Keeping Friendships Strong
By Cynthia Hanson
Keeping friendships strong! Good friends. They pick us up when we’re down, and rely on them to keep us honest and happy. Why, then, is it so hard to sustain strong friendships as the years go by?
“Life transitions tend to get in the way,” says Dr. Andrea Bonior, psychologist, author of The Friendship Fix and a professor of psychology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. “A job change, relocation, birth of a child or divorce can spell the death blow for friendships, especially if they were based on proximity and shared experiences. When people are no longer a part of your daily life, it takes effort to make the friendship last.”
Here, four common challenges good friends face and Bonior’s “fixes” to help your friendships thrive.
Challenge: No time to get together.
Solution: Make pals a priority.
The laundry pile is two feet high, the kitchen sink is filled with dirty dishes and bills are begging to be paid. But don’t let that to-do list (or the exhaustion of getting it done) keep you from a coffee date or Girls’ Night Out. “Half the battle of sustaining healthy friendships is making them a priority,” Bonior says. “Commit to spending quality time with friends, just as you’d commit to being with your family or exercising to stay healthy.”
Challenge: You live far away.
Solution: Commit to real connection.