Friends are what make life worth living. Friends are what make you a loving person. A friend is there for you when you need help – whether it be coming to your rescue when your health is ailing, or being a compassionate listener when your love is failing. A friend is there for you when you need to pour out your heart in anguish or share the new joy you’ve just discovered. A friend is someone you can trust with your deepest secrets and sorrows. A friend is someone who will encourage you to do your best, and help you over the hurdles when your worst is the only thing you’re capable of handling. A friend will love you on your bad hair days and will forgive you when you make a mistake. A friend will help you and will expect nothing in return (except that you be there when she needs help as well). A friend will accept you even if you are different and love the ways that you are alike.
Friends are fun. They can provide stress relief and make you laugh when you’re down and out. Knowing that someone is there can take the bite out of a boyfriend gone bad or a boss gone loco! Friends can boost your self-esteem and give you a much-needed shot of self-confidence. Friends can teach you about unconditional love and caring and sharing.
Studies have been done that show friendship is more than just sharing a laugh; it’s sharing a life and improving your natural health. The studies have shown that people who have more friends can cut their risk of death over a period of time by over 60%.
How can you make new friends? Especially in a new town or as you’re getting older? Or after big changes in life? Lend a hand to someone else and you will feel a little better, and maybe make a new friend. Take up a hobby and join a group of like-minded people. Volunteer to help out in a local stage production. Engage in personal conversations with one other person and get to know that person on an intimate level. We tend to congregate in groups to alleviate loneliness, but real happiness and connection come with discovering more about one person and deepening that relationship. Getting to know a lot about just a few people well, rather than a little about a whole bunch of people, will make for better friendships. Smile at people sincerely and look at them in the eye. Laugh and the world laughs with you.
Establish human, living friendships, not the kind of “friends” we make on Facebook. We need to make connections with living, breathing human beings. It’s the quality of true friendships that count, not the quantity or the number of relationships that will make you feel good about yourself and not isolated.
Life changes and friendships change. You might move to different parts of the world and have to keep up your friendship in emails and on Skype. Your friend might find a romantic partner and start doing “couple” things. Take pleasure in your friend’s new happiness. Times change, friendship endures.
And in these days of globetrotting and the Internet, make it a point to never let go. Friendship is one of the most important ways of maintaining your natural health. Nurture your friends whether near or far. Pick up the phone, send a card (real mail still exists!), or just turn around and say, “Thank you for being my friend. I love you.”