Why should we pursue friendship?
Gretchen Rubin and Shasta Nelson* concur, that friendship contributes to happiness.
Friendship increases our odds of living a long life by 50%
It has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships – we have no blood or license to tie us, just an unspoken understanding that we like to be together.
When girls get together to talk, we release progesterone. This elevates mood, decreases stress, and leads to improved health
Elevated moods and decreased stress levels, make us more willing to promote the well-being of another person. It adds positivity and joy to our lives.
On the flip side of friendship
Low social interaction can be compared to smoking 15 cigarettes per day, being an alcoholic, or not exercising.
A lack of friendship is twice as dangerous as obesity. If the obesity then causes lower social interactions, it creates an unhealthy flushing spiral of having few social interaction, which makes us eat more, becoming more obese, which leads to fewer friends and more pounds, and so on.
A lack of friends is a risk factor for death.
In a study of 3000 nurses who all had breast cancer, the ones who had no friends were four times as likely to die from the disease than the women with at least ten friends. Why do you think this might be?
Because friendships have a way of giving us the will to fight for our toehold on this earth.
It says in Proverbs, that “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens the other.“ Just like we talked about last week, our Besties make us feel best about ourselves, even about our prognoses for our chances at life!
BFF – The friend through thick and thin.
Most times, we don’t feel like a friend can truly be a BEST friend until they have heard about or participated in some of our personal story. We believe it is our duty to be with our friends through their heartbreak and triumph. We expect or hope (at least) that they will be with us during ours. Crises bond us. Tears connect us in ways when mere words fall short.
Sometimes, the friends who saw us through the worst and best times, go away. Think of your doula, or labor and delivery nurse. When did you last invite her to coffee with you and the kid she delivered?
And yet, she saw you through one of the most important highs and the most difficult process of lows. She SHOULD be your friend, right? But others have taken your place in her delivery room. And you have moved on to other friends too.
The fact is, we will change 50% of our friends every seven years. We will say good-bye to old friends. We will say hello to new ones. Some of the ones we thought might always be there will disappoint us. Expect that.
Next week, we will talk about the five types of friends we all have, and that we all are. You don’t want to miss this because it will help you understand your friends, and be a better friend!
Who is your healthiest friend? The one who makes you laugh? The one who sets you straight? Check out my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ChrisMossMentor/ for another contest!
* Shasta Nelson’s Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends, and Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project have been my go-tos for this series. Before they sue me for stalking them, or–even worse–plagiarism, please click on the link and buy their books. Needless to say, when it comes to friendship, I heart them.