“He assures me she’s just a friend …”
“My husband has been retired for two years and he has been very close to a former work colleague. They have discovered a common passion for road cycling and often go out together. He assures me she’s just a friend, nothing more. I trust him, but I have always had a hard time believing that a true friendship can exist between a man and a woman. I’m afraid she has designs on my husband … ” Mary, 65 years
Can a woman and a man maintain a friendship without any romantic or sexual ulterior motives? This is a question that has never stopped upsetting the spirits! And yet … “A sincerely mixed friendship is very possible, especially in the case of a common interest in a sport, an artistic or intellectual activity. Because closeness is first and foremost linked to this interest,” says Saverio Tomasella, psychoanalyst and author to “These Friendships That Transform Us” (ed. Eyrolles). In this case, this gentleman appreciates his former colleague first and foremost because he thinks it is comfortable to ride with her! In general, it does not put them at risk of having friendships outside of the couple, on the contrary.
“This is space with personal freedom, small moments of breathing in the lives of two that allow you not to feel trapped. As such, they are a balancing factor for oneself and for the couple “, notes Anne-Laure Buffet, therapist and author of” Friendship, Essential, Constructive, Fusion or Toxic “, (ed. Eyrolles). To offer this kind freedom to your spouse in full confidence, what better proof of love?
“My grandson lives in the shadow of his classmate”
“Since she started in junior high school, my granddaughter has had a ‘best friend’ that she has been inseparable from. She only talks about herself, dresses like her, reads the same books as her: she is in absolute mimicry!admit that this makes me a little sad because I have the impression that my grandson lives in the shadow of this friend and abdicates any personal choice. She’s changed a lot since she’s been dating her, and in my opinion not really in a good way … ” Vivianne, 72 years old
The very fusion aspect of certain youthful friendships can destabilize adults. However, it is quite common. “Seeking to be one with a best friend is a deeply reassuring teenager. Thus, he feels less alone and stronger to take the necessary distance from his parents to build his own identity. This does not mean that he loses his personality: as soon as he feels able to fly on his own, he will again dare to assert more personal choices, ”describes Saverio Tomasella.
No need to worry too much about our grandchildren’s friendships. But that should not stop us from staying on guard, because toxic control conditions can exist at any age. “If a teenager involved in a very fused friendship loses his zest for life, becomes anxious, dumb, this is not a good sign “, he warns.
What to do? “It is better that the grandparents do not criticize the friend frontally for maintaining the connection to their grandchild and maintaining the possibility of exchanges, for trust. But they must definitely express their concern to the parents,” insists Anne-Laure Buffet.
“With her friends she built another family”
“My daughter gives a lot of space to her friends, much more than to the family! She goes on vacation with them instead of coming to the family home. The godparents of her three children are all friends, she did not choose her brothers and sisters. My wife and I feel that she and her friends have built another family. It hurts us … ” Jean-Jacques, 77 years old
When children are young, nothing is more important to them than their family: it is with their parents, their brothers and sisters, they feel best. “We can all nurture the fantasy that this original golden age will remain frozen forever. But in reality, that’s rarely the case, and that’s good! To become independent adults, our children must build groups other than the family. This especially involves an important place given to their friends, relatives that they have chosen to go with them.explains Saverio Tomasella.
It would therefore be a shame to regard our children’s friends as rivals: on the contrary, they are guarantors of their development. “When an adult child spends more time with his friends than with his family, it does not mean that he rejects or denies it. He simply does not appreciate joining a clan, he must see his individuality respected “, continues Anne-Laure Buffet.
“What can still unite them?”
“At 50, my son still very often sees a friend he knew in elementary school. On the one hand, I admire his loyalty. But I still have a hard time understanding what can still unite them. This friend has particularly extremist political views. It does not fit my son’s values at all, and I wonder how he can put up with some of his talk without coming into conflict with him … ” Eliette, 80 years
Childhood friendships have a very special status: we are not necessarily looking for affinities, but rather reminiscent of our past, traces of our personal history. “These friendships are comforting and comforting, they allow us to reconnect with our part of childhood. They are soft and airy, “smiles Anne-Laure Buffet. And whether or not differences have arisen over the years with our old friends, we live with it! “It is not because this son sees a friend with extreme opinions and unlike his own that he abdicates his own values.
He may simply be able to see in him, in addition to his sometimes outrageous speeches, his part of humanity, his loyalty, his generosity, his involvement in the friendly relationship, his listening, ”notes Saverio Tomasella. So let’s be careful not to pass a moral judgment on our children’s friendships, because we do not know all the mysteries …
“For me, a friendship is not created on the Internet”
“My wife is keen on genealogy. She talks a lot with other enthusiasts on online sites. She has especially gained a virtual friendship with a lady who lives two hundred kilometers from us. After several phone calls exchanged with her, my wife took it in her head to respond to her invitation and go to her. I’m not at all excited about this idea … For me, a friendship is not created on the internet! ” Andrew, 73 years old
For the younger generation, it is only natural to meet online – for example on a video game platform – then to further deepen the friendship in real life. “But for those who have not grown up with these new forms of communication, it is not obvious! They judge what they do not have experience through the prism of fear, it is legitimate,” Saverio Tomasella analyzes.
However, it can be good to be surprised by the news … “Researchers have abundantly shown that maintaining numerous and dynamic social relationships is one of the secrets behind good aging. However, the Internet can be a very practical tool for expanding one’s horizons beyond one’s neighborhoods and the places that are usually frequented. to create new friendships, ”encourages Anne-Laure Buffet.
Provided you are careful, as this lady was, and start talking on the phone before any meeting in the flesh.