The key to maintaining satisfying friendships

March 10, 2010 4:51:38 PM PST
Satisfying friendships. Learn how to find and keep good friends, and steer clear of the ones who bring you down.

Tips for keeping good friends and steering clear of the ones who bring you down:

1. How to identify what's important to you in a friend:

  • Know what you want: Do you want someone who will make you laugh, who likes to knit like you do, who always offers good advice, or maybe you like to spend time quietly and it's just a workout partner you seek?

  • Go for quality, not quantity: Think about the relationships you've had which make you feel good; the people who inspire you, who help you try new things and live up to your aspirations, are easy to talk to and make you laugh. Keep your eye out for people who can offer that great feeling.

  • Know how to be yourself: The one attribute on everyone's list is that you should feel free to be yourself when you're together.
2. How to clear out the relationships that bring you down (e.g. The naysayer; your friend who insists on ice-cream binging when you're eating grapefruit; the one who always makes you feel inferior or is cynical)
  • Head on approach: Have a frank conversation. If you know them well, let them know how they make you feel, (vs. what's wrong with them) and why it's hard for you to spend time with them. You may be surprised at their reaction.

  • Avoidance approach: Spend more time with the people you like and stop returning the negative person's phone calls or emails. They may bring it to a head with you, or they may simply slink into someone else's life.
3. How to bring IN the relationships that hold you up. Think of it like you would dating without the pressure of the first kiss.
  • Recognize there are many different types of friends: work-friend, weekend friends, dancing partners etc. Some will grow into deeper relationships and some will not.

  • Put yourself in situations where you'll meet people with things in common: Attend events and participate in activities you enjoy-join a club, take a class, play a sport.

  • Make an effort, even if you're a little introverted-start a conversation, invite someone to an event, admire their shoes

  • Give as much as you get-all relationships take effort, even the good ones--make yourself available

  • Don't try to change things about your friends old and new-accept and appreciate them for who they are

  • Figure out if you're being a friend yourself-are you a good listener, excellent maker of a cup of tea, ready with advice or a smile?
The bottom line: there may be no one person who embodies the perfect friend, but if you are able to have a variety of friends who all offer something unique, you'll be able to express all different parts of yourself-and all the better if they all get along with each other too.

About Lady Brain:

The most candid advice show on the radio-Steph and Lauren cover issues so personal, you may have thought they could only happen to you. Every week, co-hosts Steph and Lauren discuss and provide honest answers to questions from their listeners.

Offering intelligent, forthright opinions laced with down-to-earth humor on the personal issues women face in relationships, sex, and family (think sexy dreams, unhelpful husbands, vasectomies, in-laws), their show has been called "Oprah for the ears" and "Car Talk meets Cosmo Magazine." Lady Brain airs Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. in San Francisco on KUSF (90.3 FM), and is available 24/7 on iTunes, askladybrain.com, Facebook, Green960.com Podcasts and Stitcher.com.

For more information, go to askladybrain.com

About Lauren Schiller:

Lauren has spent much of her career marketing companies, advising them on how to position themselves to the public, and speaking on their behalf.

Much of her personal life has been spent advising friends, family and co-workers on issues like how to respond to an awkward situation, whether that hair cut really does suit you, and how to approach even serious issues with a sense of humor.

As a professional advice-giver, Lauren lifts up the rug on the topics most people sweep under-and provides a sane and intelligent take on every matter. She has appeared on CBS5 News, KTVU2 News, KRON4, HGTV, and ABC7's View from the Bay.

About Steph Dominguez Walton:

Steph has been in radio for the better part of her career. A graduate in broadcast journalism from Pepperdine, the sidekick and producer for the Blazy and Bob Morning Show on KOME in San Jose, and later a radio sales manager, she's now gotten back to her on-air roots and provides smart, racy commentary on the issues most women only whisper about-like dating, puberty and knowing when to break off a relationship. She lives with her husband and two children in the Bay Area.

In addition to KOME, Stephanie appeared on HGTV's Find Your Style.


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