Friendship, Over Time

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How friendships change and matter over the course of a lifetime.

Two friends gaze out over a harbor. (Flickr / Serhat AY)
Two friends gaze out over a harbor. (Flickr / Serhat AY)

We know friends and good friendships are important. They delight. Keep us grounded. Give life meaning. Sometimes save our lives, or feel that way. But we also know we let friends go. We get busy. Move. Lose touch. Just don’t really keep up, even when the Facebook or Instagram feed is still there. Julie Beck felt it when she hit her mid-twenties and college friends were slipping away. She made a study of friendship over time. Why it matters. What keeps it strong. She turned to wise voices. They’re with us. So is she. This hour On Point, friendship, in the course of a lifetime.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Julie Beck, senior associate editor at the Atlantic magazine. (@julieebeck)

Bill Rawlins, professor of communications studies at Ohio University. Author of "Friendship Matters" and "The Compass of Friendship."

Vanessa Jackson, licensed clinical social worker in Atlanta, GA. (@livingfullpower)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: How Friendships Change in Adulthood — "Throughout life, from grade school to the retirement home, friendship continues to confer health benefits, both mental and physical. But as life accelerates, people’s priorities and responsibilities shift, and friendships are affected, for better, or often, sadly, for worse."

Vox: How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult — "We should recognize that by shrinking our network of strong social ties to our immediate families, we lose something important to our health and social identities, with the predictable result that we are ridden with anxiety and loneliness. We are meant to have tribes, to be among people who know us and care about us."

TIME: How Social Media Is Ruining Our Relationships — "I think the rise of social media is definitely correlated with the rise of narcissism in our society. Our self-esteem depends on how many likes we get, how many followers we get, if someone texts us back. And I think when you see your phone light up from across the room, it’s that ping of dopamine in your system. You get that euphoric, excited feeling, and I think that’s addictive."

This program aired on November 2, 2015.


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