Q: I have a hard time knowing what to expect from a friendship I have. I've known the person for about 8 months, and we have some things in common (movies, bowling, football). Sometimes we do several things together in one month, and then we'll go for several weeks without any contact. I would like this person to become my "best friend", but he doesn't seem to want that. Should I jettison this relationship and keep looking for a best friend?

A: No. Not unless you never want to have any friends at all! A friend with whom you can share interests and hobbies, and who reciprocates on a fairly regular basis, is a treasure to cherish. One of the biggest problems we see in our private practice is when people have unrealistic fantasies about friendship--believing, for example, that "a good friend will always be there for you" (he can't be if he's healthy), or that "a good friend will meet all of my needs," or "a good friend must be from the same political party as me." Making and keeping friends is one of the most important skills that we learn as we grow up in our families, if we are lucky. If we weren't so lucky, then we have to learn these skills as adults.

Learning to keep good but imperfect friends is a crucial part of being an adult.