TC 305: Frientimacy: Consistency and Vulnerability
In this episode of the Transformation Cafe, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost discuss chapters 6 and 7 of Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness by Shasta Nelson. This section focuses on the other two sides of the Frientimacy Triangle: Consistency and Vulnerability.
Shasta discusses the intimacy gap and other questions in this interview from the Toronto Star:
In your book, you talk about an intimacy gap many of us feel in our friendships. What is that, exactly?
It’s the gap between what we wish we were experiencing in friendships and what we’re currently experiencing. It speaks to the fact that we all know a ton of people — it’s not a lack of a social life — but we’re not feeling that our friendships are deep or fulfilling enough.
Why do you think so many people feel that?
I think we’re not spending enough time with each other. Research shows healthy relationships need to stay above a 5:1 positivity to negativity ratio, so if we’re not seeing each other very often, and the encounters are filled with stressing and venting, we’re not having those times of laughing and having fun. We’re not feeling like people know what’s going on in our lives day-to-day. There are three aspects to friendships that are non-negotiable: positivity, consistency and vulnerability. If any of those are missing, it’s an obstacle.
Why is being vulnerable so important?
If you have positivity and consistency, it means you’re going out and having a good time, but you’re not feeling known. That third piece is what helps us feel safe and that our lives are feeling witnessed. Having those people we’ve practiced being vulnerable and real with — and going deeper with than just updating them about our lives — those are the people that we think will be there for us.
You talk about women searching for the perfect friend, the Thelma to our Louise, but obviously nobody’s perfect. Instead you think we need better friendships, not better friends. What do you mean by that?
If you look at those three non-negotiables of friendship, then anybody we practice those with, we’ll feel closer to. For example, we’ll feel closer to someone we work with because the consistency is happening often. Those women at work, if we’d gone on one coffee date, we wouldn’t have necessarily chosen them as a best friend, but we’re bonding because of the consistency with each other. We all have examples of women we really, really like and admire and had a great time with, but if we never saw them again, we didn’t develop a friendship. The only people who develop a friendship are the ones doing these three things together.
What can women do if they feel like their friendships are lopsided, where they’re giving more than they’re getting?
Only 26 per cent of us feel like we’re in friendships that are mutual — it’s a staggeringly low number! We tend to keep score more when we’re feeling depleted and tired, which speaks to women’s need for self-care. It also speaks to the fact that women need to practice asking for what they need. We need to learn to say, “I don’t need advice right now, I just need you to validate me.”
If you could offer one key piece of friendship advice based on your research for the book, what would it be?
I would say: Initiate the connection that you’re craving with your friendships. If you want more meaningful relationships, it’s in your hands.
Chapters 1-2 – The Intimacy Gap
Chapters 3-5 – The Frientimacy Triangle, Identifying the 5 Intimacy Gaps and Positivity – Giving and Receiving
Chapters 6 -7 – Consistency – Building Trust and Vulnerability – Deeper Meaning
Chapters 8-10 – Leaning into Intimacy – Obstacles Doubting our Self Worth and Fear of Rejection
Chapters 11-13 – Obstacles – The Toxic Friend, Jealousy and Envy and Holding Ourselves Back
Conclusion – retake the quiz… come prepared to talk about what you learned and what are our next steps in friendship.
We invite you to join us each week as we work through the book and explore how we can implement the ideas in our own lives. You can support the Transformation-Cafe by purchasing Frientimacy using this link, or use the link in the Cafe Book Club Selection in the sidebar. It won’t cost you any more, but it helps us to continue providing new content. Thanks!
Shasta Nelson, M.Div., is the Founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women’s friendship matching site in 65 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Her spirited and soulful voice for strong female relationships can be found in her books Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness and Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends. She also writes at ShastasFriendshipBlog.com and in the Huffington Post, speaks across the country, and is a friendship expert in the media appearing on such shows as Katie Couric and the Today Show.
|Shasta’s Friendship Blog||www.ShastasFriendshipBlog.com|