wonderful a partner, can't meet all our needs. In fact, about half of
married women feel they can talk with a friend about things they
wouldn't discuss with their husbands, such as self-doubts, child-
rearing problems, trouble in the marriage, etc. As women have
increased their own self-esteem and broadened their interests, they
have increased their respect for and interest in other women. Women
now develop "specialized friends," like a male's tennis buddy or car
repair buddy, as well as "intimate friends."
Good advice is to take your time making a friend. It takes, on
average, 3 years to become "best friends." There are ups and downs in
most friendships; some stresses may actually strengthen the
relationship. Confide in each other, but go slow. If you think you are
unloading too much or imposing on your friend, ask him/her about it.
Remember, almost no relationship will tolerate total frankness; we
wisely refrain from telling a friend things that will hurt or drive him/her
away. Also, be cautious about disclosing damaging information to
friends who might pass it on. Avoid expecting too much time and help
from just one or two friend(s). Likewise, don't acquire so many friends
that you don't have time for your better friends when they need you.
Look for opportunities to do things for and with your friends. Friends
are valuable treasures but we need time alone.
People addicts and people haters
Some of us are literally addicted to being with other people. We
may feel lost, lonely, uncomfortable, afraid, and/or bored when alone.
So it is understandable why these people spend most of their time
socializing (usually very well because they are so practiced and try so
hard) or talking on the phone or planning some social activity. The
problem is that we may need to do some things alone: study, work,
care for children, read, keep up with current events, plan our future,
etc. If we can get good at doing some things alone, we will enjoy the
activities more and become more comfortable with ourselves, even
enjoy the silence and comfort of being alone (Storr, 1988). If we have
a desire to always be with someone, it is important to understand this
enslaving need. Perhaps we irrationally believe that we must be having
"fun" all the time or that everyone must like us. Perhaps there is still
an insecure child inside demanding attention and dominating our life.
Perhaps we have grown up with people constantly around us and,
thus, feel in a foreign place when alone.
Others of us just don't like people. Most of us don't like certain
kinds of people. Sometimes there are good reasons for our feelings,
such as self-serving, inconsiderate, demanding bosses; arrogant,
critical, embarrassing teachers; crude, mean, ignorant, prejudiced
"clods." Often, though, we do not have good reasons for hating--
prejudice, misunderstandings, impossible expectations and so on. The