7 Simple Ways to Improve Relationships with Friends and Family - Present Outlook
We examine the link between family and personal networks. Using arguments about meeting opportunities, competition and social influence. Friends and Family in Relationship Communities: The Importance of Friendship during the Transition to Adulthood. Kara Takasaki*. The University of Texas at. The people that we spoke to had often found their relationships with family and friends difficult to manage during their fertility problems. While family and friends .
Many participants wished they still had access to a unique environment, like college, where they could easily establish social networks and long-lasting friendships. Mary was a year-old, white, graduate student in an exclusive couple. Mary had recently moved to the area and talked about multiple ways that she was trying to make friends after moving away from her established social networks. She realized that she had to find places in Boston that were similar to a college environment, where community was supported and encouraged.
She joined a yoga studio and was trying to be more honest about her need for a friend in her graduate classes. Based on what they give you, you see what kinda space they have Participants carefully crafted their personal communities. They were strategic about how and with whom they spent their limited time and resources. They described making strategic choices about whom they would befriend and how.
Unmarried participants wanted friends who would have time and space for a new leisure-based friendship in their life. Married participants wanted friends who could get along with their partner. Parents wanted friends in a similar life-stage who would be able to accommodate their parenting obligations.
When participants sought friends, they compared themselves to people who had established networks from high school and college and did not seem to have time or emotional space for more friends. Younger participants who recently graduated from college in the area had larger friend groups than older participants that had moved away after graduating. For participants experiencing the interruption of social network stability by moving away from established networks making friends became a challenge.
It feels like work. It feels like listening for cues of people who might wanna be friends Even though she had to go through the frustrating process multiple times, she invests in it because she believed the social interaction, even with only a potential friend, was culturally valuable enough to name it as a need that is required in order to be a person.
Participants observed the difference from the college lifestyle of many easy and casual connections. After college, their social networks revolved around careers. They felt that it required more time, effort, and planning to spend time with friends and that it was more difficult to meet new friends that were in similar life situations. Participants that moved a lot, did not attend college, had divorced, or in other ways experienced instability in their support networks, felt that making friends was particularly difficult.
Kylie dropped out of a prestigious college to marry her now ex-husband. They moved to Santa Barbara and her ex-husband kept her from having friends or talking to her family.
Kylie had moved a few times during emerging adulthood. By missing a life stage with her cohort, going through a divorce, and an extended period of isolation, Kylie was especially sensitive to the absence of a social support network that her peers possessed. The negative case for friendship: They recognized that they faced different barriers to making friends than their peers and prioritized their commitment to their marriage and their kids over attempts to make or spend time with friends.
For these participants, friendship may not have been as important for development of adult identities because the companionate marriages they described and marital childbearing are symbols of adulthood for the middle-class. Emma was a year-old white graduate student. She was married and had two children. Married participants had greater demands on their time, especially if they had children. They also expressed a desire for more time to spend with friends or to spend making friends.
These respondents were more aware about the costs and benefits of making and maintaining friendships than their childless peers. The people where I do prioritize their friendship are people that understand that about my life. I do make time to see them and often they will want to see my kids. Emma talked about how people in her graduate program would go for drinks after class, but that she could not participate in such spontaneous activities.
She sounded tired as she listed out the pre-planning and coordination that would have to happen with her partner in order for her to get drinks on a weekday evening. Logan was a married year-old white male, undergraduate student, and father of two children. Things that really define my life right now are my family, kids, academics and my intellectual pursuits Married parents needed friends that would be invested in their families and would understand that family was a top priority.
These participants wanted potential friends to meet and get along with their families, or at the very least they had to be willing to talk about them. For married parents, their family and particularly their spouse were critical components of their social identities. These participants often said that their spouse was their most intimate relationship because spouses were heavily involved in day-to-day logistics, financial commitments, and children. Participants talked about a shift in friendships from youth to adulthood by describing their younger selves as less likely to care about social consequences of their behavior.
Conflict was described as less significant and more ephemeral during childhood and adolescence. I have a fairly limited number of people with whom I interact regularly. I not only consciously worry but implicit in the ways that I interact with people worry of saying the wrong thing or getting the wrong reputation and then having that snowball and cause problems in my life that are more than social When I was younger I was much more open I was able to form close friendships relatively soon after meeting people.
But also I had a lot of When I was younger This quote showed that even though Logan had experienced the transitions of marriage and fatherhood, he still struggled with intimacy in his relationships. It even seems to suggest that he may have been better at establishing intimacy when he was younger, despite having also offended many people.
People who are socially isolated have less support and less conflict, while people who are socially engaged have more of both. Conflict and friendship were depicted as more abundant and less meaningful in youth. Conversely, negotiating conflict in friendship seemed more significant in adulthood because participants had more to lose; they did not have as many friends, could not make them as easily, and engaging in conflict required resources of time and effort that many participants did not have.
Friendship in Personal Communities Family was always considered the most durable of relationships because most participants did not think they could end a family relationship. However, intimate friends were often considered as durable as kinship relations.
When participants were asked to assess how important their different relationships were to them, the marital or romantic couple came out on top. Yet, participant accounts described relationship types as being unique with distinct strengths and weaknesses. Confirming the empirical generation of the personal community framework, it seemed that all relationship types had the potential to provide valuable support to respondents.
Friendship strengthened personal communities by providing external support to the marital couple and by becoming a unique relationship bond within family relationships. Friends provided multiple perspectives, opportunities for individual growth, access to resources, social capital, and diverse compatibilities to meet the individual needs of respondents.
Support external to the family: Friends supporting kin relationships Gina was a year-old, previously divorced white, female, undergraduate student, in an exclusive couple relationship. People need various people for different reasons Kathy [best friend] brings stability and reliability and Amanda [other best friend] brings the party.
A couple years ago I got pregnant and it was two months before I was supposed to come back to campus I talked to my friend Kathy In this quote, Gina described how she was able to use different relationships for different needs. Having a balanced and cohesive support system seemed important to participants.
When participants felt that they were missing or seeing problems in their relationships, they focused on the weak link of their personal community as something that they wanted to fix. Participants believed that they could and should craft personal communities to fit the needs of their developing adult identity. Clara was a year-old white female and graduate student.
I try to remember to go to them [my friends] Clara needed friends to support her so that she could support her partner. The idea that she needed other people so that she could have a high-quality relationship with her romantic partner speaks to the importance and effort invested in companionate marriage often attributed to and valued by the middle-class.
As peers started to have children, participants said they had fewer close friends and more of their close friends did not know each other.
Participants were also concerned for their parents who seemed to become more isolated by turning inward to their marriage for primary companionship and social interaction, especially after retirement. Participants described friend-like acquaintances and friendship as a bond in marital, dating, and family relationships.
Duncan was a year-old male Latin American graduate student, in a non-exclusive couple.
I asked him to describe the ideal intimate relationship. When Duncan described the rest of his family, he said that his most intimate familial relationship was with his sister.
He had siblings, two parents, and an extended family that he stayed in contact with on a regular basis.
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However, the fact that he considered his sister to be a friend even more than a sister strengthened this relationship and enhanced its supportive benefits for him in contrast to other comparable kinship relations.
When friendship was a recognized bond that emerged in family relationships, the respondent prioritized that relationship above others in their personal community because the respondent benefitted from the strengths and weaknesses of different relationship types. For example, family relationships existed regardless of the quality of the relationship itself.
When respondents voluntarily chose to invest in a friendship with their family member, a family relationship was reliable, enduring, and enjoyable. Moreover, unlike marital relationships, unmarried respondents could usually choose when and how to activate the different benefits of family relationships because respondents did not usually live with family members.
Like my brother, his son was born premature He called, I flew down the next day When I separated from my ex-husband He drove up that night in his truck, drove 12 hours and packed up my apartment with me sobs while laughing. My brother is an ideal intimate relationship He came up here a couple months ago and we went to a patio bar. We spent seven hours just sitting out on the patio chatting, laughing, enjoying the sun and each other. It seemed that the characteristics of a kinship relation with her brother and the benefits of friendship with him produced an enduring, low-maintenance, and supportive relationship that seemed tailored to her individual needs.
When I asked Gina to rank her most intimate relationships for me, she replied: My romantic relationships are the most intimate, my friends would be the second, and my family would be the least, with the exception of my brother.
Family and Friends: Which Types of Personal Relationships Go Together in a Network?
My brother would fall with my friends. Notably, Gina talks about why she does not get along with her parents and her other brother, which reinforces how friendship as an individualized relationship gives her the opportunity to receive social value from her relationships with one brother that she does not get from her other family members.
Specifically, for family members there were intimate relationships between siblings that were distinct from relationships with other siblings and relationships with parents because of the presence or lack of friendship in kinship relations. The negative case for friendly kin relationships The individualized marriage that helps individuals to develop and grow is a marker of middle-class status Cherlin, Respondents wanted their spouse to be a best friend and they recognized friendship as a distinct bond that should exist in their marital relationships.
However, the pressure of being best friends with a spouse could make a relationship more stressful. How much money do we have? Are we gonna have kids someday? The belief that anything can be learned, and that learning helps an individual to grow into adult maturity is a middle-class value. Friends helped to solidify a middle-class adult identity by helping respondents to learn how to process conflict and emotions in adult friendships, and how to be adults in their romantic and marital relationships.
Friendship in a parental relationship could also be negative for respondents and did not always strengthen a personal community. However, recognizing friendship in a parental relationship could help respondents to solidify their own adult identities. Evan was a year-old white male and undergraduate student in a non-exclusive couple at the time of the interview.
He seemed to come from a working-class background. Evan viewed his relationship with his father on the level of equal peers—someone to hang out with and probably not the preferred choice. Even though he uses the term friend when compared to his description of friendship and his interactions with his other friends, Evan did not actually consider his father a friend.
He also did not think that he fulfilled the role of a father. Kendra also viewed her relationship with her mother as peer-like. She often felt that she parented her mother and her brother. I definitely take the caretaker motherly role in my own family.
I also talk about relationship stuff with my mom, but I use that as a teaching tool cause my mother needs guidance I am his [younger brother] mother I am big time mothering him. Kendra and Evan felt that their respective parents were not fulfilling their parental roles. However, Kendra applied more characteristics of friendship, true of her other friendships, to her relationship with her mother.
Other participants also had intimate relationships with their parents that shared characteristics of friendship and stood out against the description of parent-child relationships from the majority of the study.
Unlike Kendra, the majority of participants did not feel comfortable talking about partying, drinking, sex, or romantic relationships with their parents.
Family and Friends: Which Types of Personal Relationships Go Together in a Network?
There were a few exceptions, but even then none of those parents were considered friends. The parental role in the cultural structure of the American family meant that first and foremost, parents were expected to be parents. Friendship was beneficial to the relationship, but it was also secondary to the parental role. Participants were conscious of intimacy with their parents and changing dynamics of this intimacy over time.
So there is this weird exchange that does happen with choice. Recognizing friendship in a family relationship made the act of caring for a family member a voluntary choice and added value to that decision. Discussion How do young adults from a middle-class background use a culture of individualism to respond to the instability of relationships?
Concern for relationship instability came from anxiety around supporting a developing, middle-class individual. Respondents used friendship to create personal communities that would address what they perceived as existing or expected relationship instability in their personal communities.
Respondents talked about needing to support themselves as unique individuals by making and maintaining friends that could support specific aspects of their personalities, their emotional needs, and the other relationships that were important to them in their personal communities.
For emerging adults, the quality of friendship during this life stage may reinforce the development of class-based identities. Respondents wanted friendship because they believed that they should. They believed that friends they carefully chose or did not choose reflected their personal identities and needs as adults.
The Significant Dangers of Engaging in a Physician-patient Relationship with Family or Friends
They were aware that friendship provided economic benefits, like social networks and that it was good for them as healthy adults to be socially engaged. They also knew that it was important for the quality of their romantic and marital relationships that they had friends to confide in and process relationship conflict. Respondents were aware that transitions in romantic relationships, parental status, and residence would probably affect their personal communities.
Establishing friendship as prevention against pervasive insecurity was an ongoing concern, but a worthy investment of limited time and resources. Friendship was a necessary addition to carefully crafted personal communities that would help respondents become well-adjusted adults who embraced middle-class values and reflect individual personalities, interests, and needs. Establishing and maintaining this kind of friendship requires time, money, energy, and emotional resources, during a life-stage where most people are not in positions of power and have limited financial resources that they can leverage toward relationships Rindfuss, The way people respond to pervasive economic and relationship insecurity in their lives differs by class and gender.
Middle-class women used their friendships for emotional support and identity construction that they did not have access to in their marital relationships but were able to engage in because they had the time and resources Harrison, People may be more or less aware of systemic risks, more or less able to prepare for them, and more or less willing to accept insecurity in their employment and their relationships Cooper, ; Pugh, Future research should study how culture facilitates social mobility Streib,using the personal community framework.
The transition to adulthood can be a defining moment for upward or downward mobility. Middle-class investment in the developing individual during the transition to adulthood may not necessarily lead to upward mobility.
For people who get lost in the transition to adulthood, prioritizing the individual and investing in the friendships of a middle-class identity may keep people isolated from potential social supports.
Class, status, and power not only determine the type of friends that people make, but also how and why people control the kind of personal community they have.
It may be that certain types of personal communities do not map onto class differences but rather that people with power are able to choose the kind of personal community they want when they want it. This study begins this conversation by showing how and why emerging adults perceive a threat to their individualized middle-class identities and actively invest in the creation of their personal communities in response to instability.
Family relationships and support systems in emerging adulthood. Coming of age in the 21st century. New horizons in research on emerging and young adulthood.
What are friends for? Elective communities of single people. Relationship quality profiles and well-being among married adults.
Journal of Family Psychology Women in love and men at work: The evolving heterosexual couple? The deinstitutionalization of American marriage. Journal of Marriage and Family 66 4: The way we never were: American families and the nostalgia trap. Families in insecure times.
Because of the active involvement of these personal contacts, they may have a great influence on the presence of other close and intimate relationships. Furthermore, we examine how the presence and active involvement of specific types of family members and non-family members are mutually associated. To this end, we distinguish between a partner, children, parents and siblings as family members and friends, neighbours and colleagues as non-family members.
Thus, we examine how the presence and active role of specific types of family members affect the inclusion of other types of family members and of non-family members in personal networks and vice versa. More precisely, we ask the following question: How does the number and presence of specific types of personal contacts depend on a having specific types of family members and b the active involvement of specific types of family members and non-family members in the personal network? The Netherlands, like other North-western European countries, has reached a high standard of living in the last decades.
Although welfare expenditures are declining or at least are intended to do sothe Netherlands has still one of the most generous welfare states in the world. With public expenditures of Consequently, citizens generally do not have to rely for support on their social network, and are vice versa less often asked to give extensive help.
This creates opportunities to build large social networks based on choice Van Oorschot and Artsand might be one of the reasons why the Dutch are less family oriented than citizens of, for instance, Southern European countries Fokkema et al.
Although the public and political climate regarding ethnic minorities has changed drastically and became increasingly negative towards immigration, immigration levels are still limited in the Netherlands Van Doorn et al.
Despite increasing antagonism, compared to citizens in other western countries, citizens in the Netherlands are known to have high levels of informal social capital and social trust c. The size of personal networks remained stable over the past decade and is comparable to that in other western countries such as Germany and the United States Mollenhorst et al. Theoretical Framework and Hypotheses Meeting Opportunities, Competition, and Social Influence The presence and active involvement of specific types of family members and non-family members in personal networks may be associated with each other for at least three reasons: First, the presence and active involvement of family members and friends and of other non-family members in the network may be associated because contact with both types of social contacts is the result of the same meeting opportunity Feld ; Mollenhorst et al.
For example, neighbourhood relationships can emerge among parents whose children play together in their neighbourhood. As a result, having children is positively associated with regarding neighbours as personal contacts. Second, people may tacitly choose to have contact with either family or friends Homans ; Johnson and Leslie Therefore, people have to make discriminating choices about whom they consider their personal contacts. For example, people who spend a great deal of time with family members may have less time for friends.
Hence, family and friends may be negatively associated.