True friendships are golden. There is nothing like knowing you have friends that you can talk to about the good and the not so good things happening in your life. They provide joy and connection, relieve mental stress and prevent loneliness. Research shows that these kinds of friendships can have a bigger impact on your happiness and physical health than your romantic relationships.
Lack of social connection can be just as harmful as smoking, bad diet and drinking too much. We need the support structure of a ‘tribe’ to grow and be happy. When scientists studied the blue zones around the world where people lived beyond 100, one common recurring factor is they all value the community and friendships in their lives. Good friendships make us live longer!
With all this said, how do you know if you have a good set of friends around you?
They are genuinely interested in what you are up to. They ask you how you are doing and feeling
They don’t judge you on your choices and opinions
- They compliment you on your outfits and things you are doing
- They celebrate your wins and comfort you when you’re down
- They speak positively about you to others and don’t talk behind your back
- You feel comfortable sharing your inner thoughts and feelings with them
- You feel good after spending time with them
- You feel respected and supported
Remember having good friends also means that you need to be a good friend. Listening to each other and allowing the other to have their say is an important part of building trust and connection. Lifelong friends are a blessing and can be rare. It requires love and commitment just like any other relationship.
‘You’ll be too much for some people. Those people aren’t your people’
Unfortunately at some point in our lives we may be lacking in these kinds of friendships. Sometimes what feels like you’ve found your tribe may not end up that way. You may have met them at your new job, your children’s school events or they can even be family members or close friends. Similarities bring you together but as time moves on, things change. Judgement comes in and you feel misunderstood. How do you make the next move? Look at the above points about good friends. Are they being met? Surrounding yourself with negative people can be toxic. You can put up with so much until it starts to have an affect on you and your health. Some people just wont connect no matter how truthful, how clear and how loving you speak. The best thing to do is wish them well and move on.
“Surround yourself with my people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious’
How do you attract your tribe? Becoming more social is a good place to start. And I don’t mean using social media as your only source. We can easily rely on watching others for the feeling of being connected but its not real or long lasting. Sure you can make great friendships in FB groups and feel connected to like minded people but true friendship is more than that. A good friend can visit when your sick or hug you when you feel sad. You can laugh together over a cup of tea (or smoothie 😉) and celebrate an event face to face, not just in the virtual world.
Finding a social group that you can click with can mean attending events, joining an art class, a book club or visiting a regular cafe in your neighborhood. Even if you’re an introvert, finding a intimate network of people who have similar interests is beneficial. Above all, remember to focus on the way the friendship makes you feel. Look at the qualities of the person. Are they mostly happy? Generous with their kindness? A good listener? Are you able to be yourself with them and can you give back the same? This will help you find who fits best with you.
For further reading:
Yours in health,
(BHSc Nutritional Medicine)
This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog or in any linked materials.