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Relationship expert Ashley Howe shares five tips on how to remain open to friendships, old and new.

TIP #1:  Find new ways to stay connected

Mix friend time with daily things you need to do anyway! When you walk your dog, make that, “call Simon time.” When you would normally take your lunch in your office, schedule lunch with a friend instead!  

TIP #2:  Be open to varying degrees of “friend maintenance”

You know those friendships that you can have when you talk to that person once a year but you always know you can pick up where you left off? Then you have those friendships that need a little more nurturing? Be sure you have an idea of what is the “norm” of contact is for your friend, before you take their degree of communication personally or as a sign of a “faded” friendship. Often the best friendships occur when there is a shared understanding around what it takes to maintain that particular friendship and hopefully you will be on the same page. 

TIP #3:  Embrace the evolution

If you are newly single, it is okay to say no to that early morning kid's birthday party that your good friend is throwing in favour of doing something more in line with your life stage (ex. going out on a late date the night before). You can always have a visit at a time that works more into your life’s schedule and that’s okay! It’s always important to both honour your own life stage and respect your friends’ developing stages of life and to meet somewhere in the middle.  

TIP #4: Befriend the person you admire

Surrounding yourself with those you admire will make you more successful. So, that colleague with great style – ask them to join you shopping. Instead of being intimidated or not wanting to pale in comparison, be someone’s biggest fan, embrace it and try to surround yourself with those people! 

TIP #5: Do something out of your ordinary

Research shows that when we go through something new or scary with people that it can bring us closer together and faster! If you are in need of new friend, try a trip abroad alone, or an adventurous new activity that pushes you out of your comfort zone. You may find that those who help you to get through it or are in the trenches with you will soon become your newest and fastest friends!

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