Friendships that last the distance

Glenda Shaw with lifelong friend Glenys Rowe in England, 1980.

Arts graduate Glenda Shaw forged foundational friendships at Flinders.

Connecting through mutual classes or share housing, friendship expert Glenda Shaw (BA(Hons) ’77) established friendships during her time at Flinders University – nearly 50 years ago – that have lasted both time and distance.

Many of the friends Glenda made at university had moved to Adelaide from interstate and so the group provided each other with the trusted and supportive base they needed living away from their families.

She says, ‘We were there for each other. We shared houses, dresses, cars and new experiences.’

What stood out to Glenda was that she had many more things in common with the friends she made at university than with those she had known since childhood, whether these were interests, socio-political proclivities, or spirit of adventure.

‘That level of connection and bonding is really important for foundational friendships, as they give you a good metric to go by,’ says Glenda.


‘There is one Flinders friend in particular, Glenys Rowe, who has stayed the course. She invited me to stay with her in London a few years after we graduated, an action that launched my life outside Australia.’

From London, Glenda then moved to Santa Barbara in California and has since lived in California for much of her life.

‘Even though Glenys and I have lived on different continents, we’ve always remained supportive and positive about each other’s lives and careers throughout the decades.’


In moving countries and looking to make new friends, Glenda soon realised that it’s not about looking for good friends, it’s about becoming a better friend yourself, and the idea for her book Better You, Better Friends was born.

‘We can have a lot of judgement about people outside ourselves, but not a lot of introspection. I wanted to find out how I could be a better friend through more observation of my own behaviour.’

Glenda shares her advice for making new friends: ‘Spend time with people, be honest, and find people that you really connect with and understand.

‘At university, you start finding yourself and developing your skills in communication and understanding with the people you choose to spend time with. These are people that you know support your adventures, spirit, and what you’re doing.’

She says, ‘The like-minded people you go to university with now will be incredibly valuable moving forward in life, both socially and professionally.’

2022 Encounter magazine – Read more

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2022 Encounter magazine College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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