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Articles: Development
Friendship
- Mr. VIRABHADRA SASTRI KALANADHABHATTA
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I reproduce hereunder some of the extracts about friendship from various sites for informaion of our tp.com friends. -Sastri- Friendship. The dictionary says: Friend (frend) noun. 1. A person whom one knows, likes and trusts. 2. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; comrade. 3. One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group. 4. An acquaintance. The dictionary makes one small omission tho. It doesn't speak of the years that a friendship endures, the laughter that fills the air when friends are together, the support, understanding and comfort a friend can offer or the anguish you cannot escape from when a friend is dying. The dictionary, I'm afraid, cannot begin to define the word: Friend. So then what is this magic called Friendship? Is there a magic wand that silently transforms you and those special people on a jouney into, what sometimes can be a lifelong relationship? Is it mutual admiration, common interests, the need to be a friend? Or is it just an enduring tie that bonds you together, allows you to almost think as one and gives you one of lifes greatest joys. Friendships are precious jewels. Treat them as such. Enjoy them! Celebrate them! And never take them for granted. Many people find it difficult to approach a stranger or someone they know very little about and begin getting acquainted process. It's easier to do this in some situations than others. Being in a class, working with someone, being in a club, being at a party or living in a dormitory or an apartment complex can put people in face-to-face contact on a regular basis. Many of these situations will provide the participants with an indirect way of getting acquainted. For instance, in a club, the participants get to know each other through mutual participation in a club activity. Whatever the situation, one must still make that opening line, the 'hello' and following sentence. Often the opener is most helpful and effective when it is directed at something common in the situation the two of you are in. For instance, your opener might focus on a book that the other person you want to meet is carrying or something about them like an insignia on their clothes or the fact that you are both interested in the same club. Or you might focus on the fact that you have the same hobby or that you both know a mutual friend. Focusing on these elements common to both of you can be more effective than asking for the time or commenting about the weather. It is important, however, to get beyond them to a common topic of interest. Moving Along. Attempt to avoid getting mired and trading vital statistics about one another, such as: 'Are you married?','Do you have any children', 'How long have you lived in this town?' One good way of getting beyond this type of questioning is to ask open questions as opposed to closed or narrow questions. Open questions, in general, demand more than a one or two word answer. Notice how much more information is required to answer a more open question than a closed one. 'What do you intend to do with your political science degree?' cannot be answered easily with a single word or two. 'Tell me something about what you do,' requires a longer answer than, 'Do you like your job?' The open question demands a longer response that gives you more information you can react to and develop conversations about. Also attempt to ask questions specific to the person rather than general questions. It's better to say, 'I noticed that when we talked about the situation with the President in class today, that you seemed to have a lot to say. How did you develop such a strong opinion?' that to say, 'People sure have strong ideas about politicians, don't they?' Give people opportunities to share personal information and feeling by the nature of you questions. Similarly, share free and unsolicited information about yourself by expanding on an answer to what might have been a yes or no question. Give the person that's trying to get to know you more than they are asking for, more than their questions demand, without ending up spending the whole time talking just about yourself. What you hope to accomplish by these tactics is that you might find some mutual areas of interest and things you might have in common with the other person. If the person you want to get to know gives signs that they want to continue the conversation, then by all means continue it, but be attentive to cues of disinterest or hesitation. Donít rush a relationship. If it does not seem to be developing smoothly at the moment, let it slide and return to it at a later time to reopen it. People get to know one another through a mutual process of self-disclosure that takes place over time. In this process, they share information about themselves, and, at different points of this sharing process, each decides whether they want to continue sharing to deepen their relationship. You or they might decide that you want to maintain a relationship at an acquaintance level or deepen it further into a friendship or even an intimate one. The process is a gradual one. It is important not to rush it and yet not neglect it either. It is best to convey to the person that you feel positive about the relationship if that is the way you feel about it. If you feel ambiguous about how the other person is responding to the relationship, it is best to give the person the benefit of the doubt about their interest and not to just assume they don't want a relationship of any kind with you. Obviously, this sometimes feels risky. Risks and Rewards Getting to know someone does mean risk, because rejection is always possible. Rejection, however, is much less harmful if you are prepared to understand rejection as not meaning that you are disliked or unlikable. The reasons we usually reject opening a new relationship is not because someone is not likable. It is usually because we already have a social network or established body of friends who meet our needs or that we can't see any mutuality of interest between ourselves and the new person. Making friends and developing a social network is a process of shaking out and identifying a group of people who are somewhat similar to yourself. This means that some of the new people you meet are not going to be like you and are not going to want to continue the relationship with you --nor you with them. Some are not going to 'fit' with you, as you are not going to 'fit' with them. If you would look at your actual experiences, you would probably see that you are actually disliked by very few people. You might have been indifferent about a lot of people while really liking a relatively few. Rejection is a two way street; we all reject and we all accept. Even if a given relationship you attempt does not work out, you can learn a lot about people and yourself in the process of trying to make it work that might help you as you pursue new relationships. Maintenance Getting to know anther person is often difficult and doesn't happen as quickly or as smoothly as we'd like. (However, once you have connected and developed a friendship, having someone with whom you can share interests and feelings can make all the effort worthwhile.) Just remember, however, that having a friendship is like growing a garden. Each needs attention and nurturing in order to produce the best results. You can't expect much from a garden that you let go to weeds through lack of attention. Different relationships may also need different levels of attention. Some may need an occasional 'checking in,' while others need some daily attention. Know how much you are willing to invest in a friendship. Don't promise more than you are willing to do and set limits when you are being asked for more than you are willing to give. Relationships built on a sense of guilt are difficult to maintain and generally aren't a lot of fun. Try to build your relationships on things that you mutually enjoy. A Final Note A last thing to be reminded of, perhaps, is that everyone has trouble establishing relationships from time to time and that not even the most successful people are successful every time. However, nobody is successful unless they try. Note: This document is based on an audio tape script developed by the University of Texas, Austin. With their permission, it was revised and edited into its present form by the staff of the University of Florida Counseling Center. 1. People Equal Friends There is a certain chemistry with friends just as in a love relationship. Therefore, contact with other people is the first building block to grow a friend. Friends can't grow in a vacuum. Best friends take time. 2. Talking Is Essential Among Friends. Talking between friends requires reciprocity. In a mutually satisfying friendship, both friends talk and both friends listen. Friends talk appropriately to each other. 3. Friends Acknowledge Friends. Friends acknowledge each other when talking. Many conflicts in your personal relationships can be avoided if you will take the time to acknowledge other's feelings and points of view. 4. Friends Listen to Friends. Listening to friends in an important step in building a closer friendship. We often take listening for granted, never realizing what it means to really listen to a friend. 5. Friends Attend to Friends. Friends focus during conversations. Friends pay attention in conversations. It means that your ears, your eyes, your body and your feelings are all focused on that person at the time. 6. Friends Show Empathy With Friends. Empathy is identifying with your friend's feelings and seeing life through your friend's eyes. Confidences are freely given when they are received with empathy among friends. 7. Friends Touch Friends. Touching is a warm form of communication between friends. When you see best friends communicating, you will notice friends 'listen with their eyes,' stand close together, and touch comfortably. 8. Friends Praise Friends. Affirmation is a powerful tool for growing a friend. Genuine praise can affect your friends' lives. Be liberal with praise for all of your friends, including your casual ones. 9. Friends Are Loyal and Trustworthy. Trust and loyalty go hand-in-hand for friends. Friends can trust you with their secrets, both large and small, because good friends never break a confidence. Good friends are forever loyal! 10. Friends are Equal. Friends are on a seesaw. In a healthy relationship, friends are equals. Not 50/50 every time, of course, but with a true, lasting friendship it always evens out in the end. 11. Friends Reveal Their Feelings. We feel closest to our friends when we are suffering together, when we feel like our friend needs us, or when we feel a friend has shared something of great importance with us. 12. Friends Do Not Mind Read. The person who thinks, 'If you really liked me, you could read my mind' can not have an adult friendship. No friend can read your mind. And you can not read your friend's mind.

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