Do you remember when you use to have friends?
Many of us are stressed out with too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
As life gets busier, our social network often gets smaller and smaller. We barely have enough time for ourselves or our families, let alone staying connected with our true friends.
True friends are precious, but often we take them for granted. The saying goes that you can’t have too many friends. I disagree. Developing and maintaining good friendships takes effort. They require an investment of time. Friendships take time to grow, to build trust and to share common experiences.
When we get too busy, our friendships may devolved back into acquaintances and this can cause us to be sad, depressed and upset. Friendships do change as experience, distance and interests change and that is a reality of the lives that we live. Because of this, it is also important to take the time and make the effort to hold onto the friendships that mean the most to us.
According to an Australian study by the Centre for Aging Studies at Flinders University, those who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. They believe that this occurs because the companionship provided by friends may ward off depression, boost self-esteem, and provide support. Also, as people age, they may become more selective in their choice of friends, so they spend more time with people they like, which positively influences the person’s health.
People with social support from friends have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol. Why? The evolutionary argument maintains that humans are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to better health.
Unfortunately, according to “Social Isolation in America,” published in the American Sociological Review, we are forming fewer friendships than in the past. Over a nine year period, the number of Americans who felt they had someone with whom they could discuss important matters dropped by nearly one-third. The number of people who said they had no one they could discuss such matters with tripled to nearly 25%.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resiliency and Celebrating Make A Friend Day:
- First, take stock of the friends that you currently have. Do you have too few, just enough or too many to currently maintain?
- If you decide that you want to be more socially connected, make a list of the qualities that you cherish in a friend. Who have you had the best relationships with?
- Look for more people who have the characteristics that you are looking for. Where do these people hang out?
- Be open to starting a new friendship. They take time to develop and may start very slowly at first.
- Maintain the friendships that you already have. Plan a get together. Pick up the phone. Invest some time and effort into those friendships that you want to hang on to.
Over the years I have had many friendships go by the wayside. Thinking of these can still bring about a great degree of sadness. It makes the friendships that have endured the test of time even more precious. It takes a great deal of effort for us to get together, but when we do, the energy that I gain from those connections is invaluable. I’m so looking forward to our next girls weekend!
“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” ~ John Leonard
“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.” ~ Unknown
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!