Tag Archives: friends

How To Nurture Your Offline And Online Friendships

Maggie and LouieYou know how cats make friends? They rub up against you and mark you with the scent glands in their cheeks. At least, that’s what my daughter tells me. It’s a way of “claiming” you as their property, just like when a male cat pees to mark their territory. It’s now theirs and other cats should know to stay off their property! It’s the kind of behavior that makes me cringe when I see it in my own circle of friends.

What This Can Teach Us About Human Friendships

People can be equally as neurotic with friendships, I’ve noticed, particularly when it’s a male/female friendship. You can even see some of those dynamics online, where people try to associate with particular friends so that some of their glamor rubs off on them. There’s nothing wrong with that, but making friends online may be easy to start, but not so easy to maintain. You have to nurture both your offline as well as your online friendships to bring more relationship wealth into your life. You should never be a passive participant in any relationship, if you want it to be mutually satisfying. And, you want to behave in ways that show you appreciate the friendship, without being overly possessive of it too.

Here are some ways to establish a good mutual reciprocity in friendships, both online and off:

  • Do give tit for tat – I’m sorry but one-way relationships are draining, both in virtual reality as well as physical reality. If someone comments on your blog, be nice and comment on theirs too. If someone invites you to a social event, try to include them in your list of social events too.
  • Earn their trust – If you start out by sending too many Facebook pokes or flowers before you’ve even gotten to know them, it can make people suspicious. Start by reading their blog, their profile, or whatever else is important to them in their lives. It helps you build your appreciation of who they are and can help you relate to them on a deeper level.
  • Interact – Do ask questions, make helpful comments, and contribute to the conversation, however, don’t dominate the interaction. There’s a fine line between an admirer and a stalker.
  • Give it time – All good friendships take time to develop. If you really start to connect with someone, it will develop naturally as you continue to interact with them. However, if you’ve given it several months and the reciprocity fails, well it may be they ‘just aren’t that into you’ as a friend. Time to nurture other friendships that are more mutually satisfying. It may be your absence makes them realize what they took for granted.
  • Establish good boundaries – Let’s face it, this is particularly important with male/female relationships. If you find someone making assumptions about the relationship, propositioning you, or just making you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to let them know that’s not your cup of tea. If they persist, you can always end the friendship. This is even trickier if there appears to be a good reason to violate the boundary, don’t fall for it. Good fences make good neighbors.
  • Network your friends – Does one friend seem like a good contact for another? Network them at a sit down dinner together, or using online tools. Facebook even has an application called “IntroduceMe” that can help make that easier. Maybe you know that one friend is looking for a job and you know of another friend who is a headhunter or does professional resumes. Hook them up!

There are probably more points that could be added. Do you have anything that makes you cringe about online or offline friendships? How do you know when a friend is a keeper or not?

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Our Busy Lives…

friends.jpgSo, here I am. I’m taking a full load in my Master’s program, working at home as a single mother, and now trying to figure out how much I can give to helping my friend who has the brain tumor. February was a complete blur. I notice that other people too have very busy lives and this is a sad fact about us Americans. There are very few people who have the time to just visit with others or to give of themselves in worthwhile causes. Most of us are too busy chasing our tails – unless we are friends who take the time to be with each other.

Back To Basics

As hard as it is to manage our financial lives when major upsets happen, that’s probably the most important time to pay attention to our finances. I noticed a significant drop-off in income in February due to attention being riveted and other things. Now, I have to put these things aside and concentrate on bringing in some income. Luckily, I do have income that comes in, however, it’s becoming even more important to settle some debts and bring in more income. I also need to review what additional bills I have managed to amass during this crisis. My inspiration is a friend of mine who told me they amassed over $200,000 in debt when she got sick and now they are no longer responsible for it. When I hear stories like that, it puts my level of debt into perspective. Debt exists and it’s a pain, but managing debt is possible and it’s also possible to raise your income when you need it.

The car was a major financial struggle for me. Nissan’s inability to put out a decent car and pass the cost to the consumer has walloped me. I estimate I spent about $3000 in repairs in the last few months and I have no idea if the engine is even going to hold after all is said and done. If it fails, it’s scooter time. However, I realized the car would be crucial to my ability to help my sick friend because he would need rides and is unable to drive while in treatment. So, the car that I wasn’t going to fix became a top priority. It’s a sad statement on our capitalistic system when a simple item like a car can keep you from providing help and assistance to those who need it most. However,you have to be there for your friends and a broken car is fixable, unlike some other things in life that aren’t.

Planning Some Major Changes

The economy is really screwy right now even though in my area houses are still selling good. So, I am thinking of once again putting my house on the market. I dread going through that process, on top of everything else, but I can’t keep up with the house maintenance anyways. The idea of moving into an apartment is so appealing because I know I will no longer have $200-$300 worth of extra fixes I have to do each month for whatever decides to break around the house. I’d rather just have my fixed apartment lease and let the landlord worry about maintenance. Of course, putting the house up will make my life even more busy and stressful than it already is.

Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

One thing I have noticed is how important good friends are, even when it comes to finances. If you have friends who make time for you, they are keepers. There are so few people willing to put aside their own concerns for others that when you come across some like these they are treasures. When news hit some of my friends about my friend with the brain tumor, they offered to pray and to also give healing. The family is receiving gifts of food and transportation too. You know, if I die absolutely penniless and have my beautiful friends, I will consider myself extremely wealthy.

*Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license by StuSeeger