Enrich Your Social Life With Friendships

Posted Feb 11, 2019


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This webinar discusses the benefits and importance of friendships.

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Enrich Your Social Life With Friendships

Stan Pelham: Hello and welcome to today’s webinar titled “Enrich Your Social Life with Friendships.” My name is Stan Pelham and I will be the host for today’s webinar.

Our presenter today is Kris Hooks. Kris Hooks is a licensed professional counselor, a marriage and family therapist, a certified employee assistance professional, and a certified wellness coach. Kris has provided and managed employees in the behavioral health field for 30 years. She has written and facilitated seminars and webinars for hundreds of organizations and many Fortune 500 companies.

We are pleased to have Kris with us today, and without further delay, I will turn things over to Kris.

Kris Hooks: Thank you so much, Stan! I really commend all of you who have joined the webinar today. There is something inside of you that this topic this week. It is hard this day and time to establish close friendships and to keep those going. In the webinar, we’ll talk about why.

The title of the webinar is “Enrich your Social Life with Friendships.” But did you know, you can actually enrich just about all aspects of your life and improve your health.

Good friends are actually good for your health. Friends help us celebrate good times and they’ll be there for us, when times are tough in life. Friends help prevent loneliness and they give us a chance to offer companionship. Friendships are two-way street. We get to give support and encouragement and receive those and that’s awesome.

So in today’s webinar, we are going to focus on understanding the importance of friendships in our lives and what we can do to develop and nurture those friendship. So specifically our learning objectives, I kind of hit high level about the benefits and importance, we are going to dive a little deeper into that.

Discuss those barriers, the part that I mentioned in the intro, why it’s so hard today to develop and maintain friendships? It’s harder today than it was 20 or 30 or 50 or more years ago.

How can you improve, maintain, and develop friendships? Some very real practical strategies, I want you leaving this webinar empowered to add in your toolbox very real ways you can develop closer friendships, maintain the friendships you have, overcome those barriers.

All right, let’s look at some of the benefits of friendships. If any of you in school ever saw Maslow's hierarchy of needs, at the bottom those like, oh, basic needs like food and shelter, safety and security. And then in the triangle of needs, there's a whole section on how much we need to belong and feel loved and give love and have purpose in our lives.

That is a basic human need. Now, on a continuum of how many people do you need in your life, how many friends do you need, how many connections do you need. We really vary and it depends on you and how you’re wired and what your needs are, how that looks.

So don't ever think as we are talking through the material that you—if you tend to be a little more introverted, a little more of a loner, that you need to have all these multiple connections in your life in order to achieve the benefits we’re talking about, that may not be true.

But also don’t turn that and rationalize it as I’m good all by myself because we all have a need to connect with others. So what is psychological resilience?

This is a benefit of friendship. Our psychological resilience goes up when we have friends. So Dr. Fatih, her last name is Ozbay, she is a Professor at Mount Sinai Hospital, she reported in the Journal of Psychiatry that psychological resilience, it’s a process of being able to adapt well in the face of adversity and one of the things that helps us adapt when the going gets rough, is having support of friends.

Think about how that works. When we are going through something hard, let’s say something unexpected happened in our life, let’s say with our health, with people near and dear to us, a child, a partner, a spouse, may be with job distress, may be even health diagnosis ourselves.

Generally as we are getting through times that are so intensely stressful, when we can reach out and talk to people, either someone who has been through something similar or someone who just knows us that has been with us through ups and downs of life, they can really help provide encouragement, support, perspective, all of that.

And that’s all part of building friendship and that psychological resilience we are talking about. So how many times in your life, think about just, I don’t know, in the last month, how many times have you reached out to some friends or a friend? How many times have you been there for someone else?

Sometimes, it’s kind of silly to think about how important that is in life because we all kind of know but when we are there for other people and we let other people be there for us, our perspective shifts. And our overall mood or affect can be elevated more. We are able to handle stress better if we are really, really stressed out and we talk to someone, especially someone who might have a sense of humor and I don’t mean we laugh at everything when the going is terribly rough.

But someone who helps with perspective, cortisol in our bodies actually gets lower, that’s the stress hormone, and if we measure feel good chemicals inside of us like endorphins, those increase.

Our overall physical and psychological health get better that is incredible. When we feel valued and we feel valued by others, two-way street, we feel valuable to someone else and we feel valued by them, our self-confidence goes up, our self-worth, kind of name anything positive and it can all increase.

When we have got people in our lives whom are handling stress better, our immune system functions more affectively with less prone—I wish I could tell you if you have good friends, you will never get sick, it then works out like.

But the immune function is enhanced, we handle stress better, we get sick less frequently. When hard times come, we are less prone to clinical depression or to panic disorder to kind of some of the really more difficult behavioral health diagnoses.

Think about friends in personal trauma; grief, loss, divorce, serious illness, jobless, death of a loved one, there are so many support opportunities out there. OK, one-on-one friendship absolutely can help, talking to someone who you trust and who believes in you and you have that close connection with that helps us when the going gets tough.

Extend that a little border, a group like, there is a group out there called DivorceCare, that’s the one I am most familiar with, where people who have walked through divorce or are walking through divorce get together, they have a trained facilitator and curriculum and that can be incredibly supportive.

Same with grief groups, there are groups, there's one I'm familiar with for cancer. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, CanCare will match them with someone who has survived the diagnosis that the person has been given. Talk about hope and encouragement that’s pretty awesome.

Job loss, death of a loved one, if the death, I'm often familiar with compassionate friend, if for parents who have lost children, I personally cannot think of any loss harder in life, losing someone to suicide, there is support network available for that. Any kind of recovery from addiction; whether it’s alcohol or narcotic medication or prescription medication or any kind of addictive behavior that can become part of us.

If our gene tool causes us to be a little vulnerable and we dabble with something and grow a lack of it on it really quickly, having people who understand who have locked there is incredibly encouraging. That’s one of the reasons that AA is one of the most successful programs and has been for many, many of years.

And how about the last bullet, when we have friends in our lives, it’s funny the way this bullet reads we think OK friends would only bring out the best in us with our healthy behaviors. They would want us to eat healthier, and to exercise more, you know not to drink excessively and all that good stuff, may be get enough sleep.

Now if your friend is an accountability partner and you’ve laid out some health goals absolutely a benefit about friendship would be they are encouraging you, they are checking in with you.

Now I also know in reality there are some people out there who are like I didn’t even know you are not having another drink at happy hour. You know do you really have to go you know and walk or go to gym, let’s just go, you know, no name, something that’s a lot less healthy.

Alright it depends on the friends. Bottom line we need people in our lives who will encourage and support us as we are trying to get healthier ourselves and think about the way you are with other people. We’re focused on the benefits when people are there for you.

Many times the benefits are even greater when we are able to be there for someone else. You know think about a volunteer opportunity when you set out to help you know someone in some way and certainly whatever you invested in terms of, times and energy whatever you did help to them but the way it caused you to feel that benefit many times feel tenfold.

Alright let me make sure, oh! Yeah. There is a study that even older adults with rich social life live longer than their peers with fewer connections. Isn’t that incredible? Another study adults strong social support have a reduced risk of significant health problems like depression, high blood pressure, even unhealthy body mass index which means people would be in a category where they are not tall enough for how much they weigh, they are just a carrying extra body weight.

You know even people who have studied, who have gone through cancer treatment relapse prevention with cancer treatment, people are able when they have connections they generally do better.

Now I think we all can think I know it’s kind of backwards, we can all think of people who had it all going on in terms of social support, positive thinking, resiliency, will, desired or with all of that and in cancer to go life prematurely. So again trust me I understand what I am saying is not true in every case a 100 percent at the time.

Alright let’s think about what are some of those barriers, making friends, so recently we said it’s harder now than it was 20, 30, 40, 50 or more years ago, I think it was easier. I don’t mean to slam technology, but I am telling you Facebook is not real friends OK, text messages are not this same as seeing someone face-to-face.

If you think studies about adolescents, children growing up today they had social deficit many times because so many of their connections and so much of their communication is electronic.

Now, again technology is there to make our lives easier and faster. I would never say throw yourself on a way you know get off of all social media it is the way that we connect rapidly and can check on people and know what’s going on in their lives but that does not take the place of face-to-face communication.

So what about lack of time? How many roles are you filling in your life? Most people are like, well, I got my work role, I got all things that I do outside of work and it depends on you and where you were in your life what that might look like that many times people can feel like there’s just not enough of me to go around like I like people I wish I had more friends in my life, that friendship is taking a back seat to other priorities.

You know if you happened to had young children, I cannot tell you anything you don’t already know, very demanding in terms of time and energy, you might already be teetering with sleep deprivation, you don't need to sacrifice mostly to develop friendships, you don’t have to pick and choose small ways. If you are responsible for people who have health conditions or older parents or others in your family, yeah, that can be a huge barrier.

Didn’t find your job how it looks but long hours are pretty common. You know we all want job security and sometimes doing an extra good job helps provide some job security. If you're a salaried employee you might be like working, I don’t know, way more than 40 hours a week because that’s how you are wired or that's what the job is demanding. If you layer on top of that some commute time that can make it more challenging.

If you're on public transportation think about behavior on a bus or subway train people really usually are catching up on work or listening to something, in ear buds, they are not generally talking unless they are traveling with a friend. People aren’t usually making friends in public transportation, there is kind of risk of who is this person sitting next to me I’m not sure really want to talk to them and I don't know, what if they are a scary person, lack of trust very common.

But if you happen to work somehow again you save that commute time but working from home you're not seeing people face-to-face. That’s a barrier in itself to the connections. It’s harder for teams to feel close when everyone works virtually or when some people work virtually, it’s harder to manage teams when you can't lay eyes on everyone, you’ve got a work extra hard at finding ways to connect.

You know, what-if you yourself have some fear or anxiety, you know you're uncomfortable or you're in a new situation. Let’s say you got a new job and you came onto a team that has been together for a while or you move to a new area, new apartment, a new neighborhood, it’s hard to get connected in a new place.

It’s hard to break in, one of the tips we’ll talk about is to learn how to manage nervousness, anxiety, fear with some positive self talk, some mindfulness, staying in the present moment, that let’s your mind gets spun up in a worst-case scenario where you just kind of get immobilized with fear and you are tempted I don't know to become agoraphobic where you just don’t ever leave your home, nobody that’s not the place any of its need to be living.

What if something embarrassing has happened in a relationship? Let me tell you, if you live long enough, you will fare do something, I have got a lot of years and I know, if I got do over so things I have said and done that might, that was not relationship building what were you even thinking.

We live and learn, give yourself a break, make amends if you have unintentionally hurt someone, said something that was never taken the way you intended, be accountable about that and that helps you deal with an underlying fear, anxiety, embarrassment, or whatever it is.

What is about chronic illness or health conditions? You know what making friends, keeping friends requires a lot of energy. Sometimes when you've got stressed to the max or concerned about yourself or someone else, you may not have an abundant of time and energy and that's understandable.

Finding ways to let people be there for you and letting them know enough about what's going on in your life so that they can And maybe even coach them on what you need and I know there are lots of people who really don't like to be in a position to ask for help, it’s an opportunity that is bonding over time.

What if you are in some way I don’t know you've got a suitcase or may be a big trunk that you're carrying around that’s filled with a past relationship pain that’s caused you to be very distrustful of people. And you are like I don’t know if really want to take a risk because you know what last time I did it didn’t work out that well and I got hurt pretty badly.

We need to find a way to unlock that trunk, unlock that suitcase, think about it like a learning opportunities so we don't keep the walls up and the healthy boundaries are good walls don't serve us well in terms of social connections.

And someone mentioned the EAP, that’s a wonderful way. If you feel like you got this trunk and you have been dragging it around, you are like you know where I probably should get better with this. In a session or two you will be you will be amazed, EAP counsel is confidential, no cost fees, no copay, they can really help. You lay up your goals, EAP is like fast track problem solving sessions.

Alright what if you really don’t know how to make friends and some people think that back towards your childhood with like if you were shy or quieter if by chance you were bullied or ridiculed in some way, that can become part of the fabric of our being and it can be really difficult.

No matter what birthday you fit, it doesn’t get easier. We have to find very practical ways and steps that help to build confidence so we can take the risk and overcome the tendency to isolate. We are going to be talking about specific place to do that.

What about just prejudices and sometimes we’re not even aware of what our prejudices are and trust me we all have them. We form first impressions with people. We decide whether I wanted to know them or not, this day and time tried to become aware of how that might work even on a subconscious level for you overcome that.

We, most of us work in very diverse culturally rich workplace environments and teams we can be so thankful for that, the places where we live most times are very rich in diversity. People who didn't grow up like we grew up.

We can learn from them, learn about them. If it’s amazing how when we start to reach out and get to know people who are a little different from us? How richer our life experience is? So, that may be a takeaway for you, is to work on developing skills where you get to know people.

You know by someone different if you happen to go to lunch, ask if someone’s eating something different than what you would normally eat, tell me about that, is that growing up, is that a family tradition for you.

At holiday time ask about people and how they celebrate in their lives and get to know about hobbies that other people might be participating in. That is the very bonding in a way to help overcome those prejudices?

I mentioned social media. So, let me just, what do you think that social media effects are on friendship. If we’ve got close friends and we stay connected with them through Facebook or text messaging not something electronic that can actually enrich the friendship.

I want you to think about yourself and how many friends you have, or connections with co-workers, people at work or outside of work truly are what you would classify as real friends.

How many people may be a long time ago were your friends and maybe you stay sort of connected through some electronic medium, that they're not—really didn't really know you and the ability to be there if you needed them would be very limited or your ability to be there for them, but to really you know them and know what’s going on in your lives very limited.

What’s the healthy have you number of friends? That’s a good question. I think you each person needs to answer that for themselves, having that network connections of friends, it’s not just that quantity, the more likes you get on something or the more connections you have on LinkedIn. That doesn’t mean you got close friends. Quality counts way more than quantity. Make sure you nurture a few truly close friends who would be there by your side and you'll be there by their side regardless.

A little bit more about studies, I have made a couple more notes, I haven't mentioned recent studies followed 1500 older people for 10 years. It found those who had a network of friends, they were about 22 percent less likely to die during that ten-year period. Wow!

So you are into quality of life, links of life that might be something to think about, why, something a good friend may be like the bullet earlier said will keep you on track with healthier behavior, help you if you are a smoker or you are fond of any kind of addictive behavior they will help pull you to a place of functioning in better health possibly even in your best health.

Boost your self-esteem, provide support, as people age they get more selective, think about yourself and maybe your network of friends is smaller now but the quality of those relationships are greater.

Close relationships with children and family count in that study I mentioned, those really didn’t make a difference in terms of longevity, that’s interesting It was really connections outside of the family and in one study I have read said that sometimes the people in the family, the connections can be complicated well yes there can be friendship.

But there might also be some criticism, or some expectations, or some unfulfilled need, or some guilt that in mix doesn’t really help us with the kind benefits we are taking about and again may be work on core of some of those issues.

Alright so we are going to go over two slides that are going to give us tips for developing friendship. I want you to be thinking about yourselves, what is here for you, what can you take from this webinar that’s going to help you in develop friendships.

Look at what the first step is, this is self awareness, determine why you haven’t invested in your social life, what are the barriers, what are the reasons that you are on this webinar and really want more social connections in your life and not just social connections but deeper relationship.

What’s kept you from that? Risk, have you got who’s there for you and hopefully we all have at least one person in our lives and I kind of think of it like rings like you are in the center of the circle and hopefully you have got a ring really close to you that you are closest, a spouse or partner, a best friend someone in your life that you could really talk to about anything, now it wouldn’t be Judgment they’d be there for you and in return the same you would be there for them.

When you have got an additional ring that may be friends you are there, they are there but it’s not quite that intimacy that you feel with that inner ring. May be you can think about people in your family, it’s no wonder we develop close friendships at work, we are actually—if you are a leader the number of hours we are at work and outside of work we definitely do a lot of hours with people we work with and then other acquaintances are in the very outer ring.

Really work on, do those rings and I am happy with the way those rings look in my life where do I need to make some improvements and then develop a plan to really work on communication skills.

When you are with someone monitor how much of a time am I talking, and how much am I listening, and how much am I there for other people, how much am I letting people be there for me.

Think about the communication skills and really emotional self-regulation, close friendships we can say and do things that we are sorry for no doubt because we are human and it happens but make sure that your are always treating people with respect, you are trustworthy, say what you do, do what your say, kindness, respect nonjudgmental, bringing out the best in them, that’s what we want in terms of communication skills.

Think about friends who might share common interests. If you have overlooked some people think about issues in your network, if you are happened to have spiritual connection, or faith community, or work in your extended family, work sometimes has some affinity groups, groups where people who have similar interests may be even through work, there are some volunteer opportunities, those are wonderful ways to look for ways to connect.

Where you do volunteer as I mentioned you are certainly helping others but when you do that with other people you bond with them and the benefits are a lot more coming back at you.

What about activities, hobbies that you might have, if some of you are like can you hear me I told you I don’t have a time for much of any of that, I get that just carve out a few minutes, you don't have to have four-and-a-half hours to play 18 rounds of golf, that’s a time-consuming hobby. You might have 15 minutes to go for a walk with a friend, but just someone you are getting to know that could help.

What about a class? Think about maybe something that you’re interested in, join a club that could be learning a language that can be a hobby that you're interested in, it could be something like United Way Day of Caring and if you don't have time to volunteer regularly just pick one activity that you can go and do and that connects you with other people.

If you are in a new area, look for opting opportunities for meet up, I know there are apps that people use for that, reach out, use social media apps in ways that help you develop friendships. We could have a bullet here about—so do you want meet people to date online, how does that work for you?

So I have been a marriage and family therapist for a long, long time, more than 30 years now and I always ask when I am working with a couple how they met, I can’t tell you, I wish I kept stats so I can tell you, the majority of people I meet now with in counseling have met each other online and I know there is a gazillion different ways online.

And then there's another group of people that I like, oh! My gosh! I tried that and it was a total disaster, like I am never going to reach out and try to meet people online.

You got think about yourself or life experience where you are making sure you’re safe, making sure you use resources like apps in a way that help you and don't cause you to be open to, I would call it emotional trauma, yeah, pick and choose carefully.

OK choose healthy friendships, and sometimes in relationships which starts off working healthy may not end up working healthy. So if you are reading I would add read red flags, communicate assertively, keep healthy boundaries, all of those tips work in the arena of developing healthy friendship.

So our next slide continues with tips for developing friendships. What about invitations? How comfortable are you extending invitations or accepting invitations? And I know there are people on the social continue who like they are always ready, like come on let's get together, like they are planner, they are instrumental, they're really usually pretty extroverted, they get a lot of energy from being around people and they create opportunities to be around people.

There are other people you want to continue are more introverted, they are like I don’t really like the crowds, why would I want to go to Super Bowl party, when you have 20 people over or if you are really into the game like my husband said I’m the one, we did a Super Bowl party and actually, everyone we invited came so there were 20 people there, and when it was all over, guess you know, I could hardly watch the game because I really—well, I am not saying it’s a boring game, so it’s OK it’s like you pick and choose.

Think about how much am I extending invitation that does not have to be a party for 20 people. It could be let’s go get coffee, or let’s eat lunch together today. You have people who are extending invitations to you what you don't want to do is say no because what happens if you say no one, two, three times at some point a person is not going to extend invitations to you anymore.

So definitely pay attention, monitor how is that working for me. There's the social media, you start making use of social media to connect with friends.

I even became aware, I get to do some training at a videogame company and I don’t know much about that videogames, I know more now because I have been going there and they have taught some things, I was not at the videogame company but I was with someone who I mentioned I go and do stress related training for a call center with a videogaming company and they said you really want to impress your participants, tell them you know about Twitch, you know like well tell me what that is, it’s a way to connect socially during a videogame.

Twitch that’s the name of it so I went back to videogaming company to talk about stress and when I got there some of the people come month-to-month so I know them and they know me and I said hey! I learned about something, are you ready you are all really going to be impressed that I didn’t get the word right.

I told them I knew about Tweth and they went tweth, do you mean Tweet, I am like really no I know about tweeter and tweeting ni I said it’s the way you connect with people during a videogame they go Twitch, don’t embarrass yourself OK learn from the old girl who like got it all mixed up in terms of social media and how we connect.

Find ways to connect but make sure as I mentioned earlier those are not your only connections. There is a different energy when we meet with people face-to-face. As I understand Twitch I think you can even see people just like with FaceTime in Skype that’s a little better than just electronically hearing their voice or seeing the words that they are sending you. But think about connecting in the most bonding way possible whenever possible

How about seeking help from a mental health professional? Your EAP, all of you have EAP benefits or you wouldn’t be on this call listening to the webinar. When I mentioned barriers, if you look and go I believe it all, I know I want to but I am having trouble getting started, EAP can help you.

If you did identify that trunk you might be dragging around or a suitcase, even an overnight bag, or social anxiety, or fear, or difficulty trusting, anything can help you unlock, why and help you build a different way of thinking about yourself and your life. Positive psychology isn’t there. I’d say I have been coming it’s been around a long time but it is in build trading life in just about all areas.

So positive psychology has to do with how we talk to ourselves, what our belief system is, think about it. The way you talk to yourself, about your ability to make friends, nurture those relationships helps your friends, be a friend makes all the difference.

The way you talk to yourself about hardships, difficulties, challenges, obstacles in your in life what we believe and how we talk to ourselves when the going is tough, makes all the difference in our ability to keep on, keeping on. This is directly related to the psychological resilience that I talked about at the beginning of the webinar.

So an example, let’s hear for us, and how to use positive psychology, how you talk to yourself, and how that influences your ability to make and keep friends. If in your head the thought is no, this is just not me, I am a loner, I can’t socialize and make friends, that’s not me. When I try, I am awkward. It doesn’t work. I am good without friends. If that’s your thought how likely are you going to be to practice any other stuff we are talking about? It’s not happening.

OK, if in your head you have this thought you know what webinar really got me thinking. I have identified one area. I am going to reach out to someone every week and try to get together to either nurture the relationship that’s already developed or to try to develop a friendship with this person and in his words on the slide. And if I keep at it and I practice and stay focused, I am going to get better at socializing and making friends.

Isn’t there a difference in energy and the willingness, the motivation of the person based on what’s going on in their head, we can’t change how we feel, if a person feels nervous, anxious they are a little afraid, we can’t just say, OK, get rid of that feeling, emotions, get with it, just get some traction here.

What we can do is monitor what am I thinking about, what am I telling myself, and what am I doing and the feelings will follow and many times someone recently told me, you know what, we used to play fake it till you make it. I think we need to play fake it till you feel it. So yeah that can help in terms of developing friendship.

So what are some ways to improve and maintain friendship, you know kind of that self awareness, commitment. You’ve got to not be operating on autopilot all the time. You have got a raise the bar and go alright I am committed to nurturing existing friendships. How am I going to do that?

May be you think of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said the only way to have friends is to be a friend, but you think what are some ways I can be a better friend? If you know someone is going through something tough yeah sure thinking about them but make sure you let them know you are thinking about them. A quick text massage in that case absolutely can feel supported and encouraging to them.

May be you reach out, email or phone call, can you imagine actually dialing and send texting, call someone else that I am trying to talk to them to be with them. Be a good listener, we have two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk and find out what’s going on in your friends’ lives, pay attention remember use good eye contact, face-to-face interaction, 55 percent of massage is what’s going on with body language, 38 percent is tone of voice, and only seven percent is the words.

So be very attentive. Make sure you have open body posture, you listen, you encourage them to continue talking, you think about what Stephen Covey says, and you have the five, seek first to understand, then to be understood, what’s your foundations of strong friendship.

When friends share details and I know it’s hard sometimes to remember, I have to make mental note and sometimes even physical note. In our middle age where a lot of my friends they get to go through medical stuff. So if you make a note so you can check back when you know some big results were coming in. They were having surgery and something is going on your life and again it may not apply depending on where you are, but check in with people.

Avoid unrealistically the high expectations. If you think because you know someone and care about them if they are going to know what you want, or what you need, or if by chance if someone you love, and they should be a mind reader it does not work that way.

We need to be clear about what we need and if someone has let us down and they didn’t do it even if they did it intentionally we need a talk about that. We need to ask for forgiveness, and going up forgiveness, don’t make assumptions, don’t jump to conclusions, none of those are good for relationships.

Start, take a deep breath give a person a break, check it out with them, don’t react impulsively and say and do things we regret, take a deep breath choose your response, all of that really-helps.

Focus on your friend’s positives, try thinking we are human, we’ve all got strengths, we’ve all got areas we need to improve try to think about what they bring to the table that really makes them a good friend and don’t focus on what your take is about them or trust me you won’t have a good friend.

For the one who is really good for every one negative, or correction, behavior change request, work on for positives which works in all relationships. I learned it when I taught parenting class and it works in friendships too, focus on four positives, tell people thank you, tell them you recognize their efforts for improvement or that they were there for you whatever it is. Try to do that four times as much as we would be negative.

Show appreciation, be supportive that’s in the four group, that’s four positives, so he thanks you don’t just think it but say it and what are you specifically grateful for one.

Think about people who have made a different thing in your life. Maybe you actually let them know that it’s a wonderful way I am—you write them a letter or talk to them and tell him how they have made a difference in your life they may have no idea that can be at work, or outside of work.

Give the people space when they need it and I know different people have different views of how much space the person needs especially if there is conflict in relationships. We don’t want to get so much space that we never get back to discussing you know what the issue was because we ought to be about getting better and not about repeating same old stuff.

But yeah, give people space and a break I would add. Have fun, laugh, enjoy each other, that is a building block of friendship, think about the people who are closest in your life I’ll guarantee you, you have done give some fun times and some laughing times with them.

There are so many benefits to having people near and dear in our lives, those—their ability to be there for us and our ability to be there for them that two-way street that improves all aspects of our health, our physical health, our mental health, it builds that resilience that we talked about, it increases our coping skills helps us to manage stress more effectively really the laundry list I could spend a lot of I know I will more talking about how good friendships are for us.

And again you have to recognize where the challenges are, make sure you're open to new friendships at the same time you cultivate existing, and nurture existing friendships, Be open as we talked about with people who are different, having a diverse group of friends is very enriching to our lives. We learn about others, we learn more about ourselves in the process.

As with any relationship friendships not only take time to develop but they need that investment of time to nurturing to keep them going. Foster your friendship, make relationships a priority, communicate with your friends regularly, be there when the going gets tough and let them be there for you and then let them know how much you appreciate them.

The quadrant that come with thinking about our lives and things we grasp according to how important things are and how urgent they are, developing friendship is not a ‘911’ activity but it’s incredibly important in our lives so is working on your health, building relationships.

We need to invest time there and really what I want to use as the pull it all together concept is relationship bank account. I want you to think about the people around you, you would consider to be friends and if the relationship bank account is positive there’s a lot of trust, there’s a lot of connection, there's a lot of positive energy there.

If that relationship has had, conflict, hard times maybe something extremely hurtful or distressful happened, maybe apologies were not asked for or forgiveness was not granted and there’s just damage there that relationship would be far,-far in the red, it’s just like a bank account.

The more positive videos the better, the more in the red it the harder it is. And let me tell you how it works with friendships, with relationship bank account. You can do something nice for someone who is your friend and you can think hey this is a big deposit in our friendship relationship bank account they are going to really appreciate this and it’s going way up in the green because I said this or did this.

The wired part that relationship bank account that so backwards the value of the deposit is not determined by the person making the deposit. The value of the deposit is determined about the receiver how backward is that.

So think about if you are helping someone at work and you think it's really a big deal to them and it may not be check it out, make sure that you are adding value when you're helping someone else. Flip side, make sure you clearly communicate with others what your needs are so those relationship bank accounts turn favorably.

Now if it is down close to zero and something happens again what happens when the relationship bank account is close to being in the red we interpret things very negatively. Even if it wasn't meant to be negative it’s perceived as negative and in the same way that receiver determines the amount of the withdrawal not the person who did the withdrawal. So that’s just a framework to think about that I think helps us when we think about relationships in our lives.

Alright, let’s look at EAP benefits so there's nothing too smaller or too large, EAP there to help you as I have mentioned with this webinar. If you want a coach to help you in developing friendships in your life or you recognize a pattern in that doesn’t work well for you EAP can help with that,any relationship at work, outside of work, parenting, couple struggles, or anything.

Planning for positive thing in your life, marriage, having your child EAP can help. Behavioral health concerns, depression, anxiety, addiction, grief, loss all that you may have work life benefits which would be child and elder care referral among others, depends on the EAP package that your company has chosen, you might have financial and legal assistance, consultation available at no cost.

You only to look because you come from multiple companies on a webinar like this, look to your HR. benefits and your company benefits to learn more about your EAP benefit.

Across the board EAP is available 24/7. You will have a toll free number and a dedicated website. EAP is confidential. There’s no copay, no cost to you. The benefit is extended thus to you and your eligible family members and it is awesome, many times as well kept secret.

EAP is about problem solving, quickly helping people feel better whatever they are coming with we want people to get better as fast as possible.




©2019 Carelon Behavioral Health Source: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-healthy/indepth/friendships/art-20044860 Reviewed by Jessica El Dakkak, L.M.H.C., C.A.P.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©Carelon Behavioral Health



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