Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

4 Ways to Keep Friends (+Spouse+Kids)

Who would have thought friendship would be so difficult once you leave your cozy college campus when you can catch up with friends on the way to class or in the dining hall over a cup of Jo.
Now, like everything else in life, friendships require work and effort, sometimes even therapy (if you’re like me).
For a recent AP story, reporter Maggie Koerth-Baker (for the full story click here) interviewed Ray Pahl, a sociology professor at England’s University of Essex and co-author of “Rethinking Friendship.” He offers the following advice to young adults who are beginning to feel the strain between spouse and friend, or job and friend, or life and friend.
1. Quality is more important than quantity.
Dr. Pahl suggests you approach your list of friends as you might your food pantry (during spring cleaning). Because you only have so much energy to expend. It’s best to invest your time and energy into the relationships that you truly want to last and are most meaningful to you. “You owe it to the ones that really matter to give them your time,” he says.


2. You don’t have to like all your spouse’s friends.
Phew. According to Dr. Pahl, “this is one of the most serious ways in which people can lose friends.” It’s very logical. You and your friend enjoy a certain chemistry. You share many philosophies in common. Along comes Dumbo with his take on life and global warming and the obesity epidemic in the US, and ruins the conversation. That’s why Pahl says that Dumbo doesn’t have to tag along to the coffee shop if you want to catch up with your friend. In fact, he probably should stay home and read about global warming and obesity.
3. It’s up to you to make your single friends feel welcome.
Boy did I learn that one early on, since I was the first to get married among my friends. And I’d add this: those with children need be extra considerate and hospitable to those friends without babies. Because nothing is more annoying to a childless friend than “goo goo” talk in the living room or on the phone.
4. Couples need some time apart.

According to Dr. Pahl’s research, more and more folks are leaving behind their spouses to take vacations with same-sex friends and their marriages are stronger for it. For one, it’s a refresher, giving the partners something new to talk about. And it also means that the marriage is grounded in trust.

  • Wisdum

    A “Friend” is someone who knows ALL about you, and still likes you ! (in spite of it !)
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Friends are (IMHO) one of God’s most precious gifts. my incredibly difficult journey since my stroke in 2003 would have been eve MORE difficult if it hadn’t been for one or two key friends who have refused to allow me to give up of life! They’ve been there at ever bend in the road, ministering to both body and soul! One of them even was able to make me relax and ACCEPT their help (a struggle for someone who has spent her life being the giver) by accusing me of selfishness in my relyctance to accept help I can no longer reciprocate. He made me see that when I refuse to receive I am selfishlu denyong others that wonderful inner feeling which is only born of giving, which is indeed a truly selfish thing to do! And because i’ve always prided myself on my generosity of spirit, that was a bitter pill I was uneilling to swallow..ergo Margaret has learned to TAKE albeit not alwats graciously…it’s been both humbling and inspirational, and i owe that friend A LOT for not being afraid to call me on it! Talk about reaping what you’ve sown! It’s been amazing to discover how many people whom I never suspected had received from me have see themselves as “in my debt” (a concept i dislike because of the ‘leeping score’ implications. O know have a much deeper understanding of why”…it’s more blessed to give than to receive….” and finally “get that for every blessed giver there needs must be an equally blessed receiver to allow ot to work. I’ve found hat to be true here on B.B. as well when I have read responses to some of my postings. People are more than willing to reach out, correct misinterpretations, share their own experiences that I might grow necause of them, and offer words of encouragement. My SEF (FORMERLY KNOWN AS MY “WARM FUZZY FILE” has never been so thick!) and I don’t evenKNOW any of you in the concept of recognizing you on the street! I DO find it to be true that there are marked differences between my male and female friends, but I think–to a degree–that’s partly because of my own expectations! Things I automatically EXPECT AND WILINGLY ACCEPT from my girlfriends feel awkward when offered by a male friend…wonder why that is? It can’t be a sexual tension, because I’m talking here about FRIEMDSHIPS, not anything deeper!Interestingly enough, two of my male friends who happen to be homosexual partners DO tend to relate to me differently than my heterosexual male friends, or maybe it’s just that– for whatever reason– i’m more open to receiving that level of friendship from them.Weird, because that’s an area where I’ve had to overcome some deep personal pain since my college boyfriend decided to “come out” after months of discussing “taking our friendship to the next level” and seeing if we were perhaps suited to become more than friends. That was incredibly painful, as I had believed his desire to take it further and had “given” him my virtue. Consequently, I became almost homophobic for a period of time. Of course it didn’t help that shortly thereafter my roommate annunced that she was movong out of our apartment because she too was ‘coming out’ and had realized that her feelings for me went deeper than friendship! So there was a lot of loss attached to that paericular area. (My “botfriend and I had been best friends all through high school, and my roommate and I had been together since our second year of college. I ended up having to do a whole lot of sou-searching and trying to understand if there was something about ME that was drawing these people into my inner circle. (I’ve always been straight, myself)

  • Larry Parker

    Amen on quality over quantity.
    PS to Margaret — several of my exes (including, yes, my ex-wife) have had high school/college boyfriends — or so they thought, like you — who came out of the closet to them. Which brings up two questions:
    1. Is there something that unconsciously attracts heterosexual people to closeted gays?
    2. Is there something that unconsciously attracts heterosexual people to those who were once attracted to closeted gays?

  • Wisdum

    Re -Larry Parker | November 13, 2007 9:54 PM
    It’s been my experience, that women have no problem with gay men (to them it’s just another woman with like interests and tastes)Men on the other hand have a problem with that, since they can not relate to the female psyche so intimately. Women definitely have a problem if their husband runs off with or has an affair with another man, worse than another woman, it completely destroys their self-esteem.
    LUV 2 ALL

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.