Friendshifts: Keeping Close Through Life's Changes

What a glorious relationship friendship proves to be, where trust, honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, being a good listener, having ideas in common, and love are what count. These are all traits or feelings you can acquire. Age, attractiveness, and intelligence, largely a question of birth and luck, are considered unimportant for a close friendship.

Similarly, you are born to a family; you can choose your friends.

You would probably agree that friendship is crucial for schoolage children or for singles who are between romantic relationships. However, friends count for even the happiest couples: friendship affirms and validates in a more distinctive way than even the most positive romantic or blood tie. It is now known that friendship is vital throughout life.

"You quickly find out who your good friends are when you are down or when you need them most," writes a 36-year-old married vice president of sales who lives in Cincinnati. "A good friend won't desert you when you are down," this mother of two preteen daughters continues. "Nor will she turn away in jealousy when you succeed."

Another theme of this book is that friendship, like love, requires an investment of time and effort. Even children need guidance in how to develop and maintain friends. Until they are old enough to make arrangements on their own, they need their parents or caretakers to set up play dates for them with their friends. Playing with the kid next door is fine, but it is not enough. They need to cultivate friendships based on likes and dislikes, not just proximity and convenience. They need to be taught how to keep a friendship going even if a friend moves away, or if they have a disagreement.

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