Working With A Buddy

Finding a Buddy

Think about what you want in a buddy—gender, age, relationships status, experience with IFS, with STJ, professional, etc.

Join a group that matches your interests. Send a post to that group asking for what you want and giving information about yourself.

When someone contacts you, exchanges emails, and then if it seems promising, have a phone conversation, to see how well you click. If you both feel positive about the connection, go ahead and start working with each other as buddies. Feel free to opt out at any point where it doesn’t feel like a good fit for you. If this happens, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the other person or with you. You just weren’t compatible.

Being a Buddy

The most important thing you can do for your Buddy is to be a good listener. We all need to have someone to talk with about our struggles and our goals. Be interested in what is going on with your Buddy. As you listen to them, let them know what you hear them saying. That is the most important gift you have to offer.

This is sometimes referred to as active listening. It entails feeding back to your buddy what she tells you she is experiencing, so she feels seen and understood. You can do this with the exact words your buddy used, or you can paraphrase. Strange as it may seem, it can sometimes be useful to reflect what a person says in exactly the words she uses. For example, if she says, “I am feeling tired and upset,” you say, “You are feeling tired and upset.” It can also be helpful to rephrase what your buddy says to reflect the meaning as you hear it. For example, suppose she says, “I am feeling tired and lonely. No one appreciates or understands me.” You might reflect, “You feel alone and unseen.” By paraphrasing you may bring out something that was implicit in what the explorer said that she didn’t consciously realize was there.

If you feel like giving advice to your buddy, check to see if he wants it before you give it. And most importantly, if you give advice and your buddy doesn’t seem receptive to it, don’t push. Let it go.

Working through Difficulties

Once you have found someone who seems like a good fit, go ahead and work together. However, remember that you still may have to talk to your buddy when something doesn’t seem to be working. Is your buddy giving you too much advice or not enough? Is he or she too quiet or too talkative? Don’t assume that if there are problems to work out, it means that something is wrong with your relationship. It is normal to have some issues to work out before you settle in to a comfortable working relationship.

Bring up the issues you need to talk about without blaming your buddy. Just say what isn’t working for you and why, and then make a request for how you want it to be different. Be open to hearing from your buddy about what they are willing to do and how they want things to be different, too.