Ask Dr. Joy: Friendship Phases

By WEEK Producer

July 25, 2012 Updated Jul 25, 2012 at 9:43 PM CDT

In college and high school you had lots of friends, but when a real crisis in your life happens, do you find yourself all alone with no one close to help you through your trauma? Tonight Dr. Joy helps us look at friendships and some patterns worth breaking.

What are some of the patterns of friendships?
· In high school and college we have lots of friends and life seems more carefree.
· Coupling - when we start to date or when married we tend to find friends that are built around friendships of one partner or the other
· Children- friendships tend to be built around the children's activities or their friends vs. our own.
· Work - Friends come and go and it's hard to be vulnerable when you know things will change quickly
· Midlife - Friendships become ones of situation or else we become a little more selective or picky about our choices. We look for emotional connections that are important to sustaining a relationship.

What typically defines the ability to create close friendships?
· Proximity
· Repeated, unplanned interactions
· Settings where you can be vulnerable and confide

As we get older relationships mean different things to us. If we want to increase our circle of friendships, what can we do?
· Create different circles of friendships. For instance, create a circle of people who share an activity with you: book club, a class, etc. Look for people to fill specific needs that fill gaps. You might just find that you have room for a best friend, a close friend and some casual friends.
· Realize that time is important. Decide how you want to spend your life. If you want friends, you will have to reach out and create relationships. Avoid the cliché of "let's get together sometime" and actually create a date to meet.
· Reach out to old friends that you may not have seen for a while. Chances are those old friends might be excited to get together and share some quality time.
· Understand the difference between quality and quantity. A true friend might be worth ten acquaintances. You have to survey your own values and needs. Decide what you want and reach out to fill your needs.

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