What Are Friends For?
I recently heard an Oxford professor say the strongest indicator to a long life and well-being isn’t wealth or social standing but that it was the number and quality of your friendships.
You’ll find plenty of research to support the health benefits of having pals which can sometimes be more helpful than family.
It’s an amazing thought as you can choose your friendships but not who you are related to.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your friends is to put the work into being and staying friends.
How often have you seen yourself or others behave in ways that suggest we just don’t have time for friends?
I am not talking about social media Facebook friends but people you actually know and can or could see in person.
These old-fashioned friendships may have had a painful falling-out and some fall by the wayside, but we’re better off ensuring the number stays at least constant or grows.
There’s been talk we need a minister for loneliness, such as in the UK, to address the mental and physical health issues associated with the awful feeling of social isolation.
It might be better to call it the “ministry of friendship” and their job would be to focus and foster on building better links within society and community and make us all friendlier and more welcoming?
How would you answer their questions such as:
- How many good friends, as opposed to acquaintances, do you have?
- When did you last spend time alone with your best friend?
I’d be daunted to determine who was a good friend or a ‘bestie’. Even more so if that friend were asked the same question and didn’t list me.
However, the greatest joys of recent travels have been to catch up with old friends, and in one case catching up after 40 years, especially with the knowledge that it’s been good for my health, minus the beers we shared of course.
There are so many interesting questions in this area too:
- Can your spouse really be your best friend or would want to be described as such?
- Do women really have better friendships than men?
These are areas worth talking about, if for no other reason than stopping us taking friendships for granted and not giving them to requisite time, attention and yes love to grow further.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson