You’ve Got to Have Friends

I found out what the secret of life is:  Friends.  Best friends.”    Ninny,  Fried Green Tomatoes

I was listening to an “On Point” radio show last week about the importance of friendship.  A 25 year old journalist, Julie Beck, was being interviewed after having her article  published in The Atlantic Magazine.   The show was talking about the importance of friendships at various stages of life, how important friends are as well as how to maintain friendships.

I have great friends…you know who you are.. and have often felt torn that I don’t spend more time with them (sorry).  When we were in our 20’s it seemed easy to pick up the phone, invite people over for an impromptu dinner or game night. Now all these things seem to need to be planned for a variety of reasons.  With a good friend I can share all the good and all the hard parts of my life.  I can pick up the phone or sit down and know that that person cares about what I am saying. Turns out friendship has been well researched and, no surprise, it is not just important for emotional reasons but for our physical health as well.

friendship-1419480-1280x960One study looked the influence of friendships on depression with 2000 high school students.  Kids who displayed signs of depression and developed friendships were twice as likely to have improvement in mood by the end of the year.

Come to find out, friends are actually good for our heart.  People who are socially isolated have a higher cardiovascular risk than those who don’t.  A Swedish study looked at 17000 people and found that those with fewer social contact where at 50% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.  So its not just about diet or genetics.

I think that one of the most important reasons that marriages work is the friendship that we share with our partner.  Michael Hyatt talks about this in “What really keeps a good marriage together”.  He breaks down what being friends with your mate means:

  • Respect.
  • Treat partner like your equal when your upbringing and your own selfish ways try to convince you otherwise.
  • Talk about how you feel and think about the good and bad of your life together
  • Risk conflict by being more honest than you are comfortable with because it builds intimacy into your marriage.
  • Plan and dream together because life is too complicated to just wing it.

Friends also impact the health choices we make.  An article in the Journal of social and Clinical Psychology looked at adolescents and how they associate healthier eating with family and snacking with friends. The kids in the study preferred foods of the group with which they most strongly identified.  So they tend to eat what they see their friends eat.   Good reason to provide healthier food options at school.

I guess they didn’t really have to prove to me the value of friendships. Because I know, without them, I would be lost.   So…. keep in touch.




One comment

  • Steve

    Way cool

    November 18, 2015

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