Why Your Friends are More Important than You Think

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.“  – John Lennon


John Lennon’s quote took on a whole new meaning to me recently. I have had Covid for over a week. It is not being sick that is upsetting, I have had mild symptoms, but it is my inability to “water” my friendships that has been the most painful. It’s the isolation.

So, what do we really need for a good life? As Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, Dr. Robert Waldinger was given the task of searching for an answer. This 85-year study started in 1938. The study found that the people who stayed healthiest and lived longest were the people who had the strongest connections to others. The warmth of these connections had a direct positive impact on their health and well-being.

Developing and strengthening relationships with others is a skill that has decreased in the general US population since the 1950s with the introduction of television. Studies have found that loneliness is as powerful a predictor of poor health as smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day, having high blood pressure, or being obese.

Attention is the most basic form of love. Giving our undivided attention is the most valuable thing we have to give each other. It is also the most difficult thing, these days, to give each other, because screens are so programmed to take us away from each other.

We need to take action and push ourselves to get out of our comfort zone and make friends.

You can make new friends and nurture existing relationships by:
  • Staying in touch with people with whom you’ve worked or taken classes.
  • Reconnecting with old friends.
  • Reaching out to people you’ve enjoyed chatting with at social gatherings.
  • Introducing yourself to neighbors.
  • Making time to connect with family members.

Every single day make it a habit to text a friend out of the blue.

Today’s Practice:

Water your friendships. Be kind, be a good listener show up, open up.

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