Episode 6: Are we neglecting friendships once we become adults?

In a world obsessed with romance and couples, do we value friendships as adults as much as we used to as children? How important are friendships in adulthood, and why do we so often let them take priority after our partner, children, and job? How can we have fulfilling relationships with our friends as adults – even if we are busy with work and family?

Our guest, Anna, talks about one of the most influential friendships in her life. Unlike most of her friends, Anna did not have a romantic relationship during her teens and so friendships have always been the most important connections in her life, and she tries to continue to make them so today despite everyone’s shifting and changing priorities.

Join us as we explore the fine, fluid boundaries between friendship, romance, sexuality and love, take a look at the history of friendship and how ideals of romantic love for marriage changed the importance we place on friendship, and discuss the challenging of making and keeping friends as an adult.

Listen HERE! http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/686659-episode-6-friendship or download from your favourite podcast app.

Resources:

One book mentioned was The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendships, from where we get the quote “it was understood that a woman could share the same soul with her best friend, but rarely, if ever, with her husband”. 

Anna referenced the article Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys? and we also mentioned the Art of Manliness article about the history of male friendship (*Gwen said it was Australian, it turns out it’s American, sorry!) and gave a shout-out to the Hidden Brain podcast episode: The Lonely American Man. 

This article from Psychology today talked about how we are ashamed to talk about how we find making friends difficult and awkward, as if we feel shame that we “should have it figured out now”.

Some other interesting resources:

Radio 4: 500 Years of Friendship – a podcast looking at the history of friendship. 

The History Of Friendship: How Friendship Evolved And Why It’s Fundamental To Your Happiness from Huffington Post

Episode 3: Projection and Mind-Reading

Do we truly see people for who they are, or do our preconceived ideas mean we only see them through a filter? Do we assume we know what our loved ones are thinking and end up feeling upset or hurt because we didn’t challenge that assumption? Are the negative qualities that upset us so much in others actually parts of ourselves that we try to deny?

Sigmund Freud claimed that projection was a defence mechanism – instead of looking at something “bad” in ourselves, like selfishness, lust, or anger, we saw it in other people instead. Instead of seeing people as they are, we ‘project’ an image onto them, like a movie projector stopping you from seeing what’s really underneath.

We don’t necessarily only do this with things we’re denying in ourselves – we also project what we expect of people onto them, which can lead to stereotyping, discrimination, and a lot of unnecessary conflict. And what happens when we bring this into our close relationships? Maybe we start think we can read the other person’s mind – assuming they are upset with us or that they are bored of us, then treating them as if our projection is the ultimate truth.

Our special guest, John, talks about the role projection played in his marriage. He often assumed that his wife was needy and dependent on him, yet never questioned this. He also talks about how he struggles with his idea that people are angry with him all the time, and how he uses open and honest communication in his current relationship to figure out what’s really going on.

We also talk a little about how we feel when people project onto us – assuming traits or intentions that are not there because they have created an idea of who we are based on one or two pieces of information – and the ‘positive’ side of projection; where we project all our fantasies onto our new lover and see them through rose-tinted glasses.

Some of the resources we mentioned:

We mentioned the book Why Do I Do This? by Joseph Burgo; the quote about “when we project we turn the other person into a symbol: the Bossy Jerk or the Needy Wreck” was actually from this article here at ExperienceLife.com: https://experiencelife.com/article/how-to-stop-projecting/ 

This article – “Projection in Relationships: Stop it from ruining your connection” was helpful as we thought of ideas for this episode: https://www.monikahoyt.com/projection-in-relationships/

The book that mentioned how families project their expectations onto us is They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life by Oliver James.

We talked about Freud, and how he discussed projection as a defence mechanism. Read more about psychological defence mechanisms here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201110/the-essential-guide-defense-mechanisms