• Keeping Friends

In the Media – The case for small dose friends (Mic.com)

Published: March 10, 2016 | Last Updated: March 10, 2016 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading

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Mic.com (screenshot)

Mic.com (screenshot)

March 10, 2016

Is there a friend you’ve known forever but whom you can only take in very small doses?

Either this friend is too unreliable, too zany, or too self-involved. You start to cringe when you’re together because she has such bad judgment or such vastly different values. She’s someone you don’t want to spend too much time—especially too often—but you are reluctant to let go and give up on the friendship entirely.

In in Mic.com, a website focused on the interests of millennials, journalist Jenny Kutner writes about “The Case for Having and Keeping ‘Small Dose’ Friends” based no her own experiences and that of interviewees. Kutner did a great job at defining a category of friend not often written about in the popular literature. She writes:

On the spectrum of platonic relationships, the Small Dose Friend sits somewhere between the Emergency Contact Friend and the Toxic Hot Mess Friend. The Small Dose Friend is someone whose presence is like acetaminophen or wasabi: sometimes, it can be enjoyable (or even palliative), but in large amounts it can be harmful, even dangerous.

The Small Dose Friend has usually been around since childhood or adolescence and manages to be a constant in your life without being a regular presence. If not for keeping your time with this person to a minimum, they’d probably ruin your life.

For the article, Kutner interviewed The Friendship Doctor:

According to Irene S. Levine, a trained clinical psychologist and author of the Friendship Blog, being able to articulate such specific benefits of a friendship — even if they don’t seem very positive — can be reason enough to keep a Small Dose Friend around, so long as they’re not otherwise wreaking havoc.

“If something is consistently toxic or consistently negative, then you just don’t want it,” Levine told Mic. “But if it’s somebody with whom you have a shared history that’s irreplaceable — somebody who knows your parents, grew up on your block, went away to school with you — these are treasured memories you share with a person.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety. The article also appeared on Yahoo News.

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  1. Heidi says:

    Socially savvy people keep these ‘small dose’ friends around for a lifetime because they share a common group of ongoing friends and it is necessary to maintain contact so the group stays intact. I think of it like going to church. Unfortunately, I don’t like some things about it, but it keeps me socially active and might give me a reference one of these days. The people I see who do this are usually popular, moving and shaking.

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