Friendships are vital to health and happiness. Having friends can help reduce stress and contribute to health and well being. Without close friends, we battle loneliness and feel disconnected from the past. We often pine for the sense of connectedness we had as kids.
Given the excessive demands of work and family, we often have a challenging time cultivating friendships. Lots of things get in the way of maintaining friendships, especially the competitive nature of our society. But we should try diligently to resist these pressures. Studies have shown that people who have good friendships are more likely to survive heart attacks and less likely to develop cancer and serious infections. There also is a strong correlation between a lack of social relationships and high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity.
Here are some key questions I have about the state of friendships for adults in today’s world:
- How do we find time for friendship, given the demands of work and family?
- Why is it so hard to make friends after marriage and kids?
- What does it take to become best friends with our significant other?
- How can we become friends with our children?
- Are there significant differences between men and women on how we make and sustain friendships?
- How real are Facebook friends?
- How can we become friends with our parents or with our siblings?
- Are work friendships true friendships that are sustainable beyond the confines of work?
- Can we have a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex?
- When a friendship goes bad, what can we do to recover and restore the friendship?
- How can we reconnect with old friends and become friends once again?
- Can we become friends with ourselves?
I would appreciate you taking some time to share with me your answers to these questions. Or, better yet, use these as a conversation starter with your partner, parents, siblings, children, or your friends. Let me know how it goes. If you’d like to pick up the phone and talk to me about your thoughts on friendship, that would be great, too.