Friday, May 18, 2012

Building Intimacy Among Friends

So my last post has got me thinking about how people successfully maintain intimacy among friends and it is so hard... In terms of social life, tweens begin worrying about not being loners, teens begin worrying about being popular, college students begin worrying about finding themselves, and young adults worry about maintaining intimacy with friends. Well I guess I should more accurately say, as a tween I worried about not being a loner, as a teen I worried about... and so on... I can only go as as far as young adult though. But ever since I graduated from college, I find it so difficult to make that friendship connection with new people and continue building intimacy in my current friendships.

I would consider the following to build closeness among people:

1. Past experiences shared together but these can only bond to a limited extent if nothing new brings the relationship to a new level. Just because you've known someone for 20 years, doesn't mean they are your true friends...

2. Common set of values in terms of education, family, religion, money, love, etc...

3. Common interest like hiking, running, eating, etc... I guess drinking would be included in this category.

4. Frequent and consistent communication to catch up with each other, which seems to be more difficult the older you get because time becomes more and more scarce.

5. Supportive and encouraging relationship, where your success is my success and vice versa because you are genuinely happy for each other. Positivity attracts positivity.

6. Respect of each other choices in life and opinions.

7. Growing and maturing at the same pace, it seems like career progression/money brings tension to a relationship if both are not growing at the same pace.

8. Empathy for each other when sharing difficult experiences and struggles.

9. Genuine effort from both sides to spend quality time together.

10. Making each other feel like they are an important person in their life (i.e., appreciation for one's friendship).

11. Having fun together, meaning that you both have to come to a consensus to what a fun activity entails.

12. Random acts of appreciation for one's friendship, like buying a small gift, meal, etc.

13. Mutual interest in each other's life, no matter how different they are from one another.

14. Being respectful of each other's feelings and avoiding negativity, harsh comments, being condescending, being difficult and over critical, etc.

15. Accepting each other as how we are and not attempting to change each other by criticizing, putting down, talking down, making them feel stupid, etc.

16. Being reliable and dependable when someone is at their worst or needs you.

17. Being trustworthy and trusting each other.

18. Showing loyalty to each other when the situation calls for it.

19. I think one of the most important aspects of intimacy is being genuine, you can't fake being a good friend. If you do a favor for another friend, don't take it for granted. It really sucks when you do something really nice for somebody and you feel taken for granted or as a second choice as if you have to prove your friendship so that you are worthy of being their friend. That's when resentment begins building and the relationship just goes downhill from there.

I'm sure there are a lot more items that build intimacy in a friendship but these are the ones that come to mind. Ultimately, some people will bring out the best in you and some will bring out the worst in you. Sometimes mood swings and personal problems put a damper on a relationship and as adults it seems more and difficult to put up with someone else's bad attitude and it's easier to just focus on other aspects in your life that make you feel good about yourself. I guess, as adults we become more and more self-involved/selfish (which is not necessarily a bad thing because you realize that you don't have to let someone else disrespect you) and due to the scarcity of time, we begin prioritizing to determine who you want to spend time with.

This whole post makes me appreciate having my loving and loyal furry baby in my life. I love my puppy-face Scooter <3 The only thing I'm not fond of is picking up your poop and cleaning your paws and butt hole, but you are worth every effort <3 <3

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