We all know we need friends. Good friends make everything better! There’s nothing like sharing a great big belly laugh with your bestie. After a rough day, just a short chat with your sweet friend can put you in a great mood.
If you’re like most Moms, you’ve unfortunately let your friendships slowly fade away. You’re just trying to survive and survival mode doesn’t allow anything extra into your life. You don’t have time or energy to meet your friends. At the end of a long grueling day, you just don’t feel like calling anyone. The most you have the energy for is scrolling through your feeds so you can at least get tidbits of what’s going on with your neglected friends.
I’m here with you. I don’t remember the last time I saw my college friends in person. I miss them so much but the thought of the effort it would take to simply arrange to get together is overwhelming.
If you feel like me, perhaps some of the suggestions below will remind you how important friendships really are. Sure, you already know that friends make you happier, but I’m guessing you may not have known that friends can actually make you healthier. True story! Read below, get inspired, and then PLEASE text your long-lost friend and make a date to get together! Even if you end up rescheduling it five times before it actually happens, it’s worth it!
Benefits of Friendships
Here are some benefits to friendships that you may not have known about.
1. They teach you about yourself. Most people tend to pick friends who are similar to themselves. When you spend time with your friends and discuss things that interest both of you, you get to know yourself better. For example, one of my friends has the same spiritual beliefs as me. Every time I talk to her, I feel invigorated and more connected to myself. Our interactions remind me that I’m a spiritual person and encourage me to do things that grow my spirituality.
2. They help you stick with good habits. Be careful who you choose for your friends, because friends help you develop your habits (both good and bad, so pick your friends wisely). Friends tend to naturally emulate each other, often without realizing it. If you have a friend with awesome habits, you may want to hang out more with her so the good habits rub off on you.
3. They give you life skills. One of my favorite things about my friends is how much I learn from them. If I don’t know how to organize my pantry, one of my friends is bound to know — or have the resources to point me in the right direction. Your friends can teach you so much about every aspect of life. The more friends you have, especially those who aren’t exactly like you, the more you will grow and learn.
4. They improve your overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic*, people with strong support from friends have a reduced risk of depression, which makes sense. But it may surprise you to learn that they also have a reduced risk of high blood pressure and an unhealthy Body Mass Index (among other health benefits). Having close friends actually makes you healthier!
6. They extend your life. Not only are you healthier if you have close friends, but you may even live longer. Study after study shows that people who have close friends tend to live longer. There are many different theories on why this is true, but the evidence doesn’t lie. If you’d like to read more about this, I recommend the book on Blue Zones, which are areas in the world where people tend to live the longest.
I had to include this one because it’s so important, yet also something you may not have thought of:
They help you learn to interact with everyone. Being a friend takes some skills. You need to be kind, empathetic, encouraging, a good communicator, etc. You may not even realize you’re developing these skills, but you are! Once you learn the skills you need for friendships, the skills bleed into every other part of your life. Interactions at work, even with people we don’t like, become easier and more natural.
Focus on a few good friends
Instead of focusing on developing lots of superficial friendships, I recommend that you focus on developing just a few good friends. Quality over quantity is key to friendships. It’s the close friendships that have the most impact and bring us the most joy in life.
Make the Time
I know you’re super busy and don’t want to spend the time and energy it takes to form friendships. But once you work on the relationship and form those close ties, you’ll be so glad you did.
Ease into it.
You don’t have to hire a babysitter and make a big commitment to get together with a friend. Find ways to make it easy so you can ease back into your friendships. You can meet over Skype (while sipping wine!). You can meet while you go for a walk. The key is to keep it simple. The easier you make it, the more likely you are to do it.
I’m looking forward to hearing about how you will re-focus on your friendships. Let me know some ideas in the comments below.