What is friendship, and why do we need it? How many friends is enough? Are all friends the same?
People have different views on what friendship should be. I like to think that my friendships are based on the fact they like me as a person, and I like them. I guess it’s about honesty, trust, humour, respect, and similar morals and values. Some friends are like my family.
Friendships are a huge part of development in children and as parents we all want our kids to have a good friendship group as it helps the child with life skills and development. It can help with communication and listening skills, social interaction and resolution and it’s fun. That is after all what we want for our kids, to develop into happy healthy adults.
Friendships during adolescence are just as important. At this point it feels as though parents can become quite obsolete and your child will listen much more readily to their peers that they do to you. My daughter who is 16 has a few friends and is drawn to others who are similar to her. My son, who is 15 has a lot of friends in different friendship groups.
A lot of research is done into friendships of children and adolescents, but not so much for adults. Why is this? Do the researchers expect us to already have our friendships all worked out?
I think it’s just as important to understand friendships at all ages. Research says that if we are sociable as adults we will live longer. Lonely people are more likely to suffer mental illness due to isolation and they are more likely to die younger. It also states that loneliness has been shown to weaken our immune system. Who wants to be lonely – no-one, surely.
It is clear then, that we need good friends in our lives for many reasons. We choose to be with these people socially because they are fun, interesting, challenging (in a good way), inspirational and supportive.
I have a few friends that I really trust and that I chose to spend time with. I also have friends or maybe they are acquaintances that I may spend time with or talk to now and again. Do I have enough friends? I think so. And if I don’t how do I, as an adult meet new friends anyway?
I guess we find a new hobby, join a group such as a walking group or a book club, a yoga class or social networking. This is making me want to try a new activity!
How many of us will meet new friends this year? I hope we all have the friends we need, but if not then maybe it’s time to try something different.