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Friendship IRL

Author: Alex Alexander

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Ever noticed how much we talk about romantic, family, and parent-child relationships, while friendships often get the silent treatment?

Welcome to "Friendship IRL," the Podcast where we dive deep into what's working (and what isn't) in our friendships.


Think of our episodes as a coffee date with your closest pal, filled with real stories that'll make you nod and say, "Yep, been there!" And here's the kicker – we're not stopping at stories. 


Get ready for practical advice you can actually use to supercharge your own friendships.


By the end of each episode, you won't just be nodding at the familiar stories – you'll be all set to take action and nurture those meaningful friendships.


Eager to uncover what it truly takes to cultivate connections through life's twists and turns? Come join the Friendship IRL community – let's explore the path to more authentic friendships together.


Take the conversation beyond the podcast! Follow Alex on Instagram (@itsalexalexander) or Tiktok (@itsalexalexander), or send her a voice message directly with all your friendship thoughts, problems, and triumphs by heading to AlexAlex.chat and hitting record. New episodes release weekly on Thursdays. 

84 Episodes
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I just want to make friends who are in the same stage of life as me.In this business, I hear some of the same phrases over and over, and this is one of them. I love that goal, and it’s a big part of what I talk about on the podcast. But recently, I’ve also noticed a trend in which people are seeking friends who are in DIFFERENT life stages.So that’s what I’m talking about today. Why would you want friends in different life stages than you? And more importantly, how do you make and maintain fr...
One thing I always say is creating a community is the ultimate self-care.In today’s episode, we dive deep into this idea with my good friend Jenny Dreizen, who is the co-founder of the Fresh Starts Registry, which I’m a huge supporter of. The Fresh Starts Registry is a registry for all of life’s new beginnings, from divorces to graduations, big moves to scary diagnoses. (Sound familiar? I also talked with Jenny’s sister and co-founder Olivia in Episode 68!)Jenny is the perfect friend for...
If you’re having a bad day, try bragging about a friend. Talk about that thing they did and why they’re so great – it will turn your whole day around.Today I’m bragging about my new friend Anna Goldfarb, author of Modern Friendships, which is about the nuances of adult friendships. Anna is a journalist whose reporting has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Vox. Her book is absolutely amazing.You’ll find we have lots of overlap in the ways we think about frie...
How do we balance community and independence?This question is posed by today’s guest, Donna Fields, who, twenty years ago, moved to Spain, and experienced culture shock, going from the United States – an individualistic society – to one that was collectivist and communal. Donna is an author, professor, teacher, trainer, and host of the podcast Doorways to Learning with Donna. Here, she asks: what do we look for when we leave one place and go to another? For her, it was family and communi...
Think about your closest friends. Have you ever felt yourself saying, maybe I just don’t know them anymore? Or, why is it so hard for us to get together? Here’s a question I’m posing for today’s episode: instead of trying to maintain friendships at their “peaks,” what if we allowed these friendships to breathe in their new forms?Today’s guest is Joseph Suttner, who I met a year ago while on New Day Northwest, a morning TV show here in Seattle. In this episode, Joseph and I talk in-depth ...
I’ve been paying more attention to my self talk lately, particularly my negative self talk.It’s so easy to berate ourselves and give ourselves labels about our interactions. I’m a bad friend. I’m awkward. I’m terrible at small talk. I’m not good at showing up. But what if instead of saying, I’m awkward, we say, that interaction was awkward, and look at the situation objectively? It’s easier said than done! The important thing is to notice the negative self talk when it happens and try to shif...
Today’s topic is female friendship, and to be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed by the responsibility.I hear your stories about the intensity, cattiness, and drama of female friendships, but to tell you the truth, it’s been a long time since my friendships involved those extreme experiences. Due to my life’s circumstances, I had to approach friendship differently. Friends are my support system, and I will do all I can – even if it’s uncomfortable – to risk losing a friendship.Which is why I’m ...
Today’s episode is all about holding space – and it’s a poignant reminder of the importance of friendship and how it can profoundly affect our lives, even after a friend has passed away.Michelle Cecil is here to vulnerably share her story about her friendship with Erica.Michelle and Erica’s friendship blossomed in their youth and grew stronger as they navigated the ups and downs of adulthood. Their relationship faced the ultimate test when Erica was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. Th...
How much Vitamin J are you getting in your life?In today’s episode, we’re talking with Dr. Zarya Rubin, a Harvard educated functional medicine physician, and one of the questions she often asks patients is about whether they’re experiencing enough joy and connection.Though there’s a societal push for more exercise and more kale, connection is actually one of the MOST important things you can do for your physiological health. According to a documentary we both love – Live to 100: Secrets of th...
Sometimes to feel closer to our friends there’s this pressure to share our most vulnerable feelings or unearth some deep, dark secret. But what if I told you there are more ways to feel connected to our friends that are actually simpler, easier, and more common? That in fact, there are DOZENS of ways we’re trying to open up to each other, but because they’re not “big” shares, they’re often overlooked?I believe we are all missing out on small moments of connection with our friends, and in...
How much time do you spend with the people who matter to you most?This could be your partner, your kids, your family, your friends, your community. The answer will probably vary depending on your season of life.This episode features Katrina McGhee, a career break coach and author of Taking a Career Break for Dummies. Katrina was inspired by her own 20-month career break that involved traveling the world and spending more time with friends and family.This conversation is such a delight. Commun...
In this episode, we cover something I’ve been DYING to talk about: friendship in virtual reality. When you put on the headset and enter the VR world, what’s it like?Today’s guest, Wesley Stroupe, is a Friendship IRL podcast listener who recently moved to a small town. Wesley is a self-described anxious person, but especially after the pandemic, he knew community and connection were important in making this new place his home.He found these things in both conventional and unconventional places...
Never underestimate the power of the simple things, especially when it comes to friendship.I love that we tackle the big topics on this podcast, but there’s a special place in my heart for episodes like this one. Today’s guest is Dr. Zahara Williams, who is a therapist, speaker and author of the After Betrayal workbook. Here, we talk about an amazing group of friends she’s remained close with for years, even after a major move away.Listening to this episode, I was reminded of how powerful the...
Do you want to teach your kids how to make and maintain friendships?I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: modeling is so important, but as today’s guest Pam Howard points out, what’s also crucial is checking in with your own friendship beliefs, particularly any fears or insecurities you have about friendship. That way, you can separate your experiences from theirs.Pam is a licensed clinical social worker, a former K-8 school counselor, and the mom of two teenage daughters. She’s a maste...
When the term “learned loneliness” came across my desk, it made my ears perk up. The idea of learned loneliness – that loneliness is now our new normal – resonates with me; I often find myself wanting to see people, but instead, I’m scrolling or turning on the TV. I used to think this was laziness, but now I think I’ve gotten comfortable being uncomfortable.Here are some stats to ponder: 35 percent of people feel socializing is less important than they found it to be before the pandemic....
Have you ever felt like a bad friend for not showing up for someone you care about?Or maybe you’re frustrated that you’re ALWAYS showing up for everyone but feel like nobody reciprocates; or, MAYBE you’re somebody who struggles to let people support you. If any of this resonates, this episode is for you.Today’s guest is Olivia Howell, co-founder and CEO of the Fresh Starts Registry, the first and only platform that offers a registry to help people begin again after a major life change. She’s ...
Many adults today say they weren’t taught to make and maintain friendships. I’m often asked how we might break this cycle and model something different for the next generation.What I keep coming back to is that we all need to start making small changes. What if we said hi to people walking by? What if we stayed off our phones while on the train or waiting in line? What if we allowed children to teach us how to put ourselves out thereToday’s guest is Annmarie Beatty, who is a therapeutic life ...
From happy hours to bottomless mimosa brunches, many friendships are held together by activities that involve alcohol.Consequently, these friendships are often affected when one party stops drinking. I personally have experienced some big friend group culture shifts when it comes to alcohol. In the beginning, alcohol was the norm, but it’s not anymore. Today’s guest is Hitha Palepu, the CEO of Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals and the author of How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip and We’re Speaking:...
How close do you live to your friends? Next door? Down the street? Or do many of your friends live on the other side of the country? Today’s guest, Jenna Myhre Deyle, actually made a cross-country trip in order to be closer to friends. Before the move, she’d been married, was climbing the corporate ladder, but after her divorce, she couldn’t shake a certain level of unhappiness. Linked in our show notes is an article that cites some amazing statistics – that a person is 8 percent ha...
Are low-maintenance friendships all they’re made out to be?So many of us are trying to live in this impossible zone of wanting friendship to be little effort but not neglectful. The effort of staying in this bubble can make maintaining a friendship more difficult, and it also denies many of our inherent needs.Today I’m going to talk about why this mainstream current definition of “low maintenance” friendship is not serving us. How can we think about low maintenance friendship differently and ...
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