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Why can’t we be friends? | Dr. Jill Squyres | TEDxVail

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"Like mid-century ideas about marriage, old-fashioned expectations about friendship don’t reflect contemporary realities." Dr. Jill Squyres is a Vail Valley, clinical psychologist of 25 years who delves deep into the mysteries of friendships to gain perspective on loneliness and frenemies.  Her fascinating endeavor begs the question, Why Can't We Be Friends? http://www.drjillsquyrespsychologist.com/ As a clinical psychologist for 25 years, Jill Squyres, talks with people about many of the most intimate details of their lives. Over the years, she’s listened to many smart, interesting clients describe intense loneliness as they speak wistfully about how difficult it has become to find and maintain close friendships, changing face of friendship.One of her greatest privileges is helping people build the courage, trust, insight, and empathy needed to form the intimate emotional connections most of us crave. She believes that strong societies are founded on strong relationships. She helps individuals build better friendships, healing their worlds. http://www.drjillsquyrespsychologist.com/ This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
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Text Comments (76)
Marc Ten Low (10 days ago)
I find that quality friends are extremely hard to find. I have none. My mother is one of the best, but has numerous shortcomings that I have to deal with. Beggars cant always be choosers.
Briana Anairb (26 days ago)
"You have to be willing to go out and look at my tomatoes." DEEP.
Micah Gonzales (3 months ago)
I honestly think there's no such thing as "fake" friends/people. Maybe these people are just not compatible with us and we just have to manage our expectations because I believe we've been all designed by God to be wired differently and to be trustworthy friends to those we'll match up with. I think it's worth praying to be discerning of the company we choose and allow ourselves to belong to. :)
Bret Smith (3 months ago)
Great talk, Jill! I couldn't agree with you more!
ashley arias (4 months ago)
I dream of having reciprocity in any kind of relationship. I'm afraid it will never be something I am fortunate enough to experience in my lifetime.
Comet67 (4 months ago)
I haven’t got friends, I got family - Vin Diesel.
Mary Catherine La Mar (4 months ago)
Her long-time friend was incredibly rude. If I'm visiting someone and staying in their home--even if we're NOT close friends--I'll go look at their tomatoes, their stamp collection, their family albums, their motorcycle, whatever they want to show me, first because that's the polite thing to do when you are a guest, but second because I'm interested in people's hobbies and what brings them joy and I like being exposed to new things. The problem I've discovered is that while I may be that way, others don't necessarily extend the same interest to me, and so the relationship becomes completely one-sided. So now I pay more attention to whether people show reciprocal interest in me, and if they do, I cultivate those relationships. The others are easy to let go, I'm finding--because generally, people who are not interested in and caring about others, aren't particularly interesting themselves.
Looping malone (4 months ago)
Toxic supposed to be friends are now out of my life : what a relief ! Respect is the foundation of friendship, you are right.
Chiara Rdn (5 months ago)
Oh my God, this is almost exactly what happened to me and my best friend of 25 years! I can totally relate to everything she says... and here I had been thinking I was the only one!
Jim Jay (7 months ago)
Interesting that she doesn’t have a garden in her friendship house.
Ley Kim (7 months ago)
I like this talk, it's as if I was listening to my own story that has yet to complete. I'm still thinking of ending my friendship with my closest friends coz I think we are both toxic for each other.
April Thomas (8 months ago)
I struggle with this issue so much. I always always do me best to be patient, self sacrificing, etc for my friends and I don't think that I ask for a great deal of attention. I am not someone who keeps tabs on who wishes me a happy b day or whatever. But any time I do try to express my own interests, or try to... not be the center of attention, but maybe more like, try to let my energy run the show a little bit (if that makes sense) I find that I am often made to feel like I am being selfish or pushy or something like that. Even if just subtly. In the day to day, with them, I am very often the one listening. As an afterthought, it seems, I am asked for my two sense sometimes but it doesn't seem like they are really interested. I feel confused, at this point I don't know if it is true and I just can't see it about myself or if my friends really are toxic. I am playing with the idea of severing ties but I don't really have any other friends. It is true that they have a more potty humor style sense of humor and usually want to just be silly and giggle and I am like that SOMETIMES. I have had genuine good times with these friends. But that is like 10% of me and I have a way deeper more serious and intro- extrospective side to me that is screaming to be expressed with other people but I think they find that side of me boring. While I find it boring that they can never go beyond either being super silly or being miserable about life. it is like one of the two extremes with them always.
poppie momma (13 days ago)
i relate to this. the world is filled with shallow people who think with half a brain. people who are deep and intuitive tend to not have as many friends bc people are to shallow to handle our depth. insecure people also struggle with people who are observant and deep bc they dont want pitty or for the insecurities to be seen by ppl. shallow ppl however dont pay enough attention to anyone else but themeselfs so they usually will not make insecure ppl uncofortable unlike smart ppl who can tell.
Mr Everson (9 months ago)
Corruption u are..... Love is a friend a family, love is all.....
Vicki Lynn (9 months ago)
Wonderful talk. However, making supportive friendships is almost impossible. 99% of the people I meet are self absorbed and uninterested in anything you have to say, yet expect you to listen to them ad nauseam. And the nuclear family has become the primary focus rather than building other connections. Parents focus almost entirely on their children, and often find themselves at a loss when their children leave home (all their child free friends have moved on to people who stay in touch)
Precious Pecans (9 months ago)
I appreciate your thoughts, but this vaguely reminds me of those Insta/Twitter fights between friends ya kno?
Precious Pecans (9 months ago)
Hey hey hey hey! #210
B Bger (10 months ago)
So when you encounter difficult people just give up on them and don't let them into your friendship house? How about being loving and patient and trying to help them and understand why they act the way that they do?
Nina’s Notes (11 months ago)
Gosh! The background noise is ruining this TED talk. ( paper shuffling )
britt cyra (11 months ago)
You feel it, there's no shared caring, when you need them there not there but when they need you it's like stop all your doing .. this frenemy has consistently talked about me behind my back n has said She s the victim ...I'm over it.. I'm ghosting her.
ando1135 (1 year ago)
I'll never have friends. I'm 30 and I have no friends (literally 0). I'm alone in the world and it's gonna stay that way even though I would gladly be there for someone, a friend. I mean, not to say I've never had a friend, just they never stay a friend...it doesn't last.
rohan Fulsundar (17 days ago)
ya me.. too.. 🙂
Ms K (3 months ago)
ando1135 Same here. You’re not alone.
Sherry Crawford (1 year ago)
It's hard to have a one sided friend ship , I give up !
Laurie Syme (1 year ago)
Well said!!  Love that house concept, and yes, your friend should Want to go see your tomatoes!
christinecraze (1 year ago)
Loved this talk!
sj moore (1 year ago)
I would not want to be friends, and certainly not close friends, with someone who puts me in a particular compartment. I realize there are friends we call on to do certain activities or maybe a certain friend is better at giving advice on a particular topic, but she is putting them in rooms so she can open the door when she needs to benefit from that whatever i it she needs at that moment. . You can't find true friendship that way. And her friendship house is so juvenile. From the way she verbalized it to her hand gestures.
Miguel Plata (8 months ago)
sj moore well I agree with her, cause there are many levels of friendships, and not everyone deserve to be on the kitchen. You can get promoted though. I think the house method is very useful cause nobody got time for fake friends.
Marilee Bolam (10 months ago)
sj moore - I could not agree with you more, and I was a therapist before becoming disabled, and losing most of my friends as a result. If I was this choosy, I would be totally alone. Most of my friends are online now, and I would love to have someone who cared enough to come and see me in person like her friend did. If her friend is too negative now, maybe she is depressed and needs comfort. I would ask her about that before throwing her away as if friends grew on trees!
Roy Montero (1 year ago)
"You cannot make a friend, you can only be a friend." — Roy Montero "Why can’t we be friends?" — Jill Squyres
hippiechickie18 (1 year ago)
So you have to pretend to be interested in someone's tomatoes if you want to stay friends with them? Real friends should be able to be honest and not have to feign interest in stupid shit like each others' tomatoes. I hate people who expect a fake friendship like that.
ejaculatingcock (1 year ago)
I thought she meant you should find someone genuinely interested in tomatoes
hippiechickie18 (1 year ago)
I would suggest that you should care that you sound like my five year old brother in law, but that's just me.
Lisa Smith (1 year ago)
hippiechickie18 lol ! Do i care? no-
hippiechickie18 (1 year ago)
You've only heard one side of the story and you're already coming to conclusions about the other woman's character, but then again I wouldn't expect much more from someone with the mind of a five year old who thinks calling someone a gnat is a clever insult. Oh, and just so you know, using caps lock does not make your point any more valid.
Lisa Smith (1 year ago)
hippiechickie18 Dig Deeper in The Patch hippie chick. That woman had been subtly denigrating this woman for years never being TRULY A FRIEND. She was Sneaky, Selfish and Wicked! Intentionally undermining her. Yuck! I am so glad this poor lady woke up. She seems interesting, kind, and frankly, a better friend than that woman ever deserved in 30 years! The Tomato Incident CRYSTALLIZED "The TRUTH" of her relationship with this GNAT of a woman...
Michele Herrmann (1 year ago)
It's harder now to find people who will like you for who you are, instead of what you've got.
George Galamb (1 year ago)
My mind is my first best friend. My computer is my second best friend. My bicycle is my third best friend.
reg4321 (1 year ago)
I like that.
People might say she is choosy with her friends but that's how life should be. I think this is the right thing to do. Fake friends may scar us so we should be very careful in choosing them. :)
Lisandro Julian (1 month ago)
You should be choosy with best friends in my opinion, but being open with people to be your friend.
siorsior1 (1 year ago)
What do you do when you exclude your friendemy from your life, and she keeps popping up in your social circle? She became the queen bee and i would have to kiss her ass to be included in the circle. Even my best friend attends to her party. It was me who introduced her to my "friends" and im left out because im not single anymore.
Jennifer Parry (1 year ago)
Sounds really one-sided if you ask me....unless you meet my needs ALL the time, then out the door with you! Besides, who the hell has emotional stability? We are humans, emotional instability goes with the territory. I think the wiser thing to do would be to examine why you let someone get to the stage where they felt that could say something like "I'm not interested in your tomatoes" Plus, I doubt that the ex-friend had done that much changing as the presenter claimed towards the end, rather the presenter had grown a significant amount and was the one who had changed, which is why she was no longer willing to allow the bitch friend to treat her so badly. This is what happened with me and ex best friend. But swap the tomatoes for brain cancer.
Clayton Riisoe (4 months ago)
damn... thats cold! Hope you are doing well!
Nosy Hausfrau (4 months ago)
I agree and aside from all we don't know there is something else to consider here. She said her friend arrived after travelling 1000 miles to see her AND it was hot. This is a woman around menopause age I'm assuming. Maybe she was cranky from heat travel and hormones and a bit down from not having what she perceived as this woman's perfect life. Maybe from her perspective this woman is the one who doesn't meet halfway and is rigid. I am not saying that is the case and I tend to believe this woman when she says things were great until it became about her. But I would be interested to hear the other woman's side of it. My hunch is that this woman here had some kind of windfall or advancement in her life and that was just too much for the other friend and for this woman it was the final straw that she was feeling fully content and the friend attempted to ruin that for her by trying to bring her down. I had this exact thing happen to me when something great happened to me. You find out who your friends are when the chips are down and when they are up.
Andreas C. (1 year ago)
"Emotional stability" I I guess that explains why it's hard for me to keep or make friends. I have a trauma disorder. Sometimes people can't see how loving, caring, and generous I am because my disorder gets in the way. Still trying to figure out how to fix it.
Di Di Bee (1 year ago)
Andreas C. I feel like you just described me and my present situation. I had many close friends and a best friend since the age of 5. The best friend and I lost touch and took paths in life that we were ashamed to show one another. The others were from high school, college, work or relationships and lost touch when we were no longer around each other frequently. All the people in her non-friendship house became my friends instead over the years until I was left with no one.
Jinger Todd (1 year ago)
I used to cry that I couldn't and make lasting friendships, not even with my sisters. Now I just don't care anymore. I am my own best friend!
Street Hierarchy (8 months ago)
Good call!
livamilAVA (9 months ago)
Im 27, & before psychotherapy, i thought i was to blame for failed relationships, now i can see why they had to go and all i need is my family
Thank you for sharing that! I can relate 100%, I have questioned, analyzed this topic and have had very sad times because of it, and been in situations that intuitively where not for me, but when you are not taught how to Love yourself, like walking, talking etc. You seek love outside of yourself, and it can be self costly, but unhealthy girlfriends and men, have brought me one day at a time to recovery,to learn what loving myself and enjoying my own company and myself, make healthy choice with my friendships,and if I am alone, I do not feel alone, I take care of my soul,the void is no longer there, Codependancy is deadly, and many people suffer in silence, act out in addiction, get very sick. Thank you for all your voices!
Ophelia D (1 year ago)
Yes I was with a toxic friendship for 16 years stupid me. I finally let go.
Cee Jay (28 days ago)
Ophelia , Congratulations to you. Me too, still trying not to bounce back to it. I need to let go, period.
Barbara Thompson (1 month ago)
I stopped communications with my BFF of 40 years, a few months. No big talk or explanations because it would not do any good. I still think about her all the time. I knew leaving this relationship would be hard that is why It took so long to end it. It got to where I would jump 10 feet when my phone would ring knowing it would be her. If I don't answer her calls she expects me to explain why. Threated to call police to check on me. She expects me to be at her beck and call when she wants to belly ache about everything under the sun but she can't be bothered to help me when I came home to move my father to nursing home. She just could not understand that I was not there to party with her. She really expected me to dump my father in a home, ignore all my family members and spend all my time with her. I new for years she was a toxic person but that was the last straw. she was poisoning me. I hope someday I will truly feel free of her.  Next time I go home to visit I wont have to contend with her.
sochuiwon priscilla (1 year ago)
this shit is happening to me with some of my friends.. I'm in college they aren't.. so everthing in my life currently is not their interest because it sounds ostentatious.. no matter how nicely I try to empathise with them or try to connect with them by finding common grounds n sustain our relationship. sometimes I feel miserable after talking to them..my misery n self depreciation seems amusing n interesting to them..i'm starting to get sick of the toxic relationships
Forward_Ever &_Ever (2 months ago)
Yo, begin to cut ties wt those "friends" take it from me, i know & wasted a ton of time behind them! Whats the deal here is this, your "friends" don't really like u. They actually envy so so much you don't even know (or be like me & be in a state of denial.) They would actually like to see u fail so you'd be in the same situation as them. Be wise. You don't owe them anything! Give all the thanks to God & those who REALLY care about u.
sochuiwon priscilla (1 year ago)
Be Shines thank you it's funny how I stumbled upon this tonight as I was rewatching these videos because I've been feeling a bit lonely..truth is I let go of a lot of those friendships n yes it hurts sometimes when I think about it like right now but I'm so much more at peace with myself my goals and my passions. I didn't realize how exhausting all the pretending and trying to fit in was until I stopped. I believe the few friends I have left are good enough n I sure hope my future will work out just fine.
Be Shines (1 year ago)
sochuiwon khapai - I had a very similar experience, when I was the only one of my friends and family to go to college. As I worked hard to pursue my goals, my friend group and I drifted apart. I've reconnected with several of them after 20 years! There were no hard feelings. And you know what, our lives are even more different now. I'm happy with the choices I've made. I chose me, because ultimately, my friend group and I wanted different things from life. Friends do come and go, and that is part of living and learning. It's hard, for sure, but worth it to sometimes let go. Start noticing and asking yourself, "when I am around this person, when I talk with them, and immediately after being around them, do I feel better or do I feel worse?" You can even come up with a percentage to ask yourself, "if I feel worse 40 percent of the time after being with this person, do I want them in my life?" Probably not. Ending friendships can be painful, but there doesn't have to be anger. Keep loving them and appreciating the gifts the friendship gave you, from afar and apart. Best of luck!
Jennifer Noble (1 year ago)
Love this! Great insights!
Mrs 504 (1 year ago)
Excellent it is the principal of it. You have to open doors to those who exchanges with you on all levels.
True Star (2 years ago)
What aload of bull crap....unless someone is perfect and always supportive you throw them aside ....christ mayeb if you wwre a FRIEND you might get to the bottom of what was wrong with your friend and what was up with her ....
Marilee Bolam (10 months ago)
True Star - Could not have said it better than you did!
John smith (2 years ago)
If someone doesn't belong in the friendship house don't let them in. If they don't share your interest in tomatoes then they are not good for you a "frienemy", exclude them from the "friendship house". Don't spend time with people who have different opinions, different interests and different approaches. Stay in your "friendship house" and lock the door! How very sad.
Cee Jay (28 days ago)
Mary Catherine La Mar Reciprocity! The key to a good friendship.
Mary Catherine La Mar (4 months ago)
It's not about common interests, it's about reciprocity. We want friends who take joy in our joy--so if we grow tomatoes that bring us joy, we want our friends to indulge us in that joy, even if they have zero interest in tomatoes or being in the hot sun to look at them.
hippiechickie18 (1 year ago)
She needed a safe space.
Emm Ay Emm (2 years ago)
Awesome Jill! Thank you! :)
This Skin I'm In (3 years ago)
Thank you Jill, I needed this.
Melanie Mamakos (3 years ago)
Congratulations Jill! Great talk!
Jill Squyres PhD (3 years ago)
+Melanie Mamakos Thanks so much!
booklee88 (3 years ago)
Well presented, informative, well spoken, and FRIENDLY!  Kudo's to you, Jill, for a fabulous perspective that is relatable   to so many of us. 
Patricia Henry (3 years ago)
Awesome Jill. Thanks for sharing your experience.  Making  friends is a privilege and having a true friend a gift. 
ThatoneRahalfan15 (1 year ago)
Patricia Henry I have been looking for friends for 4 years and I am now a sophomore. I have never ever had any friends that were worthwhile
Mark Strong (4 years ago)
I'd definitely look at her tomatoes.
Christina Cao (1 year ago)
Mark Strong Me too :)
Lissa Piercy (4 years ago)
Shared! Thanks for the "friendship house" concept, Jill, I still use it! 

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