Building Better Friendships

We discuss Shasta’s important book “Frientimacy on

Shasta Nelson is an award winning speaker and author of books “Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness”, “Friendships Don’t Just Happen!” and her business book “The Business of Friendship”.  She has developed robust strategies for connecting, developing and maintaining friendships and even how to end friendships well.

I have to admit that I am not the best friendship maintainer, even though I have a wide friendship circle of connections I have held for many years.  I think part of my success is choosing amazing, kindhearted people who tolerate my “busyness”, lack of consistency and obsessions with eclectic interests.  In other words, I think I might have already failed at Shasta’s recommendations, but I think we all have something to learn about the work required to develop engaged friendships for a lifetime.

This is a great opportunity for us to consider Shasta’s key teachings and ask questions about our friendship struggles and frustrations as well as our hopes, longing and desire for meaningful connection.

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a client … who disclosed feelings of loneliness.  When we discussed the people that this person was closest to, he admitted that he had not been making the effort to reach out to others but was struggling that they were not reaching out to him.  This sounds familiar to so many of us… We can feel lonely but then hold ourselves back for a variety of reasons. I am excited to hear how Shasta can guide us, especially when we may have trauma that is linked specifically to being betrayed or neglected in a traumatic relationship with others.

Let’s consider the following ideas that Shasta Nelson offers on friendship:

  • Why do so many people feel lonely even though they know so many people?
  • Why is it that a person can go out to a social event (i.e., family dinner, bar, zoom visit) only to feel lonelier during and after then we did prior to the event?
  • Why are consistency, vulnerability and positivity considered crucial to developing and maintaining friendships? Can you discuss each of these?
  • What are your key methods for establishing early connection, developing a friendship foundation, and maintaining a friendship for the long run?
  • You wrote the excellently titled “Friendships Don’t Just Happen” – I see that many people (wonderful, kind people) feel lonely and don’t seem to have the skills for making friendships later in life (after finishing school). Why is this? And what should they do?
  • What about when relationships go badly? You are in a relationship with someone who is overly demanding, negative, or even mean?  How do we free ourselves from troubling relationships so we can move onto something better without feeling guilty or lonely?
  • I know you focus primarily on female friendships but men also need this guidance. I wonder if you will expand your friendship work to men.
  • Obviously there is much more which we will cover during the show.

So what can you do?  Ten great suggestions … from Psychology Today

  1. Make it a health issue
  2. Embrace quality and ditch quantity
  3. Ride out transitions
  4. Expect — and even embrace – false starts
  5. Commit to community
  6. Focus on follow-up
  7. Avoid technology traps
  8. Develop momentum
  9. End poisonous friendships
  10. Remember the little things

Friendship is a topic for everyone. I notice that when people start connecting with others in a way that is nourishing, consistent and meaningful it is the number one indicator of recovery in my clinical practice.  It is an essential piece of growth that helps us cope with life challenges and a sense of warmth and peace on a very personal level.  So let’s all start to grow this skill for a better and deeper life.  Yes, even in this COVID19 time.  There are many ways to connect safely online or in a way that allows for distance that is safe.

Access “Compassion Fatigue Resiliency & Recovery” with Dr. Anna Baranowsky & Dr. J. Eric Gentry.  You can find the audio recording at:

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