My friend and colleague Cherie Burbach is an author, blogger, poet, and mixed media artist who writes about relationships, lifestyle, and helping people to connect. Cherie has penned numerous books and articles on dating, health, social networking, and business, and writes for NBC Universal. She is also the About.com Friendship Guide.
In her role at About.com, Cherie’s goal is to help people find answers. Some are looking for ways to get along better with friends, some need more friends, some are lonely and are wondering what to do about it, some want to be inspired, and some just want fun information about gift ideas or special calendar days.
I asked Cherie to share some of her thoughts about friendship:
What are some of the most prevalent dilemmas faced by friends?
Based on my experience, the two things people want to know about most have to do with finding new friends and understanding the conflicts they might have with existing friends.
Many people today are lonely. Some are afraid to admit this, but they shouldn’t be because they certainly aren’t the only ones that feel it. We’re at a time when we can log on instantly and connect with people on Facebook or Twitter, for example, and yet we’re alone at the holidays or during important times in our life.
I feel very protective of lonely people and try to provide information that will inspire them and help them change their situation.
Understanding the ins and outs of conflict in a relationship is very hard sometimes. It’s not just what happened, it’s how someone perceived what happened, what’s occurred in the past, how someone handled the situation, and how ready they are to forgive and move forward. So much is involved in resolving conflicts, and it takes two friends who are willing to put their friendship above other things in order to move past hurts and misunderstandings.
These are not easy things to deal with, and can mentally weigh on people and take away from their happiness. I try and write about things that will help them work through the issues they might have with their friends, so they can enjoy the great things that a healthy friendship can bring.
How are friendships different or the same from romantic relationships with the other sex?
Friendships and romantic relationships share several things in common, like: a desire to be cared about; companionship; sharing of hobbies and common activities; and a support system.
However, in a romantic relationship (especially a marriage) there is a different level of commitment. When a friend says, “That’s it, we’re done!” there’s a good chance the friendship is really over. In a marriage, this might be something that leads to more discussion and an eventual resolution. Friendships are almost more fragile than a marriage because there is no formal commitment or bringing together of families.
What are a few of the best ways to go about making friends if someone feels like they don’t have enough friends?
The first step is simply to just meet more people. Getting out and trying new activities that have you interacting with people, like classes or volunteering, is a great way to be social even if you haven’t established deep connections with people yet.
Then, do the hard work of getting to know people. There is no shortcut to this. Ask them to coffee or lunch, follow up, and proactively learn more about the folks you’re in contact with. Eventually a bond will happen.
Is there some anecdote/quote about friendship you would like to share that is personally meaningful to you?
I just came across this quote from Betty Ford that I really like: “You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.”
So many of us are independent and think that friends are a luxury, or people that we spend time with for fun or when we have time. But friends are a vital part of our well-being. They can give us support, keep us in check, provide a safe place for us to be ourselves, and encourage us to grow. This quote reminds me of that.
Category: KEEPING FRIENDS