By Jackie White
Long gone are the days when you would walk up to someone you don’t know and ask them if they want to play. Kids make it look easy. They meet a kid on the playground and within minutes they claim to be “best friends”. My son is one of these kids. He was always meeting a new best friend and when asked what his new best friend’s name was, he didn’t even know, or even care. He was happy to just have someone to play with. Those were the days.
Why is it so easy for kids to make friends and so impossible for adults? For some reason, even as adults, we turn back into timid teenagers and think things like we will look desperate or strange if we reach out to another person looking for friendship. Ok, so just for right now, let’s drop the teenage fears and look at the facts of why you should take time for yourself to get together with friends or work on making some new friends.
The Facts of Why Friendship Is So Important
Mental and Physical Health
Next to taking care of your body and mind through proper diet and exercise, an 80 year long Harvard study found that connections are the key to living a happier, healthier and longer life. Stress is often reduced when people engage in positive relationships. Also, when secure and reliable friendships have been established, a person’s brain health and memory recall are sharper.
Quality of Life
The quality of life is happier and more meaningful when a person has friendships. Through support, caring and positive conversation, friends can lift you up. Take these interactions up a notch and think about laughing with friends. During these times, cares seem to melt away and joy fills our hearts. These times are truly good for your soul.
Quality of Friendships Matter
There is an important distinction to remember when you are looking at your friendships, and that is the friendships you engage in must impact you positively. That might seem obvious, but sometimes we tolerate “friends” who bring us down or suck the energy out of us. These relationships do not enhance your quality of life. Eliminate or reduce these interactions and replace them with people who bring you up.
Loneliness is Toxic
The facts are that 3 in 5 Americans are lonely. To say it mildly, that’s a lot of people. That also means you are not alone if you feel that way. Those who are more isolated than they want to be are less happy leading to declines in physical and mental health. Circumstances that can be the culprit of loneliness are falling into busy-ness of life and not making time to spend with others or life stage timing that affects a person’s ability to connect with friends and/or make new friends.
How Do You Make a Friend as an Adult?
Now you can see the importance of friendships in your life. You are worth making the effort to surround yourself with people who enhance your life. The question that begs an answer now is how do you go about fostering or finding those friendships?
The first thing you have to get comfortable with is stepping out of your comfort zone. You will have to take some initiative to make new friends and it might be uncomfortable.
Ok, so now who do you ask?
Bottom line: Friendship is important. It impacts our lives in ways that we might not realize. Put yourself out there and benefit from spending time with friends. It will be time you will never regret.
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.