Exploring why friends are an important part of our lives
The value of friendship
For most of us Family comes first and with it the demands on our time, the emotional ups and downs and the deep bonds that sustain us. Given how much we are consumed by our work and family obligations, do friendships take a backseat in our mindscape ? Or do we realize the intimacy, support, equality, and emotional bonds we can have in our friendships that can be unique? Those of us who are lucky enough to have forged close friendships can attest to the fact that they help us establish our tribes, safe spaces and feel more alive, while research proves that friendships are vitally important to our mental health and quality of life. Friendship is that unique companionship with another being that affords an opportunity to connect, to learn about ourselves, to mature as a human being, and to open up to the full experience of life. Simply put friends are a enormous lifeline.
Keeping the connections
Friendships change and evolve over the years. When we're very young, schools are where our first friendships start. Our adolescent count as being the most challenging years, when relationships between friends becomes very significant, a deeper, shared emotional connection almost to the exclusion of everything else. During the high school and college, friendships can feel like they are the focus of our lives because we are immersed in an environment of peers. Unfortunately, as adolescents, even though we are attuned to social signal connections we may not really understanding the long term value of friendships.
In adulthood, as people start to have jobs, get married, have a family, or be in relationships it can become harder to spend time with friends. Later, as life comes full circle and the demands of careers and jobs diminish, we are drawn back into the circle of our friendships. In a sense we can cycle through several longstanding friendships in the course of our life. But are we aligned and aware that friendships are a lifelong endeavor and that we should always strive to cultivate them at all junctures of our life?
The strength of friendships
Friendship like all other relationships is work. Friendships is as important to our well being as diet and exercise, and so it’s something to prioritize, keep up with consistently and work on, not just pick up every now and then. Deep friendships are the invisible bottomless bank deposit you can draw on whenever the need arises. But you have to do the work along the way. Friendships require effort but that’s kind of the good news because hanging out with your friends is fun, relaxing, a stress buster and mutually beneficial.
Lockdown and social distancing have been re-shaping our social networking. Now more than ever we have been drawn to and depending on our friendships. With diminishing emotional well-being reported as well as escalating stress and anxiety levels, technology has come to the rescue. Reaching out to one another virtually and being available on the phone, on zoom meets, has kept us linked, connected and empathetic to each other's situations. Limited though it is, technology has been a salvation, a boon during difficult, testing times,
Understanding the value of friendships, it is never too early to start reiterating this virtue. Parents should think about talking to their children about the significance of friendship and modeling being a good friend and prioritizing it. Speaking for myself, my life has been enriched by my friends who have stood by me through fun times and difficult times, laughed and cried with me, made me a better person, appreciated me, opened me eyes to so many new things, enriched my life, let me into their lives, been in my corner, propped me up, held up a mirror - I could go on forever. Hope all of you have been equally fortunate to have the richness of friendship pervade your Life and Senses. It's never too late to build new friendships or reconnect with old friends. Investing time in making friends and strengthening your friendships can enrich us in countless ways and brighter our horizon for years to come.
We are stronger together