I read a report saying “people with strong friendships survive 7.5 years longer than those with weak or few social ties” 7.5 years??!! You have my attention.
I always took my friends for granted and didn’t realize that they could actually extend my life. At the same point, having bad friends could lessen my life? I figured if I can get an additional 7.5 years of life I better dig in and find out if I am on the right track.
First thing I did was a quick scan of my social media to get a feel for where I stood with current friends.
1. Old Friends
I noticed I had a big group of friends from growing up. These friends have many great memories and as I just returned from my 30 year school reunion, I was excited to say these friends are solid. We can go years without talking but within minutes can be caught up on life and laughing and cracking jokes like we just graduated. It was also interesting to see how these friends had matured and while I could sense some uneasiness at first, once they saw we weren’t there to judge each other but just being happy to be in each other’s presence and that special bond of growing up together, this type of friendship could easily increase one’s life.
2. Friends From Work
This group is diverse. Mainly, because we were just thrown together. But, there was a different atmosphere here. This group had positive and negative vibes. It seems there was a greater type of competition with these friends. It felt like the bonds were stronger because the stress was probably higher with some but the interesting thing is that with any job, one day it can be over and you never have a reason to get together with these people again. It can be sad with some friends, but on the other side it can be the most liberating day ever knowing you will never have to see some people ever again. I would have to be very careful with friends made at work. There would definitely have to be put in different groups and sub-groups.
3. Friends From Family
You would think these friends that you are related to should be the strongest bonds possible. But, you actually have to deal with these people on a fairly semi-annual (if not more) times a year. Again you don’t really get to choose these people as friends but have to learn how to deal with them. Some can be the strongest bonds on earth while others can be the most toxic friendship ever formed. I could easily see this wiping ten or more years off your life but if properly treated could extend your life. My advice is to remember this is a lifetime friendship so use extreme caution and always bring your “A” game with the family. You may have to set boundaries in these friendships but always remember that you will never have a stronger friendship than from family.
4. New Friends
This is a potpourri category, because these types of friends come from all over the place. New neighborhood, church, sports, clubs, politics, significant other, basically life. These friends can pop up any time any where and you have to decide how to handle each set. I would encourage taking the time and really understand how this set of friends is affecting your life. This is where you are going to have to decide which friends add to your life and which friends take away. Be mindful that most of these friends you are going to have to deal with on a regular basis and it is important that you are protecting you and preserving as much of your life as possible.
That is just a small list but what we have established is it is important to have good solid friends. The question is, what if I am lacking in the friend department? Where do I find these so called true friends? I am convinced that finding true friends is really just using the law of attraction. Simply put, the law of attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. Does that make sense? It says whatever, that is a very broad topic. If I want a true best friend(s), then that needs to be my focus. I truly believe that the best way to FOCUS on finding a true friend is developing those characteristics that you want in a best friend.
This might sound complex but if you will develop those things you want in your friend in yourself then you will attract that type of person into your life. You can’t be a horrible person and expect to attract an honorable friend. If you aren’t honest in your life then the law of attraction is going to bring liars and cheaters into your life.
In short, you need to make a list (yes, write it down on paper) of the qualities that you want in a friend. Then take the list and put it into practice. If you want a friend who is dependable then you need to be there at 4 am to help out someone in need. If you want a friend that is a good listener, you can’t be the one who dominates the conversation. I know they don’t teach this in school but you have to BE the type of friend you want to have in your life.
I know it might all sound difficult but then again, is it worth 7.5 extra years of life. I’m betting it is worth the investment. Hopefully, if you just want a friend that sends out an email and actually responds, give me a shot at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll be the one holding the 7.5 years or bust sign.