Magazine article Work & Family Life

Keeping Friendships Alive in Busy Times

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Keeping Friendships Alive in Busy Times

Article excerpt

When people are asked, "What gives meaning to your life?" friendship is high on the list. Yet the number of Americans who say they have "no one to talk to" has doubled since 1985.

New research confirms what we all know: that friendships can be difficult for busy people to maintain. Studies have also found that making as well as keeping friends is a remarkably complex process.

Reciprocity is key. Sociologist Beverley Fehr of the University of Winnipeg reports that in the early stages of a friendship one person discloses personal information and "tests" whether the other will reciprocate.

Intimacy has its rules. People in successful same-sex friendships have an intuitive understanding of the give and take of intimacy, says Dr. Fehr. They know which lines not to cross.

We expect best friends to be there for us. …

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