BFF, The How’s

   Written by on March 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Do you have a BFF?  We would all like a friend who would support us as Martina McBride’s husband supported her during her struggles with cancer by saying:  When you’re weak, I’ll be strong.  When you let go, I’ll hold on.  When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes.  When you feel lost and scared to death, like you can’t take one more step, just take my hand, together we can do it, I’m gonna love you through it.

Last week we talked about the why’s to have friends; and as I promised this week, we will talk about the how’s.

Are you thinking that friendship should just happen?  Do you believe that a friendship should develop without any effort?  It may seem like friendships develop naturally but if you take a minute to look at a friendship you will see that friendships grow.  So where do you start?  Start by looking around you.  Who do you see at church you like?  How about at the Y; is there someone there that interests you?  How about a parent of your kid’s friend; does he/she seem like a good choice for friend?

Yes, it takes time to grow a friendship.  A key in a strong friendship is trust.  Trust is built.  Building a friendship with a person you see in the course of your day makes building this trust easier.  Friendship means connection.  You can use social media, Facebook or Twitter, to connect.  In ancient times (my childhood), strong friendships were built by letter writing or phone calling.  Find your way to connect, to make plans, to send holiday cards, to remember birthdays, and just to find out how a friend’s day went.  Make the effort to say, “This made me think of you.”  We’re all busy, and keeping in touch can feel like a lot of work.  One strategy that works for many is to write “this made me think of you” emails whenever you see something of interest to a friend.

Ok, you can’t identify anyone in your current circles with whom you’d like to grow a strong friendship.  Then expand your circles.  The Messenger has a section that lists group meetings.  Find a group that sounds interesting.  Or, start a group.  What do you like to do?  Do you like to read?  Start a book club.  Do you like to hunt?  Join the National Wildlife Federation or the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited.  Do you like to garden?  Have you tried the local garden club?  Do you like to exercise?  Have you tried starting an exercise group at church?   

Starting or joining a group gives you the opportunity to socialize with people who like the same things you like.  Also, you can find people who like to socialize in the same way you do.  Not everyone socializes in the same way.  For example, if your idea of a great time is reading a book then joining the extreme marathon club may not be your best choice.  You may find some great people who like to run 56 miles a day; but is that how you’d like to socialize?

Remember there are all kinds of friends.  You don’t have to make the choice to have only close friends.  You can have work friends that you only see at work.  You can maintain your childhood friends who may live in another state and you only see every few years.  However, talking with a person who has known you since childhood can add a level of support you won’t find elsewhere.  Have you ever heard the term pen-pal?  Yes, you can have a friend you have never met face-to-face.  Your pen-pal may not be your BFF but talking with people across the globe can add color to your life.

The Bible, philosophers and scientists all agree: a key to happiness is strong social ties.  We all need close, long-term relationships; friends we are able to confide in and who provide a sense of belonging.

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.  Proverbs 20:5

Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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