RX for longer-lasting friendships

Published: October 28, 2007 | Last Updated: November 5, 2007 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading

An old Turkish proverb goes like this, Bir kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir, which translates into English: A cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship. One interpretation of the proverb is that no friendship should be taken lightly because friendship is a long-term commitment.

In reality, most female friendships tend to be transitional rather than long-term. As we cycle through life—childhood, high school, college, marriage, children, careers, etc.—we change and grow as do our friendships…
With each of our friendships, there are seasons when our lives are more or less in-sync with one another. Also, there are times in our life cycle when we have more or less time and energy to commit to female friends. For example, it is generally easier to nurture friendships when when we are young, single, divorced or older than during the middle years when we are consumed with partners, careers, and caregiving.

To preserve good friendships that carry us during the tough times and over the years, women need to make their female friends a priority in at least three ways:


Contact

In case it isn’t obvious, to keep a friendship alive there needs to be mutual contact. Creating time and opportunity to share with each other enhances the intimacy and reciprocity of a relationship. Whether it’s a brief phone call, email, or cup of java, make time for friends, finding ways that are comfortable and doable for both of you. It’s an investment that will yield short- and long-term returns.


Communication

Every friendship ebbs and flows. Being able to express ourselves with authenticity and candor transforms good friendships into better ones. Friends need to be willing to be talk openly about their disappointments so misunderstandings aren’t magnified over time. We also shouldn’t be shy about expressing the warm and fuzzy sentiments—expounding on qualities and virtues we value in each other.


Concern

Good friends care about one another: Good friendships flourish when people care and show they care. Try to listen as much as you speak. Extend your hand to help whenever there’s an opportunity.

While we can’t count on all friendships lasting forever, any friendship that isn’t nurtured is easily vulnerable to loss. At minimum, make time for a cup of coffee.

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  1. Patricia says:

    I have no one I could really call a frneid where I live Rachel so the only people I see are Ant, the kids and my father in law.I had a very small group of frneids at school, probably only 3/4 that were really frneids but I’m only in touch with one of them on facebook and I’ve had a best frneid for the last 12 years but she lives in Derbyshire, I live in Lincoln so we only get to see each other a few times a year. I’m not very good at keeping in touch but thankfully, she knows this and accepts it and has stood by me all these years.I do feel isolated sometimes. I know a couple of mums on the street but none that I could feel comfortable dropping in for a cuppa either so I know how you feel there.I don’t really have words of wisdom but I do want to say that even though I don’t know you ‘in real life’ you’ve always come across as being a really lovely person and I class you as a frneid, albeit an online one!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have a long-standing friend, of over 20 years, who, when I contact her, is nearly always happy to meet up. We always spend a lovely day together. However, it bothers me greatly, that if I didn’t make the initial contact, she may not actually reciprocate! I have a strong feeling a male friend of hers, who I know as an acquaintance, is jealous of our friendship, and dare I say, is trying to sabotage it! My reason for thinking this, is she has, on several occasions, back-tracked on arrangements she suggested, and this is totally out of character, for her. When I have tried to approach the subject, I am told by my friend not to spoil the day (in denial or what)! I wondered if anyone else has experienced this, as it is very hurtful, and I am at a loss as to how to approach my friend about this manipulative friend, who is trying to prevent us from nurturing our otherwise wonderful friendship.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad to have happened upon this quote here! I shall copy and paste it immediately.

    I lived in Europe for 14 years between the time that I was 20 and 40, and I can say that Europeans (painting many different cultures with a broad brush here, for the sake of brevity) definitely have a different way of making friends, expectations of what friendships are about and how long they will last (once they are begun in earnest). I found a lot of women there didn’t even want to have a coffee or see a movie or have a chat because they were worried that such a tiny step would only be the first step on a never-ending road of commitments. They tend to remain much closer to their childhood and school friends than Americans do, and consider that loyalty and maintaining that group is quite important through life. As an adult, to make a brand new female friend who is involved to some degree in your personal life, one who is more than just a friendly colleague or a neighbor that you nod your head to on the sidewalk, is not a common act for many European women.

    This is not just my personal experience – I am a cross-cultural trainer for families being sent on ex-pat packages by their employers to live and work in other countries, and part of the training material is based on academic research into how people in different cultures make friends and conduct friendships. It can be really lonely for Americans in other parts of the world, especially adult women, because no culture has the same friendship ‘dance’ that we do, and the social exclusion we face outside of the US (not because of our personality or likeability, but because of our age, our newness there, and the culture) can be tough.

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