Friends Reunited

Some last thoughts and tips specifically on friendships However close your friends are, there is one huge difference between them and your family, and that is the issue of unconditional love or bonding Although families can and do split up, blood relatives tend to stay with you forever . Not so with friends, which is why you should never take them for granted . Remember that great set of close pals you had at your last job? What happened when you or they moved on? No matter how many work colleagues swear to stay in touch, it's commonly found that they will lose touch once the common bond (the job) no longer exists . Childhood friendships are often lost by marriage, and a huge modern problem is one of property or career moves taking people off to live abroad

It helps to analyze your friendships to discover what works, why it works, and how to cherish it rather than taking it for granted I A key ingredient of bonding with friends is image and body language For comfort and animal security reasons we tend to like people who look or act like us School tends to create some superficial bonds like this At school you were placed with children of your own age who nearly all lived locally Often the financial backgrounds of school kids will be relatively similar, and the school experience means you are working on the same tasks . Children are great body language mimics and will often copy one another extensively, creating strong rapport Some school groups will dress alike, talk alike, and move alike in a bid to make their bonds even stronger This pack identity is a big factor in who we mix with and who we don't I Without regular face-to-face contact to maintain these visual ties a friendship can weaken, especially if the similarities were superficial to start with Although text and email are good ways of keeping in touch, always remember you'll need constant "mimic" sessions, that is, face-to-face meetings, to maintain strong bonds . I If there has been a gap in this contact, use telephone conversations to reboot vocal and verbal pattern ties rather than sending photographs or video links . If your tie-signs have diminished on these links, so will your rapport When you speak on the phone you at least have a chance to use verbal mirroring to create empathy and rapport

I Never assume that your friends will all like one another. At school you had groups or cliques, but your friends as an adult will probably come from a mixture of sources They will look and seem similar to you, but never forget how much you and they will have flexed to create those friendships What you might think is just pure luck—that is, that you know so many people with things in common—is actually the result of a strong and complex social bonding process that will have involved massive behavioral flexing that you were possibly consciously unaware of So friends that you love might easily hate one another, or find they have very little in common apart from you One sign of this is the way guests at weddings often run out of conversation once they've asked one another: "How do you know the bride and groom?" I It also helps to be consciously aware of the pecking order of your friendships Like every other relationship in your life, there will be compatible behaviors that are maintained to keep the peace If you have a group you socialize with frequently, it will be useful to study the individual roles in that group and see if they are flexible Is there an alpha? Do some of you adopt submissive or compliant roles or stances, and if so is that comfortable or irritating? I Hierarchical groups mean peaceful groups in the animal kingdom, although there can still be challenges for power or control The point about animals, though, is that they seem to be very aware of who's in charge and what their own role is in the hierarchy Humans are often less aware and this can destabilize friendship groups I Partnerships with the opposite sex can also threaten or destabilize friendships, which is why friends often try to split relationships up by joking about or ridiculing couples once they start to sound serious This is partly caused by a sense of loss that can build almost to the point of mourning by the time a couple tie the knot . Crying at weddings isn't always about happiness I Be aware of the body language rituals involved when a friend pairs off with a partner By turning a subconscious process of approval or rejection into a conscious process, you could prevent a friendship breaking up forever Your friend's new partner is unlikely to arrive on the scene with body language that is compatible to your own He or she might even have made radical changes to your friend's body language patterns, meaning he or she feels like a virtual stranger The common ritual is to try to see or create a body language match with the newcomer so that they have a chance of integration Otherwise they could be rejected This initiation can even involve unconscious flirting with him or her in an attempt to change the body language approach. Many friendships split up because one friend appears to be flirting with another's partner Although this needn't be innocent it is, ironically, often prompted by a strong desire for pack acceptance I Be constantly aware of your friendship mirroring as it really is the ties that bind Change is a constant factor in all our lives and change can often strengthen friendships, but only if the core similarities are in place Discover these core values in all your friendships and work to maintain them

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