Under a Friendly Spell

How friends influence us, for better and for worse, throughout life.

10 Friendship Conundrums

You might want to question some of your automatic beliefs about friendship.

1. "We hate it when our friends become successful," Morrissey sang, but successful friends make us more successful.

2. Many a romantic couple will celebrate a year or even six months together, yet many friends do not even acknowledge the milestone of a 20, 30, or 40-year friendship.

3. Parents are obsessed with whether or not their teens are with the "wrong crowd" yet rarely question whether or not they themselves are.

4. Some complain to friends that if only they were married, they'd feel less lonely. Yet friends relieve loneliness more than spouses.

5. Friends are the focal point of school for teens, yet they are rarely taught about friendship.

6. If you describe your sibling as your " best friend," you are giving her an emotional promotion. If you describe your friend as "a sister to me," you are giving her an emotional promotion.

7. The more work and the more children you have, the less time you have for friends---but making time for friends makes you a better worker and a better parent.

8. We feel put out by a friend asking favors, yet hurt and replaced upon learning that she has starting asking someone else for favors.

9. A friendless child can't learn social skills "on the job" and is thus more likely to remain friendless, while socially-skilled kids become even savvier as they navigate more and deeper relationships.

10. We feel too tired to go meet with friends, yet energized after seeing them.

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This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post on August 3, 2013.


Carlin Flora is a journalist in New York City. She was a member of PT's staff from 2004-2011, most recently as Features Editor.


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