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Last week I posted a piece with questions to ask ourselves about our friendships  http://robpasick.com/some-questions-about-friendship/.  The posting proved quite popular.  It sparked the interest of Lisa Barry, local host of All Things Considered, 89.1 WEMU, who did an interview with me for her show on WEMU in Ypsilanti.  The interview, “Social Media Creating ‘Faux Friendships’ and Lack of True Connections Could be Harming Your Health.”  http://wemu.org/post/social-media-creating-faux-friendships-and-lack-true-connections-could-be-harming-your-health.  It will air on Monday afternoon, July 10, at 4:35 pm and during Morning Edition and All Things Considered as well.

In today’s posting, I provide some advice on how to make friends in today’s hectic world.

  1. Recognize that social media friendships are not real friendships.  While it is easy to connect in a non-intimate way through the internet, this by no means replaces real friendships.
  2. Come to terms with your relationship with your parents, because these ties are the prototypes for your relationships with your peers.
  3. Reconnect with old friends and set up social gatherings with them.
  4. Think about things you can do for your friends and do them.  Reciprocity is about as much as giving as in getting.
  5. Look for ways to open up to currents friends:  plan a trip or outing.  Talk about something you usually might not be inclined to bring up.
  6. Identify the obstacles that tend to get in the way of your friendships:  fear of rejection, unresolved conflicts, insufficient time, competitiveness, past failures.
  7. Recognize that friendships aren’t just about “being liked”; they are also about taking care of yourself by feeling connected to others.
  8. When you are tempted to sign in to Facebook this week, consider instead picking up the phone and call or text a “real” friend.
  9. Do something new:  join a group, take a class, learn a new hobby or become a volunteer.  Something that will put you in contact with other human beings on a regular basis.
  10. Don’t create a situation where all of your friendships are tied to work or groups you belong to.
  11. Be open and honest about yourself.  Humility is the key to authentic friendship.
  12. Make couple friendships and set up times to spend with couples you and your partner both like.
  13. Recognize that we all are flawed individuals, who come in all shapes, colors, and forms.
  14. Learn to appreciate the differences and recognize that you can learn from others who are different than yourself.
  15. If you have cut off from someone who used to be a friend, try to remember what the problem was and see if you might be willing to forgive and forget in order to reestablish the friendship.
  16. Consider how you can become better friends with your siblings and relatives.
  17. Work on becoming better friends with yourself.  Learn to accept yourself and to love yourself, flaws, inadequacies, and all the “mishegas.

Following my own advice, yesterday I tried to reach out to an old friend from graduate school.  When I googled his name, Neil Watson, I was shocked to discover his obituary.  He had died in April 2017.  So a final lesson:  don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend.  Do it now or it may be too late.

WEMU’s website, wemu.org.

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