A sweet responsibility, not an opportunity. The journey to obtaining that jewel is of elegance and beauty. Their involvement might as well be the cure to get through tough times. When we are traversing through some rough patches, isolation is the first thing that comes to mind. The world and the people escape all of it. We delude ourselves into thinking everything will solve on its own. Heavily grasping onto that hope of ours, we forget that there are some people out there who can heal this hurting soul.
The proverb “Choose the friend before choosing the road” means that before we walk on the road to our lives, we should choose a companion. We, humans, are social beings by nature and thus are highly influenced by the people who we interact with. We often tend to forget but when it comes to the right gems, we need to be finicky. For they will add colour to your character, and depending on the choice you make, our colours will be mirrored. The right ones will create a butterfly effect. They can offer the companionship you need at your best and worst times.
Some people are just lucky enough to have those precious friends who have got your back despite the circumstances and situations they are in with no judgmental disguise. Though it may seem hard to believe, our closest friends can relieve stress, acceptance who we are, change our perspective for the better and provide the comfort and joy we need. The healthy relationship we have with our friends can aid in emotional intelligence which is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. The powerful cocktail of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin (the happyto-go) hormones helps in elevating the way we move on with our daily lives.
Building the right friendship will be one of the greatest investments of our time and energy. The evidence for social connections, social support, and meaningful relationships is significant. A landmark study by Holt-Lunstad at Brigham Young University deduced to a meta-analysis and found that having very few close friends around has shown improvement and positive responses for health outcomes. It has been closely linked to reduced depression and mortality based on a study confirmed by the University of Barcelona. Happiness and positive mental health have a network effect that is established through the interconnections of strong relationships.
Be it them or you, once we set out to seek friends that are far more meaningful, focus on committing to relationships. Be intentional about reaching out and making time for people. As we live in the era of technology where even small conversations cease to exist, when we sit down with others, put our devices away and spend quality time with them. Offer the care and compassion they need. And be sure to reciprocate, for friendship is a two-way investment and turn-takings is one of the fundamental norms in sustaining the relationship. Your own actions speak volumes, so we must make sure to relay that.
True empathy begins with a sense of curiosity. We have to be open-minded and need to be that ear to talk to, shoulder to lean on and nonjudgmental perspective to keep and embrace the similarities and differences in people. Invest the right way with the time and energy and it will pay off for both you and others. It is something that never outgrows over time.
Older adults especially, those who are “living a socially active life and prioritizing social goals are associated with higher late-life satisfaction.” No matter the age, background and status, close friendships encourage a heartening outlook in life thereby nourishing the mental aspect.
“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul”. It can ultimately boost our confidence, and self-esteem and overall have a beautiful impact on our personality. They are good for the heart and amplify the level of happiness, so don’t miss out on acquiring these valuable treasures. But when you go through this hunt, to be cautious is advised to avoid toxic relationships despite the shiny outlook as the end result will be feeling drained, stifled, anxious, and often unequal, ultimately degrading your self-worth.
Friendship, as John Evelyn said, is “the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.” It is a place of solace for many of us during times of difficulty and also a source of strength and celebration, so be it life’s big or small milestones, we should make an effort to celebrate with our loved ones.
Those who have more social integration- as measured by marital status, number of friends, and involvement with friends- had the biggest health boost. It is never too late to develop new friendships, for they may be waiting behind a stranger’s face. To reconnect with the old ones is also amazing, for they are golden antiques that can never be replaced. In the longer run, it is going to revert back to you with brighter outlook benefits. ‘A good friend is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.’