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The relationship comfort zone
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All in an Ice cream Spoon
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The Tao of Relationships: Facing the inevitable
All in an Ice cream Spoon
Liso Donaldson tells us how a little distance can sometimes help to heal rocky female friendships...

The basis of a good friendship, according to Aristotle, relies on understanding that the traditional idea of friendship has three components: “Friends must enjoy each other's company, they must be useful to one another, and they must share a common commitment to the good.”

Drawing on Aristotle’s ideas, when it’s done right, friendship is caring without trying, and always gives validation and support - but sometimes in the process, boundary lines get blurred, feelings get hurt and friendships become damaged. Enter the stage, the Ice cream Spoon, a popular tool for coping in female friendships. But before making your BFF eat humble pie with one, you might want to take a closer look at the dynamics of the spoon and its effects.

Your female BFF just crossed the line of appropriateness around your fiancé

You've dealt with the situation as peacefully as you know how, which includes angrily sub-tweeting about it on Twitter for a whole weekend, but the residue from the incident still remains. Upon consultation with your other BFF you've decided to deal with said ‘problem’ friend with an Ice cream Spoon.

The unofficial definition of feeding someone with an ‘Ice cream Spoon’ loosely refers to keeping a person a certain distance from you, figuratively or otherwise. The woman doing the feeding is usually attempting to avoid any pain or conflict, by preventing the other person from entering her personal space.

When to apply the Ice cream Spoon Rule

Your BFF has hurt you deeply. You've forgiven and made peace, but the incident is far from forgotten. There may be reasons why you still have to see each other; this is when the Ice cream Spoon becomes an important managing tool. It's a way of dealing with a difficult person without getting your hands dirty.

In general, most women apply this friendship rule when the potential for others to be hurt is present. Flirtations that have gone awry, spilled secrets, and other broken trusts usually call for the Ice cream Spoon reaction. In general, this is a popular coping mechanism whenever there is trepidation regarding the consequences of a falling out.

How to apply the Ice cream Spoon concept

You still may be wondering exactly how this whole Ice cream spoon-feeding thing works. While the practice isn't meant to be cruel, how do you deal with a BFF without really dealing with her? One method involves socialising, but perhaps only in groups, instead of one-on-one. Maybe your Ice cream Spoon is a bit subtler: by sealing your lips on sensitive topics.

There are all sorts of ways to establish personal boundaries, especially after a disagreement. Nonetheless, the best Ice cream Spoons keep both parties from feeling uncomfortable in one another's presence.

Repercussions of the Ice cream Spoon tactic

Sometimes dealing with a female friend from a distance has its downfalls. If you're really attempting to repair a damaged friendship, standoffish-ness may prevent both parties from dealing with the real issue. Ice cream Spoons don't always affect the two BFFs in question. This kind of interaction can put a strain on others, especially in social groups. Tension often spreads when others pick up on bad vibes.

Sometimes the Ice cream Spoon has the potential to become the Non-Existing Spoon. You may spend so much time guarding yourself from that "toxic" friend that ultimately there's nothing left to feed with that spoon.

Benefits of the Ice cream Spoon

It must also be mentioned that the Ice cream Spoon method for dealing with conflict isn't always the worst thing. Sometimes time apart can help injured parties heal. Time and distance from difficult situations often provide the kind of wisdom that only occurs in retrospect. You might find that your friendship is strengthened by the time apart, and the newfound respect for boundaries.

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