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When friends get too close

A small bit of me feels bad for Leah — who is crying because she has depression — but a bigger, more honest bit feels happy. Leah and I have been friends since we were 11, but in the last year or so something has shifted. She got a new job, and then she got a boyfriend, and then they bought two fish together and called them "" and "Lana Del Rey". I was living in the room above Leah at the time, and sometimes I could hear her feeding them. I would lie really still and listen to the low hum of the fish tank and think dark thoughts about how full and happy her life was without me in it. Around the same time her boyfriend bought them a bigger tank, I moved back in with my parents.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How to Build Closer Friendships

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: 10 Differences Between Good Friends and Toxic Friends

8 ways to bond with a friend to become even closer

It can be difficult, however, to hear a friend criticize your life choices during an already high-stress time. People may become defensive. And because of the high stakes of this moment of history, the rifts created now may not be so easily mended. Joey Amaya, 22, watched in mild disbelief a few weeks ago as a friend of his texted a group chat of about 10 people to invite everyone to play soccer. On the group thread, Amaya reminded his friend of the risks; he mentioned his grandmother, and dropped a recent statistic about the nationwide death toll from COVID Miriam Kirmayer, a clinical psychologist and friendship researcher based in Montreal, has heard many similar stories from her clients lately.

Read: Two errors our minds make when trying to grasp the pandemic. Instead of enjoying the end of her senior year, Stanley is staying home and watching her friend group unravel from afar.

In her group of eight close girlfriends, Stanley told me, only she and one other friend have been practicing social distancing. Stanley, whose dad and stepmom work for what have been deemed essential businesses, was horrified when she found out.

Before the pandemic, Stanley said, these were the girls she did Secret Santa with at Christmastime. In normal times, a rift like the one Stanley described might be easy to repair. The knowledge that your time together might be ending is a powerful incentive to move past disagreements. To some extent, that can also happen in friendships.

Of course, no disagreement over social distancing is just about following rules. So has Rick, 42, who recently found himself wondering whether he and a classmate from college had reached the end of their friendship. Rick and his friend, he told me, have known for a long time that they occupy different spots on the ideological spectrum; Rick tends to lean progressive, while his friend has a libertarian bent.

In the past, despite the occasional flare-up over politics, they still managed to connect over pop culture and college memories. But in late March, Rick saw that his friend had said in a Facebook post that social distancing should be a matter of individual choice rather than a mandatory measure.

Rick responded, and several tense exchanges ensued. If you flout these social-distancing protocols, you are endangering exponentially increasing numbers of people. But ignoring public-health guidance can be especially disruptive to friendships, she explained. So when friends are at odds over social distancing, Kirmayer recommends preserving those friendships when possible, and using empathy rather than shaming to resolve the conflict.

Perhaps that means acknowledging circumstances that make coping with the pandemic harder, such as a friend who lives alone, or is single, or has lost income, or has a less-than-desirable home situation. Perhaps the best way to bolster a friendship that has become tense, though, is to actively help the friend in question with whatever it is that makes social distancing so hard for them.

Can I support you in this in any way? But we can try to metaphorically meet our friends where they are. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic. Skip to content. Sign in My Account Subscribe. The Atlantic Crossword. The Print Edition. Latest Issue Past Issues. The Atlantic Link Copied. Ashley Fetters is a staff writer at The Atlantic , where she covers families and relationships.

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HerTake Advice Column: Too Close, Too Quickly

And then all of a sudden, you are in a full blown love affair with this person. You know you have found your life partner when you stop closing the door on the toilet. You know how it goes.

Our friendships are among the most valuable relationships we have. We gain in various ways from different friendships. We may talk to friends in confidence about things we wouldn't discuss with our families.

Sometimes, you and the person just click, and you immediately become joined at the hip. So I reached out to a few experts to get tips on how to build deeper friendships. Below are some ways to bond with a friend, any friend, so that you guys can get one step closer to calling each other besties. One of the best things about having friends is having someone to celebrate all of the good stuff with. But one of the best things about having good friends is having someone you can go to with the bad stuff, too.

Is My Best Friend Toxic? 9 Signs To Look Out For, According To Experts

I have friends who like to hike, and friends who like to chat over coffee and friends who live far away but whom I talk to a few times a year. But close friends? Not so much. A childhood friend and I had a falling-out, never to be repaired. Another close friend moved away. But the research is clear: Close friendships are necessary for optimal health and well-being. Levine said. True close friendship unsurprisingly does not need to be quite as extreme. Chen said. Reciprocation is also a key element to creating intimacy.

Friends Are Breaking Up Over Social Distancing

It can be difficult, however, to hear a friend criticize your life choices during an already high-stress time. People may become defensive. And because of the high stakes of this moment of history, the rifts created now may not be so easily mended. Joey Amaya, 22, watched in mild disbelief a few weeks ago as a friend of his texted a group chat of about 10 people to invite everyone to play soccer.

No matter how busy I might be with work and other obligations, I work just as hard at maintaining my relationships with my friends because they each bring something special to my life. A good friend is hard to find, but a true friend is even more difficult to lose.

Do you have a question for Nina? Use our anonymous form. I nose-dived right into a friendship with her assuming we had a lot in common.

Friendship and mental health

How do you know if you have a toxic friendship? It can be really difficult— because we often don't want to see it. As much as people talk about difficult relationships where we don't want to see how bad things have gotten, the truth is that the very same holds true for friendships. We often stay in bad friendships for the same reasons we stay in bad romantic relationships.

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How to Have Closer Friendships (and Why You Need Them)

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Aug 27, - We engage in denial and go on because it's easier than going through the pain of conflict." And with close friendships — with best friends— it's.

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Your Female Friendships Might Be Ruining Your Life

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11 Tell Tale Signs You And Your BFF Are Way Too Close

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I have become far too close to my best friend

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