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Friendships
08/13/2010
IconI don't subscribe to unconditional relationships, whether they are by blood, geography, gender, race, religion, or friendship. Recently, I had a situation in my personal life that brought this concept to the fore.  I (and others) had gotten deeply involved with a lovely person who was in a destructive relationship.  When it broke up...again...we were all asked to be supportive More >>

Tags: FriendshipsPersonal ResponsibilityRelationships
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05/27/2010
IconCan a Mother Be Her Daughter's Best Friend? By Linda Perlman Gordon and Susan Morris Shaffer www.parentingroadmaps.com There is an old Chinese proverb that states "One Generation plants the trees; another gets the shade," and this is how it should be with mothers and daughters. The intimate nature of the relationship between a mother and daughter is sometimes confusing. If close, the relationship can simulate friendship through the familiar characteristics of empathy, listening, loyalty, and caring.  However, the mother/daughter relationship has unique characteristics that distinguish it from a best friendship. These characteristics include a mother's role as primary emotional caretaker, a lack of reciprocity, and a hierarchy of responsibility. This hierarchy, combined with unconditional love, precludes mothers and daughters from being best friends.  Because the essential ingredient for friendship is equality and there is always an imbalance when one person in the twosome is the parent of the other, mothers and daughters naturally can't be best friends. Marina, 27 years old says, "I love spending time with my mom, but I wouldn't consider her my best friend. She's MY MOM.  Best friends don't pay for the dress you covet in a trendy clothing store that you wouldn't pay for yourself. Best friends don't pay for your wedding. Best friends don't remind you how they carried you in their body and gave you life, and sometime gas!  Best friends don't tell you how wise they are and trump your opinion because they have been alive at least 20 years longer than you. I love my mom, and I want her to remain a mom." This doesn't mean that the mother/daughter relationship can't be very close and satisfying. While some adult relationships are still troubled, many find them to be extremely rewarding. So many moms spoke to us about how happy they are to be finished with the "eye rolling" and look from their adolescent daughters, a look that says, "You must come from a different evolutionary chain than me."  Daughters also adopted the famous Mark Twain quote about aging, with some slight alterations, and their feelings about their mothers. Mark Twain said, "When I was a boy (girl) of 14, my father (mother) was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man (woman) around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man (woman) had learned in seven years."  This generation of mothers and adult daughters has a lot in common which increases the likelihood of shared companionship. Mothers and daughters have always shared the common experience of being homemakers, responsible for maintaining and passing on family values, traditions, and rituals. Today contemporary mothers and daughters also share the experience of the workforce, technology and lack of a generation gap, which may bring them even closer together. Best friends may or may not continue to be best friends, but for better or worse, the mother and daughter relationship is permanent, even if for some unfortunate reason they aren't' speaking. The mother and child relationship is, therefore, more intimate and more intense than any other. As long as that hierarchy exists, it's not an equal relationship.  Daughters should not feel responsible for their mother's emotional well-being. Not that they don't care deeply about their mothers, it's just that they shouldn't be burdened with their mother's well being. As one mother said to her daughter, "I would gladly dive under a bus for you and there is no way that I'm diving under a bus for my friends." Her daughter responded, "And I'd gladly let you dive under the bus to save me!" The mother/daughter relationship is so much more comprehensive than a best friendship. It's a relationship that is not replaceable by any other. This unique bond doesn't mean that when daughters mature they can't assume more responsibilities and give back to their mothers, but it's never equal and it's not supposed to be. Mothers never stop being mothers, which includes frequently wanting to protect their daughters and often feeling responsible for their happiness. Mother always "trumps" friend.  Linda Perlman Gordon  and  Susan Morris Shaffer  are the authors of  Too Close for Comfort: Questioning the Intimacy of Today's New Mother-Daughter Relationship . While exploring the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship, the book demonstrates that mothers and their adult daughters have formed a greater friendship than past generations. .For helpful tips and practical advice on staying connected to your children visit  www.parentingroadmaps.com .  Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

Tags: Adult Child-ParentFamily/Relationships - Adult Child/ParentFamily/Relationships - FamilyFriendshipFriendshipsMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodRelationshipRelationshipsRelatives
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05/13/2010
IconI have a very good friend (and I hope she thinks the same of me).' Her name is Sheridan.We have a kind of magic together:' we have a lot of interests in common and do "day road trips" to bead fairs, fabric stores, yarn shops and such, because we share craft hobbies and help each other with our projects.' The other day, she just showed up when I was on the air to give me some buttons she'd bought for a tote project gift I was working on.' With the buttons came a card which showed an old photo of two women friends on a couch.' Underneath the photo, the caption read: "A good friend will bail you out of jail.' A GREAT friend is one who sits beside you and says 'Wow, that was fun!'" I couldn't stop laughing when I read that, and while you should not take that literally, it does suggest that friends really get into each other in a special way. Friends want to experience each other's joys and heartaches as part of bonding with and mending each other.I have watched Sheridan put herself out for me, stand up for me, and bend over backwards to make me happy.' I am one lucky woman to have such a blessing in my life.' Friends - really good friends - are a rare commodity:' you have to have just the right chemistry, attitude, understanding, forgiveness, openness, kindness, and thoughtfulness.' A good friend brings all that out in you.' A good friend makes you a better person.I'm sure we've irritated each other from time to time, but we've never had a fight about it.' Why not?' Because good friends have each other's best interests at heart and accept each other's quirks with humor.The best way to have a good friend is also the best way to have a good 'marriage: choose wisely, and treat kindly.And consider yourself very fortunate if you have someone who resonates with you in this lifetime.Sheridan,'I love ya girl! More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentFriendshipsMother's DayMotherhood-FatherhoodPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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Tags: DatingFriendshipsInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMen's Point of ViewMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodRelationshipsWomen's Point of View
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05/13/2010
IconLet's talk about having conversations.' You read that right - I didn't goof and actually mean confrontation , which typically is what I hear most about on my radio program.' It is not a good plan to think of trying to communicate something delicate or important to someone by approaching them through the lenses of battle, which is what confrontation implies.There are ways to deal with another person on difficult issues that don't necessarily feel like the throwing down of a gauntlet (an attack against which they have to be defensive).' The moment you get someone's defenses up, the quicker the whole situation degenerates into a "lose/lose" predicament, usually making things even worse than they were.If the information is to a loved one, start out with a "Sweetie" or "Honey" or something that sets the tone as one of friendship, love or caring.' Continue with the explanation that it is to improve the situation that you're coming to them (because you don't want the relationship hurt by misunderstandings or errors in judgment or word choice).'' Then they know that you are not attacking them, but you are trying to preserve the relationship and they will be more open to hearing your point of view.It's also important to start out with some verbal "gift," i.e., that you compliment them with sincerity by suggesting that you understand what their position might be, but that you're confused, hurt, upset or worried that ________ [fill in the blank].' Remind them what you've meant to each other and how you want that to continue, and that this is a glitch which can be remedied with mutual consideration and understanding.If you're up against a reasonable, caring individual, things will go well.'If you're up against an un reasonable, self-centered human being, things will go well if you walk away.Rule number "PRE-one:"' Don't wait for emotions to fester.' Handle things as they happen before you work yourself up to the point that you can't be reasonable. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourtesyFriendshipsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconThe other day, someone made an honest comment to me about a gift I gave them - a rude comment, but an honest one.This is the sort of circumstance I hear about a lot on my radio program.' Callers get very upset about some small moment of discomfort, stupidity, rudeness, thoughtlessness - you get my drift.' It sends them into a tizzy, because I guess they yearn for this perfect world where everyone else's behavior conforms to what it is that makes them happy.People are largely busy with their own lives, and they don't always monitor their mouths or body language.' Sometimes, they're prone to say things without consideration of how it might be received.So, back to my story - I just laughed.' Look, my feelings can get hurt just like yours.' But since I am "Dr. Laura," and because I have the experience of over six decades on the planet, I have learned to choose what will annoy me.' When you have friends and acquaintances, you have to' 1) cut everyone some "stupidity slack" once in a while (as you would have them forgive you);' 2) look at the totality of that person and realize that, percentage-wise, they're "fine," and 3) decide whether or not their action was intentionally meant to do you harm or was just a quirk of their personality.When someone is downright evil, please avoid them.When someone is simply a bit thoughtless of others, then put them in their place...in your mind, that is.' Know that they have this "quirky-ness" and in the future, don't have expectations for them that are out-of-proportion.You can still be friendly, and even be friends, once you accept their limitations.So, if you don't have a "goat" to get , they can't get your goat! More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommon SenseCourtesyfeministaFriendshipsMorals, Ethics, ValuesSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconMy husband and I were very disappointed when we learned that we could not be with our military son on Thanksgiving.' We casually mentioned to some friends that we were just going to have scrambled eggs and bagels for Thanksgiving dinner, because without him there, it just wasn't going to be worth the effort.' Well, they kindly invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their family, and we accepted.'I wanted to do something nice for them to really show them thanks for such a lovely gesture, so I knitted a seven-foot runner for their table.' When it was finished, it seemed so "plain," that I spent four hours crocheting around the entire runner twice and added a fringe to the ends.' When I gave it to her, she held it close to her chest near her heart, and her eyes teared up as she expressed her emotion for my putting in that amount of effort for her.' I have to tell you that I've never felt so moved by a reaction to a gift in my life.She and her husband were doing something "personal" for me, and I wanted to return the favor.' Having Thanksgiving with their adult children and a couple who were mutual friends made for a fabulous evening, with lots of laughs and a yummy turkey....mmmm.So, I've stopped buying bottles of wine and chocolate-filled baskets.' I've been working around the clock for weeks either knitting, weaving, or sewing Christmas presents.' I finished my last project for my "peeps" on Sunday (our office holiday party was on Tuesday), so I had a bit of a crunch for time.' While it was exhausting and sometimes frustrating when equipment has a mind of its own, I feel giddy about giving gifts that are so much of myself.' Clearly, it means more to the receiver AND the giver.To top it off, a few of my dearest friends sent me "Thanksgiving" e-mails, enumerating the reasons they felt grateful for having me in their lives.' It blew my mind.' It is incredibly touching to know that you matter to someone.I'm writing these stories to urge you all to do the same this Christmas.' Don't buy a card - write to that person and let them know why they matter to you and what you appreciate about them and how you feel grateful for them.' Instead of purchasing something generally useless that they might never use and will not cause them to reflect on your relationship, make something or do something.' For example:' plant some flowers on either side of their front door; make a rocking chair for the back porch; fix something on their property; take their kids for the night so they can have a romantic time to themselves....the list of possibilities is endless. Make it personal , and that doesn't require ridiculous expenditures for gifts that ultimately don't matter.'Oh, and one more thing.' We will see our kidlet for Christmas.' The tree is already up. More >>

Tags: AbortionCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCharityFamily/Relationships - FamilyFriendshipsHolidaysMorals, Ethics, ValuesRelativesThanksgivingValues
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Tags: AttitudeCommitmentDatingDisappointmentEducationFamily/Relationships - TeensFriendshipsHealthHopeMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyPurposeSocial IssuesTeens
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Tags: FriendshipsHealthRelationships
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