A few thoughts on friendships and why now is a good time to think about who (and what) you want to keep in your life.
I find that I've become preoccupied by considering what is important to me for the last couple of weeks. Friendship is definitely one of them.
I think there's a seasonal element to this contemplation. Spring brings with it nature's new beginnings and can prompt us to want a fresh start too.
There are many articles and studies out there about how friendships change as we get older.
I particularly liked this article that discusses how and why friendships change over time. The reason it struck a chord with me is because it mentions a study that could predict the quality of a friendship based on how well two friends could play a word guessing game!
I got quite nostalgic when I read that bit. Bear with me while I slightly digress and explain why the word guessing game article caught my eye. ;)
A bit of context - that's me in the above photo. I'm the one on the right. This was taken about 40 years ago and we're still best friends. I feel extremely grateful to have this friendship, and a handful of other very good friendships, in my life.
Fast forward 15 or 20 years from the above picture and the two of us were sharing a house. We were never beaten at the word game they are referring to. I imagine (as the article also argues) we must have been quite annoying!
The article was certainly right about the correlation between a meaningful and long-lasting friendship and the word game success!
Another article I found looks at what different friendships are based on and how that impacts the type of friendship it is. It gives a checklist to go through to help you think about your own situation. If you're interested, the article is here.
Is it time for an emotional spring-clean?
At this time of year (I'm writing this in April), as well as considering a physical spring clean, it can also be a good time to have an emotional one.
You might like to ask yourself the following questions:
It's all too easy to let life happen to you. Let now be the time to think about if you're living the life you really want to be living.
You can't necessarily change everything in your life, but you can start to think about who you choose to spend time with, what you spend time doing and if they are the right people and activities for you.
The health benefits of having good friends
There is a very real health benefit to having good relationships in your life.
Longitudinal studies have found that good relationships are the most important indicator of your health in later life.
You might like to watch this TED talk by Robert Waldinger, the director of this Harvard study, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.
It's 12 minutes well spent and it might give you the encouragement you need to think about who and what are in your life and if you need to think about your own emotional spring-clean.
Need some pointers on how to make meaningful connections?
When I listened to the audio version of Ellen Hendriksen's 'How to Be Yourself" recently, I was introduced to another fascinating study.
It generated a lot of media attention at the time due to the list of questions used in the study. You'll realise why when you read the title of one of the articles based on the study - 'I asked a stranger these 36 questions to see if we'd fall in love. And we did.'.
In fact, despite what the title implies, it's not just about romantic friendships.
So on a lighter note, if you're hoping to find meaning in your relationships and you're in need of a few conversation-starters to take your friendships to the next level then you might like to start here. ;)
Have relationships always been difficult for you?
If this is the case, it's likely that you had some difficult or even abusive relationships in your past. If you'd like to find out about ways I can help you overcome the obstacles to building better relationships, get in touch or book in for a free Discovery Call.