Looking for a bridge over troubled water? KRITHVI SHYAM, our young psychologist, addresses your worst anxieties. 

I have been cheated by a call saying “You have won a car”. I saw this ad in a leading newspaper. So I agreed to pay the money. I have spent nearly Rs.18000. Now I don’t know what to do. How to console myself. I have lost my confidence! - DESPERATE SEEKER

It is most unfortunate that this has happened to you, but take comfort in knowing that you will now be more vigilant about these things in the future. It is getting harder to tell the difference between what is genuine and what isn't. Scams are so rampant now that they even the best of us end up falling for them. So do not treat this as a poor reflection of your abilities, but instead as an honest mistake. Yes, Rs. 18000 is a sizable amount, but in the past, individuals who have fallen prey to scams have lost lakhs of rupees, so consider yourself lucky. I would urge you to register a complaint with the police, and discuss the possibility of recovering the money with them. Aside from this, start exercising caution whenever an unfamiliar source asks money/ bank account /identity details. If you have no way to verify the sources' identity or claims, avoid giving them information.

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I am well educated but currently unemployed because of personal commitments. I’m interested only in books and music and my only problem is I’m not getting a true and decent friend. I have had many friends online but it all ended up in indecent proposals. I don’t like it because they all created stress. My only need at the moment is a lifelong true and decent friend because I will also become a true decent lifelong friend, ready to share my thoughts with them. I need a friend who has an open mind and who will share their thoughts with mine. What should I do for this and who should I contact? - FRIEND INDEED

 It sounds like you've amassed enough indecent proposals to prompt you to stay offline for a while. That's great, because finding friends on the internet can be a very shady prospect — you never know what the person you're chatting with is really like, outside of their online avatar and in the real world. There are many other ways to find friends. One way would be to expand your own interests— join an aerobics class, learn a new language, or become actively involved with the Rotary Club or Blue Cross. The second would be to capitalise on your already-existing interests, and use social media to spread the word —for instance, you could start a book club for people who, like you, enjoy reading and making new friends. Try not to approach every activity with an “Operation: Find a Friend” mindset; if you're enjoying what you do, others who enjoy it too will be naturally drawn to you.

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