Making Friends

Was reading the PsychCentral blogs (one in particular called “8 Tips for Making Friends”), and found something that frustrates me a little as a clinician, and a person. The piece presents some fairly solid, simple, and doable encouragements about making new friends.

When it comes to doing therapy or any other related type of recovery, the confusion and difficulty that arises can prevent movement and change, unless a relationship we may be working on and our support group (or “resource group”, as my friend/colleague Barbara Waldman PhD refers to them) can support our efforts and suffering. Would argue that this is an essential component to working through all kinds of issues.

The only thing difficult for me about the blog was an idea that I think we often leave out. There was no mention of having our own personhood and “friendship skills” intact to begin with. It seems to me that we engage in many relationships without having gone through some important steps to insure our readiness for such to begin with. In short, as the colloquialism goes, you might have to be a friend to have one. Being a friend is often a “work” as some fighters say, and not necessarily an innate part of who we are. A sense of our own personhood is an even more fundamental responsibility, and too is demonstrably not an innate characteristic. Seems that both of these are requirements for making friends, keeping them, and of equal importance- being one.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Petar
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 16:02:32

    Terri: Love the idea of a “potential” versus “actual” in a relationship. Has helped me be clearer about a lot of things.

    Anon: Am with you. Seeing the beauty in people, it’s hard not to try to hang in there for what’s possible. Is very painful to do long-term. It’s scary to think that we might never find those qualities in someone.


  2. Anonymous
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 15:51:27

    amen. as time goes on it gets harder to keep prying out of the shell. After all if I’m the only one who notices the difference when withdrawn- AGAIN- i suppose must be happier that way?


  3. Petar
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 17:08:22

    Reminds me that just because someone is smart, kind, funny, fun to be around etc, doesn’t necessarily mean they have relationship skills. Guessing the person in question has much of these things, but in the shadow of missing other essentials, makes many of those things less relevant…at best.


  4. chuckfullopunk
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 16:29:45

    I agree with you. I have a close one who has exactly that problem, he never learned to be a friend because he was using/dealing drugs for a long time. Had/has very little idea of how to be a real friend, or recognize real friendship and communication, with himself or others. It’s like he was trapped in himself, but didn’t know himself either.
    Luckily for him I’m a gold digger- for emotional payoff not financial!


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