Dorset - - My Generation -

and group roles. Friend­ship can be as chal­leng­ing as your main re­la­tion­ship, and ac­tu­ally needs some of the same skills.

- Be will­ing to ex­per­i­ment: try­ing a range of ap­proaches with a va­ri­ety of peo­ple in­creases your chances of suc­cess.

- Imag­ine a new friend­ship as a spi­ral process: don’t plunge in, but let it deepen grad­u­ally. Lis­ten for clues from your friend about the sub­jects they do and don’t want to talk about, and guide them on your pref­er­ences.

- Cul­ti­vate your lis­ten­ing skills: try to hear what your friend is say­ing, and re­spond to it. Don’t get pre­oc­cu­pied with your own needs. Lis­ten for what’s not be­ing said: peo­ple can strug­gle to ex­press their feel­ings or ask for sup­port, so lis­ten for clues and make an of­fer, for ex­am­ple, “Would it help you to talk more about the divorce?”

- Find the courage to make the first move: In shift­ing from ca­sual con­tact to­wards friend­ship, some­one needs to take the ini­tia­tive: Re­mem­ber the other per­son may be even more shy than you are.

- Some­times, do­ing some­thing to­gether can be an eas­ier start to a friend­ship than sit­ting and talk­ing. It could be quite sim­ple, like go­ing to a film, or hav­ing a walk.

- Re­mem­ber the Giver, Taker and Re­ceiver roles: do you and your friend have a bal­ance be­tween these? If you’re stuck in one role, ex­per­i­ment with chang­ing.

- As a friend­ship starts to build, if you want it to deepen, try talk­ing openly with your friend about how it’s go­ing and what you both want from it. This kind of frank­ness doesn’t come easy in our cul­ture, but it can help both of you to get what you need, and to learn as you go along.

- As you change, the kind of friends you want will change too. If you want to move from friend­ship down to ac­quain­tance, do it hon­estly: talk it through with your friend, hear their feel­ings, try to reach a point of com­ple­tion and cel­e­bra­tion for the friend­ship. This will cause less pain than just stop­ping.

‘Do­ing some­thing to­gether can be an eas­ier start to a friend­ship thansit­ting and talk­ing’

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