to. It’s a great example. I appreciate you being so candid.

There’s one thing that I feel comfortable doing is being vulnerable, ironically. One thing I feel comfortable with is being uncomfortable. There’s a simultaneously discomfort and comfort there. What were you going to say?

I was going to say that that is a superpower and frightening to people. You ask questions. You’ve also frightened people with the fact that you’re comfortable with a lot of things. You’re comfortable with change, stepping outside of the box, something being different and a lot of people aren’t. How dare you’d be okay with things that I’m not okay with and flaunt it in my face? I’m telling you before I started being a coach, I would have hated you. I did not hate you, but yes, I hated you.

I was more afraid of people who would do that than anything because I felt like I couldn’t and didn’t know how. I was envious and angry, and that’s how it came about. That’s something else to keep in mind. Being beautiful and a beacon of light to people also scare some other people. It’s like a comfortable but uncomfortable thing.

Isn’t that so fascinating? First of all, thank you for saying that. It ties back into this whole theme of seeing people react and assuming that their reaction means something negative about you. I had this experience at least once with clients that I’m working with. Thinking about this too as we’re leading up to this conversation, not friendships are coming up, but other relationships like work relationships.

I had a situation with somebody through text, which we all know so many misunderstandings can happen, but that was the way that we are communicating. Unexpectedly, there was some communication that seemed to have gone in a direction I wasn’t intending. It was that moment of thinking, “Was I being misunderstood? Do I misunderstand them? Everything they said, I was questioning. Did they mean it this way or that way?”

All we're looking for is someone to share our experiences with and understand how we feel about them. Click To Tweet

I was rereading all of the things that I wrote and thinking, “Did they think I meant this or that?” That spiral you can get into with some things that almost feel benign like, “This should be easy. This person’s going to understand me. There’s not going to be an issue.” Suddenly, an issue comes out and you’re sitting there thinking, “This has turned out to be very complicated. Where do you go from there?”

I’m curious about any type of relationship. How do you navigate those moments where things go awry, and there are misunderstandings? Not in what somebody says, but in what they mean. For example, one of the words in this exchange was this person said, “Sure to me,” and I spent probably fifteen minutes sitting there thinking, “What did they mean by sure?” I could come up with like a list of all the possible meanings of them saying sure. It’s one word and a pretty benign word, yet it could have meant so many things I still, at this moment, have no idea what they meant by sure. What do you recommend, and what have you learned through those experiences?

I’ve learned that those four-letter words are tricky. We’ve got the ones that are bad and banned from TV and all that stuff. We also got ones that are fine. I don’t know what you mean by fine. Sure. There’s okay. We are not clear about what we are feeling. If the whole idea is to get someone to understand what we’re feeling and why we’re feeling it, sure and fine, make it difficult to do that. I’m right with you when it comes to that.

I’ve found that in my connections with people is that it’s better to call out and pay attention to your authentic self. Something is happening where you’re having a reaction and a feeling. Identify that feeling and also identify the event as clearly as you possibly can. Describe the event. What happened? How do you feel about the event and why? That’s what you need to bring to the other person to at least get clarity about what’s happening with you. Hopefully, they can understand what you’re saying to them. You’re going to get more information.

How they respond is going to give you information, “I didn’t mean it that way. I’m so sorry. What do you mean? How to do that? Can you share a little more with me?” They get defensive or curious. It’s going to tell you about their personality and their character. This is important, too, because if you come to them with a grievance that is possibly against them, they may react in the way that they dismiss you or may be curious about you.

If they dismiss you, you know that maybe they’re incapable of hearing you. You’re getting information at that point. Maybe they’re incapable of hearing you because it’s a transgression against them, or it’s something about them and they feel attacked. If you notice that this is advance-ish technique is where you start paying attention to them. You have your grievance and your feelings because you’ve got to put those aside.

You’ve got to give them time to speak, let them share why they didn’t do what they did on purpose or how they didn’t mean to hurt you or whatever else it is to make them feel heard because all it is in their connections. We want to make sure that someone is being heard and understood. Being curious about what they’re saying will allow you to hear them and understand them and look for understanding.

MGU 372 | Problematic

Problematic: We have to reflect on our experiences to know how to move forward better and make the connections we want to.


It’ll automatically connect you to them. Even though you came with the grievance, you may have to be curious, and they’re not curious and accept that as that’s how your relationship is going to be. You can categorize them as a person that you can’t deeply connect with because they can’t hear you in times of stress or grievances that they have. They can’t hear the impact that they’ve had on you. I’ll relate this to a relationship or a connection that I have.

I’m a friendship coach. I’m out there making my own friendships. Still, COVID has allowed us to experience the world again. There I am going out. I met a cool guy who I hung out with many times, playing board games. We did some dancing and went to a couple of concerts together. He’s a cool guy. The last time we connected, though, he left in a huff. I’m going to explain the situation. We’re playing a board game together. It’s one that I picked, and I enjoy, but it’s their first time playing the game.

They played and didn’t seem that they were very interested in the first place because specifically reasons for me feeling that way were that they got up from the game and walked over to a different table. They talked to other people and half played, half paid attention. We notice that. After the game ended, I was surprised that it was the first time I had won. They left in a hurry. They barely said goodbye and drove off. There’s no more information there.

We didn’t text or exchange anything about that. I’m wondering what the hell happened. I feel like they had all kinds of transgressions pent up against me. They’re frustrated with me, but I don’t know that. They did mention that they had to go somewhere, but they didn’t say it because the game was supposed to be quick. The last game we played was supposed to be quick and ended up being a little longer than I anticipated. I think 20 or 30 minutes longer than I anticipated. That could be a reason why they left. I don’t know. I don’t want to spiral out and be disconnected from them because I’m thinking that they are thinking against me and they don’t like me. They have some transgression against me.

They want to hurt me, but they won’t. I don’t know that for sure. What I will do is the next time we meet, I will talk about the situation. I’ll describe it like I described to you. I don’t recommend asking questions. I recommend making a statement of, “This is how I think this is what I feel,” and letting them stay with that. Maybe the one thing I’ll ask is like, “What do you think?” It’s to prompt them, but I won’t ask them more questions because that creates confusion. It is also something that’s more vulnerable to speak your truth rather than ask someone to open up and share theirs. We’ll see what happens when we do that, but that’s what I’ll do.

I love that learning process of the difference between making statements about how you feel versus asking questions. That’s part of what feels tricky to me, too, because, as you know, my natural tendency is to ask questions and learn if that is further making people uncomfortable. I find myself a lot of times having to pause and think, “I’ve probably said enough. Let me take some time to listen.”

One thing I’ve learned as I’m going through coaching training to learn how to be a better coach myself. A huge piece of advice for people in the well-being field is to do more listening, even if that means in silence. I’ve recognized how many times I feel uncomfortable in silence with somebody else because it’s like, “Are they waiting for me to say something? Do they run out of things?”

Love is understanding the person. Click To Tweet

That’s sometimes where the questions come in. It’s like, “There’s a lot of silence here. I’ll ask a question,” and my question will interrupt the silence and maybe their answer. We won’t have to deal with it anymore. What if we could lean more into sitting there and letting something come out from either? That isn’t necessarily a question. As you were sharing about your friend, I was sitting here thinking about that situation myself and imagining what that’ll be like for you. Speaking of which, do you know about this new show on HBO called The Rehearsal?

No, I’ve never heard of it.

You would love it. I haven’t mentioned it on this show yet, but the concept is about literally rehearsing hard things. I watched the 1st and 2nd episodes. Maybe there are three episodes out in late July 2022. The first episode was all about this man who had a secret, something that he hadn’t told his friend group. His friend group all gathered and bonded over trivia nights. I’m starting to imagine like you and your board games.

This guy had lied about something to his one particular friend that he played trivia with, and he had so much anxiety. He was terrified of what her reaction was going to be. It’s a fascinating episode from a psychological standpoint because you see this adult man, he’s probably in his 50s or 60s, and he’s talking to another adult but terrified of admitting something mainly because of the repercussions.

The man that runs the show, his name is Nathan, has his crew build a whole set and hires actors. He takes this real-life man with his real-life situation and gives them the opportunity to practice admitting something to his friends so that he can go through the motions and look at all the different possible variables and be prepared for it. I don’t want to spoil the ending. They have hidden cameras and film him telling his friend and going through this challenging situation with his friend.

It’s such a great example of how many of us are concerned about something, but we don’t know how the other person feels. If we can drop those assumptions and find the courage to go through them, we may be surprised at what the outcome is. I’m still processing that episode. I will love to hear your thoughts on that, Coach Lee, if you do decide to watch it. It’s called The Rehearsal on HBO. I will probably follow up with you via email and ask you what you think. It would be a good TikTok video for you. That’s where I heard about this show. It is on TikTok. There’s a prompt for you.

I am so glad that you brought this up because I would love to see this. As you spoke about it, I had group therapy. In group therapy, we practiced and did things like this, and this would help me understand how I’d feel. It’s a slowed-down rehearsal to get us to notice how we’re going to feel in a moment and what was fascinating about this experience in group therapy. There was a counselor there, and we would role-play for other people.

The ultimate goal of life is to find people who you can be your authentic self with. Click To Tweet

Our counselor may tell us to say the exact thing like to say these words. Many times, I did not say those words. I said something else completely different. I’m like, “I forgot the words,” or such and such because I’m so focused on what the other person’s going to feel or what they’re going to think that I don’t even pay attention to myself on what I’m doing. That rehearsal or practice is so important. That’s why it’s not fair to beat yourself up when you look back in time and at what you’ve been doing. You were in an emotional state in which you couldn’t think.

That’s so true. It’s fascinating to think about. A lot of us have been conditioned to have regrets, shame, and all of these things based on the past that we can no longer have any control over. We sit with these emotions of embarrassment, guilt, and shame, and how much that lingers in many of us. If we can return to this idea that we are doing the best that we could with the information we had at the time and now, we can look back on it and decide how we might proceed in the future.

Even then, when things are tough emotionally, our brains go into an altered state, dependent on the level of emotion. We don’t always have full control over ourselves as much as we would like to. That was also interesting about that show because it was pretty extreme. I lost count of how many times this man rehearsed this situation. Ultimately, when they recorded it, it lasted two minutes. The episode was at least 30 minutes long. I think it was closer to an hour because it felt like you were seeing this man go through it over and over.

He probably spent days rehearsing for a moment that lasted for a minute. As you said, too, there were things that he was encouraged to do throughout the rehearsal that he didn’t do. There were a few variables. As they’re watching him with the hidden cameras, they are like, “He’s doing something we weren’t expecting him to do,” but it’s probably for the exact reason you’re mentioning, because, in that moment, he was doing what he felt was right. He was doing it based on how he was reacting emotionally. It’s so fascinating. Let go of that control. That’s where we get the best outcome. It’s part of my takeaway here.

I do have a curiosity about this. It sounds like it could be a real-life TV show. Is it one that’s scripted or one that’s real life?

I believe it’s somewhere in between. It’s nothing like I’ve seen before. I’ll say it that way. The actual show itself, the man, the subject that’s fully real life, but everything else is planned or developed during the course of the show.

That is intriguing and so amazing. Now, I must see this TV show.

All we want is to be heard and understood. Click To Tweet

Especially in the beginning, something happens that I would never have seen coming and is jaw-dropping. It’s the most fascinating experiment on humanity. The next episode I started watching was about a woman rehearsing to see if she wanted to be a mother. That’s all I know thus far, but she’s practicing in order to decide if she wants to have children. The show takes her through a rehearsal of what it’s like to be a mom with real kids. I could geek out on this stuff.

Millennials are awesome. We’ve got this opportunity to learn more about ourselves and move forward with technology, all that stuff. This generation is going to benefit from what we’ve learned. You can practice adulting. Every generation wanted that, I’m sure.

As a human, we go forward and back constantly. There are some things happening in our country right now with the politics that feel like they’re very backwards. There are other times when I’m like, “We’ve made so much progress. Look at us. We are advancing in such incredible ways.” That feels remarkable about this time. It’s a little bit all over the place. Relationships aren’t as linear as we might want them to be.

You said something about releasing power or letting go of power and letting things happen. The rehearsal reminds me of a situation in which I wanted to control how people saw me. That’s why I talked about being trans now. If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t notice. I figured that the way to go about life is not having people know and developing friendships with people that way. I met a co-worker who was awesome. We connected on a level very curious, smart, talented people, athletically and physically, are the same thing. Musically inclined, very talented, easily able to pick up things, and we could share in conversation and everything, but he didn’t know that I was trans.

We’re two men connecting and talking. He has a family and everything, and I don’t, but so what? It didn’t matter. We’re guys talking to each other. That’s the way things were. I felt very comfortable with him and he felt very comfortable with me. I’m out there dating. I decided I wanted to date, and I share that I’m getting rejected. I’m not getting many people picking up and all that stuff. He’s like, “It happens. Sometimes people are like that.” He was perfectly fine with me dating a man too. I told him I dated a man and a woman. He was perfectly fine with that. He’s cool, supportive, and all that stuff, but he did not know I was trans.

Many reasons why I got rejected were because I was trans. Some experience I was having in dating was because I was trans, and I didn’t have this friend that I wanted to talk to about that. I was scared to tell him because I didn’t want to lose that connection that we had, but we didn’t have that connection. He couldn’t help me because he didn’t know, even though he wanted to. When he did know, he didn’t know how to support me.

He didn’t know how to support me because I didn’t know how to tell him what I needed. I had to go out there and figure that stuff out so that I could make a friendship and connections with other people. I understand the anxiety of this guy holding on and trying to make everything go right. It won’t. React and let the world respond the way it does. Be yourself and let the world respond. My friendship hasn’t been the same with him.

Be yourself and let the world respond. Click To Tweet

I’m sure I can pick up the phone and call or text him any time, and we can talk about stuff, but we won’t talk about anything that’s deep and important to me as far as what I need. Our relationship has changed a bit, and it’s always been that way. I was under the impression that it wasn’t. It has always been that way because I’ve not been myself with him. I’ve not been my authentic, truthful self with him. It’s always been an illusion that we are very close, but he doesn’t know me.

Thank you for sharing that because I think a lot of people experienced the illusion within their relationships, and your point about it’s always been that way, but it wasn’t clear until you became your authentic self. You’re able to see what the relationship was. While that is helpful, it doesn’t make up for the fact that you’re still yearning to connect with someone who can fully hear and understand you. That’s one of the most beautiful points you made because it comes down to that core.

I’m sitting here thinking, “What if I could look at myself and my relationships with people through that lens of wanting to feel heard and understood because there’s nothing better than those moments.” When you brought up the movie experience, I’m one of those people that like part of the fun of going to a movie with someone else is turning and looking at them during the movie to see how they’re reacting and having a conversation after.

I’ve done that with some people who can’t stand that about me. They’re like, “Why are you looking? My sister hates that.” She’s like, “Stop looking at me. You’re trying to see how I’m reacting, but I want to watch the movie.” What she doesn’t understand is that’s a bonding thing for me, or maybe she does, but she doesn’t want to bond that way. It annoys her, but I love that. Otherwise, I’ll go to the movie by myself. It’s not the same. The disappointment you shared, we’ve all been there where you recommend something to somebody. You could go watch The Rehearsal and/or Bo Burnham’s special where he sings about Pringles and have a completely different response, and you can greatly dislike it.

There’s that vulnerability of, “I recommended something to someone. Do I look like a fool because they didn’t like it?” Even that is a practice of control and letting go of expectations and saying, “I’m putting it out there. You can go watch this. I’m curious to hear how you’ll respond without feeling rejected if you don’t have the same experience.” Coach Lee, I could talk on and on with you. You make such a wonderful guest but also a friendship coach because I can feel how open you are, curious, engaged, and present.

I feel heard and understood by you. I’m deeply grateful for that and think that you’re such a lovely person. I think I told you when I first saw your photo, I was like, “What a nice person.” You radiate that. Your vulnerability and everything have been so delightful. Thank you for spending this time with me and giving such a gift to the reader, too.

I’ve been smiling a whole lot throughout this episode. It’s a delight to talk to you, Whitney, because you’re so open and honest. It’s refreshing to see that. You make me feel heard and understood because you talk about your experiences, and I can relate to them right away. Thank you for having me.

This is so lovely. For the reader, if you want more, the first place I recommend is going to Coach Lee’s TikTok. Do you also share the same videos on Instagram? I think I saw you post the same to both platforms. If someone’s not on TikTok, could they get them on Instagram too?

I tried, but I have different things for Instagram, TikTok, Facebook.

A lot of variety. For anyone else who wants to do a little journaling, I love that question, and all the journal prompts that you share. Thank you for doing such important work. For anyone who might want to work with you further, you offer so many wonderful tools for others. That is all available at Thanks again, Coach Lee, for being here and making my cheeks hurt.

Thank you, Whitney. Take care.


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About Lee Hopkins

MGU 372 | ProblematicCoach Lee Hopkins (he/him/his) is a transgender man who helps people create lasting friendships. After struggling with loneliness most of his life, he’s tried various ways to resolve it without success. However, on his journey to make friends, he discovered that the more he learned about himself, the better he was able to connect with others. He’ll show us how this is possible for everyone.



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