Friends for Life

Flick back through your life to those times when you and a soon-to-be best friend just 'clicked'. Perhaps it was the guy in the school who pointed out the tomato stuck between your teeth, or the colleague who showed you the precise spot to hit the photocopier to get it to print on the first day of your new job. Such small, seemingly insignificant moments can lead to big- time friendships. And while some last, others don't — but that says experts, doesn't make them any less fulfilling.

school girl forever friends


We tend to believe that friendships should last forever and feel bad when we lose touch, but the fact is that, as we grow and our lives change, friends will not all develops in the same way. We gravitate towards those we can relate to in certain circumstances. This makes it natural and even healthy to drop some friends and adopt others. 


Here's what you can expect from your friendships during key lift stages. 

THE SINGLE STUDENT 


YOUR CIRCLE 
At university and college you're thrown together with a large number of people. And because you're grouped by age and subject choices, you're well matched in terms of common interests, so it's easier to make friends than at any other period. 

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS 
This is a highly social time. At this stage, diversity among the people you mix with presents more choices for the direction you might take in your own life. Cultivating a wide circle exposes you to different ways of thinking, which is healthy, and social- networking sites encourage this. 

BE ALERT 
We measure ourselves against close friends and use them as role models, so moving with the right set is vital. Are they in tune with your values, respectful and genuinely caring? 

THE SINGLE CAREER WOMAN 


YOUR CIRCLE 
You put friends on the back burner when you focus on your work. If you do this too single-mindedly, all but your close friends can fall away, with even these relegated to occasional drinks or weekend catch-ups when you're not too tired. Pursuing career success can take all your energy. Friends not on the same page can become hard work to hold on to. 

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS 
For support and stress relief, you will often turn instead to colleagues who understand your work hours and pressures. Sharing work triumphs and concerns with colleagues is invaluable. 

BE ALERT 
Be circumspect in what you divulge — it could come back to haunt you if one of you is promoted or you fall our. While fulfilling, these friendships are often based as much on convenience as on mutual understanding. They may not last if either of you leaves the company. Keep this in mind before cancelling catch-up drinks with your oldest and closest friend.

friends smiling at camera on the beach

THE CAREER WOMAN WITH A PARTNER 


YOUR CIRCLE 
Add a live-in partner to a demanding career, and you will have even less time and attention for friends. But the dose ones remain hugely important — you run your guy past them and want their approval. When you socialise with them it's for lunch or a drink that won't ear into alone time with your guy, and you make up for that by connecting with them on social media. 

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS 
You're quick to turn to your best friends if your relationship hits rocky patches. By now you've weathered many storms with them and know they are your real support system, so you don't need to spend every moment with them or constantly call or text them as you did when you were a student. 

BE ALERT 
It's easy to become so wrapped up in your partner's life and friends that you start to lose touch with your own. Be particularly wary if your partner discourages contact with them — he may be controlling, a warning sign of emotional and other abuse. 

THE WIFE AND NEW MOM 


YOUR CIRCLE 
Your friendship circle is severely edited by motherhood. It's an inward-looking time when everything revolves around the newcomer. Friends in the same situation become vital — their advice and shared experiences provide guidelines. But single friends and those without children bring a healthy balance to your life. 

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS 
Child-free friends who make the effort to fit into your new life are cherished. They're trusted confidantes with whom you can share the things that matter most to you, and can be counted on. 

BE ALERT 
Make time for single friends and talk about their interests, or you could lose them. Be sensitive that too much baby talk can bore some and hurt others not in stable relationships who hear the ticking of their own biological clock.

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