“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali
Last night I had the privilege to join in a video call with five longtime friends. Six old friends from Peterborough in six different cities across North America. We hadn’t been together as a group in a very long time and the effect the call had on me was profound. Out of that experience this blog on Friendship was born.
One positive thing about going through what we are as a society is the time we all now have time to organize and prioritize. We get extremely busy with work, family responsibilities and the day to day hustle and bustle of life. Time is precious.
Now we have some extra time. This is a great opportunity to reach out to old friends and reconnect. Trust me, the reward will make you feel amazing.
“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” Woodrow Wilson
What are some benefits of friendships?
Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
- Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
- Help you cope with all of life’s traumas
- Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Friends also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah
Most importantly friends just help you feel better.
“A lack of friendships and social support increases the risk of developing an anxiety or depressive disorder,” says Dr. Janice Glover, (Ph.D., licensed psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado), “and one of the key treatment components for depression is helping individuals expand their social network and increase the amount of time they are spending with friends.” In fact, good friendships predict health and happiness as we age better than do our relationships with relatives, two studies from Michigan State University show.
Remember, it’s never too late to build new friendships or reconnect with old friends. Strengthening your friendships can pay off in better health and a brighter outlook for years to come.
There is no better time to reach out to friends to capture that outlook.
Thank you to my good friends who were on the call and to Gary Lawless for making the call happen.