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Who doesn't have a Facebook horror story, or a terrible Twitter tale, or has simple found themselves in desperate need of a friendship fix? Should you friend your ex on Facebook? Your co-workers? Your mother-in-law? How do you break up with a friend? How do you make friends, now that you’re a grown woman?
It's no wonder we need a guide for choosing, losing, and keeping up with friends. Dr. Andrea Bonior, psychologist from Georgetown University and ModernMom "Friendship Expert," has written the definitive guide on how to navigate friendships in this ever-growing Facebook and texting/technology era. Dr. Bonior delves into the newest friendship issues (both online and off) in her new book, "The Friendship Fix," perfect for 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings whose friendships have become as important as their relationships (Stay tuned all week for some great advice on your most pressing friendship issues!).
Here are some tips from Bonior's book:
1. Let yourself grieve. Everyone knows that they’re granted permission to blast Alanis Morissette and eat ice cream right out of the carton, while wearing nothing but a Muppets T-shirt, in the aftermath of a romantic breakup. But few people allow themselves this same consideration when a platonic relationship hits the skids. They should! Friend breakups can pack just as severe an emotional punch, sometimes even more so. Don’t try to push the feelings aside! You’ll only postpone having to deal with the sting and risk the pain turning into something worse.
2. An ending doesn’t erase the relationship. Friendship breakups can be at their most painful when you feel like you have to completely rewrite the book of your history together. But this need not be the case: just because your friendship ran its course doesn’t mean you won’t still carry aspects of that person with you. The positives of what your relationship meant (and that hilarious story of getting locked out of your Myrtle Beach condo) are yours for the keeping, always.
3. Fairness goes far. No matter who’s responsible for ending the friendship, you owe it to your history together to play fair. Yes, the Golden Rule still applies (perhaps more now than ever) as this ending might be your final interaction with the person for the rest of your lives. So, don’t string someone along, stab them in the back, or leave them with a ton of loose ends to clean up alone. Karma can be a killer!
4. Endings are natural. In this era of BFFs, it’s not always politically correct to acknowledge, but it’s true: most friendships have a shelf life. Just because you’re not destined to be toasting each other on your 80th birthdays doesn’t mean you friendship is flawed or lacking. Friendships, at their essence, are the connections of two people at one point in time. As lives change, friendships wax and wane. Don’t beat yourself up or feel overly guilty for a natural drifting apart.
5. Don't torch the Earth. That said, you never know what the future might bring. From potentially becoming nursing home roommates to someday becoming close with a mutual friend, your ex-best friend may continue to play a role in your life, indirectly, for decades. Don’t do anything that will come back to nauseate you if your paths should cross again.
About Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor at Georgetown University, and writer. For more than five years, Dr. Bonior has written the twice-weekly mental health column “Baggage Check” for the Washington Post’s Express newspaper, known for its wit and frequent pop culture references. She's appeared regularly on TV, writes a friendship blog here on ModernMom, has written on friendships for Yahoo! Shine, Woman's Day and more. The Friendship Fix is her first book. www.friendshipfix.com.
Follow Andrea on Twitter @DrAndreaBonior