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              How Good Are Your Friends?

Friends aren’t optional: we need them
From a biological perspective, friends are probably the least essential people in our lives. We
need our parents to bring us into the world; we need our partners to procreate. But
psychologists think it’s the very nonessential nature of friends that makes them vitally important.

The glue that holds friends together
Scientists once assumed that women were perfectly content to be alone in the little world of
home life, while men needed to bond with each other. They realized that women were actually
the ones who were doing the bonding with each other because they needed to share
responsibilities and tasks.
This explains why women tend to make friendships in times of need – during adolescence,
while in college or after a move to a new city.
Men make friends for similar reasons, but what each sex brings to its friendships is very
different. Men and women tend to define friendship the same way: a friend is someone you can
talk with about everything, but, in general, friendships between men are geared more toward
companionship, and friendships between women are geared more toward empathic sharing.

Becoming unglued: why friendship goes bad
Friendships dissolve when we start to force our own expectations and demands on a friend,
especially through three behaviors: criticizing, blaming and complaining. Even if the criticism or
blame isn’t directed at your friend, it could test the friendship by making her think, “Are you
criticizing and blaming me when I’m not around?” Complaining may be a staple in some
relationships, but over time, it can put a wedge between people. When a person complains, a
really good friend will often want to do something to help, to make her friend to feel better, if she
can’t, she feels frustrated.

The right time – and way – to end a friendship
Not all failed friendships are truly failures. Sometimes it’s healthy to discard a “negative or
destructive friend”. The kind of friend you can only talk to about the past because you have no
future together. In this case you should probably give yourself some time and say to your
friends, “I’m hurt but I don’t want to end the friendship. I just need some space”.
Though some friends are generally adept at sharing the floor, experts say perfect parity is not
the key to staying pals. What is shared in a friendship need not to be equal, but the desire to
remain friends needs to be.

What is the general definition men and women have of friends?

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                                                          From the book “English for all” – Editora Saraiva

								
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