Friendship Rules
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Dr. Irene S. Levine
IreneSLevine13 days ago

Friendship Rules

14 days ago

5 Reasons Your Friend "Ghosted" You

It’s official: The term “ghost” is a verb as well as a noun. In fact, the term was just added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary this month (February 2017). It is defined as follows:

To ghost: To abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.

The increasingly common phenomenon of ghosting someone (or being the unfortunate victim who’s been ghosted by someone else) isn’t limited to lovers. In platonic, as well as romantic relationships, people often don’t have the courage or inclination to tell someone outright that they’re too demanding or high-maintenance. Instead, they simply disappear.

When friends are too needy

By definition, friendships are supposed to be mutually supportive relationships. We all try to help our friends whenever we can although at any point in time, one friend may be the giver and the other the receiver. Then roles reverse fluidly depending on timing and circumstance. In healthy friendships, things generally balance out in the end so neither person feels consistently drained and fatigued.

Sometimes, however, the scales tip so far in one direction that one friend feels as if she has a ball and chain attached to her ankle. The situation feels so hopeless that she feels she needs to escape, ghosting her once-friend without any warning or explanation.

If you have ever had the misfortune of being the person who was ghosted, you probably felt devastated. Without being able to talk about what happened, you may have been forced to look inward and do your own post-mortem to figure out what went wrong. Here are five possible reasons you may have been ghosted:

1) You’re unreliable.

Friends should be able to depend upon one another. If something bad happens (e.g., a death in the family), a good friend shows up to lend support. If someone loses a job, good friends are empathetic and encouraging. When good friends make plans, barring unforeseen circumstances, they should make every effort to keep them. In general, friends count on each other to be dependable. If you are so busy and self-involved that you can’t be there for your close friends, you need to figure out why.

2) You’re too possessive.

Perhaps, you don’t have as many friends as you would like to have so you become overly dependent on one person. You encroach on your friend’s time, always demand more, and get angry if you find out she’s spending time with someone else, whether it’s her partner, mother or another girlfriend. Expecting your relationship to be totally exclusive puts friends in an untenable position.

3) You’re unwilling to accept boundaries.

In any relationship, people need to be able to define their personal space and set comfortable boundaries. For example, neighbors need to know if they can visit without calling first. Colleagues need to know whether it’s okay to sit down in a friend’s cubicle at work while the person is involved in a project. Girlfriends need to decide how much they share about their spouses and lovers versus what they keep intimate and private, without being subjected to invasive questioning. Friends need to be sensitive to each other’s needs, ascertain them when they are uncertain, and mutually agree upon boundaries. A corollary: Friends need to be able to say “No.”

4) You’re a lazy friend.

It takes two people to nurture a friendship. No one wants to be the only one extending invitations, scheduling get-togethers, or making the effort to stay in touch. Similarly, it’s hard to keep up one-sided conversations. Relationships thrive on give-and-take.

5) Your life is riddled with crises.

Yes, stuff happens and friends are there for each other when it does. But if your life is in constant turmoil, you may need a therapist rather than a friend. Persistent complaints about major life issues like chronic illness, severe depression, substance abuse, marital problems, or domestic abuse — ongoing issues that wax and wane but never seem to relent — can make a friend grow weary, sapping the joy and energy out of the friendship. Your friend may not know what to say anymore or simply not feel up to the task of helping lift you out of your misery. Instead, she may simply want to jump off the emotional roller coaster.

The bottom line

Understandably, being unilaterally dumped by someone you once considered a friend is awful. But looking at it from the other person’s perspective, no one wants to be saddled with a relationship that’s painfully draining and unrewarding.

How do you deal with being ghosted? “Loneliness is not a life sentence just a natural, temporary interlude," writes journalist Marla Paul in her book, The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making and Keeping Friends When You’re Not a Kid Anymore. “Friends are a renewable resource,” she says. Figuring out what might have gone wrong and changing your behavior will lead to stronger, more enduring and more satisfying friendships in the future. 

16 days ago

Galentine's Day: 5 Ways to Celebrate Female Friendships

When images of hearts, chocolates and flowers begin popping up all over, you know that Valentine’s Day is soon approaching. Of course, the holiday has become highly commercialized since its origins in the 1800s: Couples typically celebrate by exchanging gifts, cards and other expressions of affection. After Mother’s Day, it’s the second busiest day for dining out at restaurants.

Yet, as nice as it is to have a spouse or lover on Valentine’s Day, neither one can substitute for a close female friend. Spending time with a good friend is as comfortable as slipping into a pair of well-worn jeans. Best friends often seem joined at the hip because they never run out of things to discuss, always find something to laugh about, and share secrets they would never reveal to anyone else. What guy can possibly understand how the seasonal terror of looking for a bathing suit that makes you feel good?

Even when friendships are challenged by geography or changed life circumstances (e.g., graduation, marriage, new careers, giving birth, serious illness, etc.), the bonds of sisterhood are so strong that they can overcome these hurdles. But all friendships, even very good ones, require nurturance to survive and thrive.

Galentine’s Day is the perfect time for friends to recognize the importance of these vital ties.

What the heck is Galentine’s Day?

Galentine’s Day is celebrated on February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day, each year. Much like the holiday tradition of Festivus popularized on Seinfeld, Galentine’s Day is another product of pop-culture. The writers of the award-winning sit-com, Parks and Recreation, created this one.

On Episode 16 of the show’s second season (which first aired in February 2010), the lead character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) throws her annual Galentine’s Day brunch for female friends, proclaiming it the “best day of the year.” Since then it’s moved from the screen to terra firma, catching on with many women.

How to celebrate

If you want to nurture the female friendships that sustain you, here are five ways you can celebrate on February 13:

1) Gather your friends

Mid-week get-togethers can be tough, especially when women are juggling school, work and/or family. But get a babysitter or plan ahead to figure out a way to set aside time to do something you enjoy with friends. Meet for cocktails after work; invite your bestie to join you for a self-indulgent manicure, massage or spa day; or organize a group lunch for female co-workers or potluck dinner at home for your girlfriends.

2) Plan a future getaway

If you haven’t had face-time with your bestie for a long time, don’t count on your shared memories alone to last forever. Make plans to schedule a girlfriend getaway this spring or summer. Begin the planning process on Galentine’s Day. Talk about where you would both like to go and what you want to do.

3) Craft a hand-written note

At a time when most written communication between friends is electronic, a hand-written note can really have an impact. It’s far more impressive than sending a stock greeting card, too. Wish your friend(s) a Happy Galentine’s Day and tell her, in writing, how much and why you value her friendship.

4) Send flowers

Unless she has severe allergies, it’s hard to find a woman who doesn’t love receiving flowers at her doorstep or desktop. If they arrive on Galentine’s Day, she’ll probably think that they are an early Valentine’s Day delivery. Flowers from a girlfriend are even more disarming than ones received from a guy.

5) Help other women

Dispel the myth that women are competitive and aren’t supportive of one another. Pay it forward and do something nice for your neighbor, the mom you met at the PTA meeting or a co-worker. You can offer to babysit, take on a special task or help out a sister in some other meaningful way. Or else reach out to a stranger by making a commitment to volunteer your time to help the less fortunate.

Because Galentine’s Day has few rituals attached to it, you can figure out a way to celebrate that reflects your own style and sensibilities.

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