During this busy time of year, I am reminded how important it is to stay connected to your friends. As we get older it becomes even more important to reach out and make an effort to stay in touch with friends. In a city like Los Angeles, where everything is so spread out and commuting 10 miles can take hours, maintaining a close relationship with friends can be a challenge. But there are other strategies you can incorporate to retain friendships. Pick up the phone and call someone. Make sure you have your friend’s e-mail addresses and use technology to contact friends either by e-mail, Skype or social media. Write cards and even letters. I love reading a letter or card. I text a lot with my friends because it is so immediate and I can get my questions answered instantly. Lunch is always a better bet for me than trying to schedule a dinner with friends unless my Husband and I have mutual friends and we make it a couple thing or a small group of friends. During warm weather months, we love to entertain friends with a dinner party or lunch and a hike.
Author and psychologist Carlin Flora’s book, Friendfluence, explores all aspects of friendship in a thoughtful and engaging way. In the book, she gives many reasons that friends are important to our lives. Here are a few of them that really stuck with me.
Friends affect you in more ways than you think
Whether you realize it or not, your friends have shaped who you are today. You are even the product of the friends who are no longer your friends.
Friends can give you vital life skills
There are many perks of friendship include sharpening your mind, making you generally happier, knowing yourself better, becoming inspired to reach your goals, advancing your career, helping you meet romantic partners, and living a longer and healthier life.
Close friends support you through thick and thin
To take the most advantage of friendfluence, put effort into your closest friendships. Although being friendly can get you more friends, you don’t need hundreds to help you through life. You may have to prune your friendship tree as you get older to be sure that you give enough attention to the ones who will really matter for your well-being.
Friends can give you a reality check
Because friends know us so well, they are able to see things that we can’t, and aren’t afraid to share their dose of reality with you.
Couple friendships can help your own relationship
You can benefit both from maintaining your separate friendships, but also from sharing with the couples who are experiencing transitions such as becoming parents, raising teenagers, and helping older family members. Friends can also help you alleviate your work-related stress.
Even though you may be stretched to the limit time-wise, the investment you make in your friendships will be worthwhile to your overall quality of life.