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How to Make Friends as an Adult - and Why It's Important

Why you need friends

Friendship helps protect the brain and body from stress, anxiety and depression. Being around trusted others, in essence, signals safety and security,

Research suggests that you only need between four and five close pals. Close friends should be someone you can talk to, someone you can depend upon and someone you can enjoy.

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How to Make Friends as an Adult - and Why It's Important

How to Make Friends as an Adult - and Why It's Important

https://time.com/5159867/adult-friendships-loneliness/

time.com

3

Key Ideas

Why you need friends

Friendship helps protect the brain and body from stress, anxiety and depression. Being around trusted others, in essence, signals safety and security,

Research suggests that you only need between four and five close pals. Close friends should be someone you can talk to, someone you can depend upon and someone you can enjoy.

Finding friends

Friendships are always about common passions. Whatever you’re into, someone else is too. Let your passion guide you toward people. Volunteer, for example, take a new course or join a committee at your local religious center. If you like yoga, start going to classes regularly.

Once you meet a potential future friend, invite them to do something. You have to put yourself out there.

It takes time

The process takes time, and you may experience false starts. Not everyone will want to put in the effort necessary to be a good friend.

Which is reason enough to nurture the friendships you already have–even those than span many miles. Start by scheduling a weekly phone call. 

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Be opportunistic

Learn to notice opportunities for potential friends. 
We let many friendship opportunities pass us by because we feel awkward or too shy. Instead of small talk, invite them for coffe...

Make yourself vulnerable

We have to put our fears aside that someone might not like us or may have too many friends already.

If you like someone you meet, ask to swap numbers and follow through with an invitation to socialize.

Start by doing an activity together

Suggest an activity that you can do together. It will anchor your time together and give you something to focus on or talk about.

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The importance of friends

Having a weak circle of friends carries the same risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Researchers suggest that the core factors in a happy life are the number of friends, the closeness of f...

Reconnect with old friends

You have probably met a large number of friends through just a handful of people. Those are your superconnectors. Rekindle those friendships and ask them if there is anyone you should meet.

Connecting to people

Don’t be interesting. Be interested.

  • Listen to people and ask them to tell you more. 
  • When they mention something you have in common, point it out.
  • Be enthusiastic and encouraging.

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A Friend Indeed
A Friend Indeed

According to a report in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, an acquaintance has a chance of being your friend after about 50 hours of shared activity or discussions. A frien...

Benefits of Friendships

Long-lasting, high-quality friendships lower the chance of chronic illnesses, and mortality rates. They boost one’s happiness and can also be a buffer towards anxiety, stress and even depression.

One can consider looking back and reconnect with a lost but cherished friend for emotional support or to relive the long-forgotten times.

Considering Reviving A Friendship
  • We need to ask ourselves if a certain friendship is even worth resuscitating, or if one of us has moved on to such an extent that we really don’t recognize the person any more.
  • The circumstances of growing apart also matter. If it was betrayal or a falling out, the process of getting back may require reconciliation and may not be easy.
  • People evolve due to the various life events that happen in the course of their lives, like medical issues, marriage, children or a divorce. It’s important to keep one’s guard up, as the person that one gets to meet after years might be a complete stranger in some ways.

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The antidote to loneliness
The antidote to loneliness

When people were forced into social isolation, a light was also shining on another crisis - loneliness.

The antidote to loneliness is accessible to all of us: friendship. The shared global ...

Friendship

Science shows friendship is critical for our happiness, health, and longevity.

* In the 1970s and 1980s, some epidemiologists and sociologists showed that socially isolated individuals over age 66 had a 30 percent increased risk of early mortality.

* Studies reveal that social connection improves cardiovascular functioning, reduces susceptibility to inflammation and viral disease, sharpens cognition, reduces depression, lowers stress, and even slows biological aging.

Definition of friendship

Friendship requires at least three things: It should be long-lasting, positive, and cooperative. Friendship nearly always includes a willingness to help, especially in times of crisis.

In short, friendship is creating bonded groups that act as a buffer against life's stresses.

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Focus on Being Open

Don't worry about being rejected, or that you might not be fun enough.  

Be open and inviting.

Make a List

Make a list of people that you would like to get to know better.

Consider extending an invitation and see what happens.

Put It On the Calendar

Decide when you are going to ask someone to do something together.

Schedule these initial contacts to ensure that you won't keep putting it off.

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The need for close friendships

We are social beings and we need to create intimacy with other people, for the well-being of our body, mind, and heart.

Close friendships regulate ...

Defining closeness
Close friendships need intimacy and reciprocation to exist.
  • Intimacy means being able to be fully yourself and be seen and understood by others.
  • Reciprocation means that both people feel they are seen and understood by the other person. 

“We think about relationships as things that happen to us, but the truth is that we make them happen.”

“We think about relationships as things that happen to us, but the truth is that we make them happen.”

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Be a regular

The best way to have friends is to interact with the same person regularly.

Look for activities where the same core people show up. Keep showing up yourself. 

Talk about yourself

Share some details of your life more freely so that your conversation partner doesn't have to interrogate you. If you feel uncomfortable talking too much, give yourself permission to stretch and grow.

Be the conversation starter

Most people are secretly scared of getting rejected.  Assume that people like you and act in kind.

Don't wait for them to start a conversation. Say "hello." They might be relieved you took the initiative.

Friendships are unique relationships

Unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into friendships. And unlike other voluntary bonds, like marriages and romantic relationships, they lack a formal structure. 

You w...

3 Expectations of friends

There are three expectations of a close friend that people describe and value across the entire life course.

  • Somebody to talk to
  • Someone to depend on
  • Someone to enjoy

The beautiful, special thing about friendship is that friends are friends because they want to be, that they choose each other and can choose to get in, and can choose to get out.

Friendships
  • In childhood, friends are mostly other kids who are fun to play with
  • In adolescence, there’s a lot more self-disclosure and support between friends, but adolescents are still discovering their identity, and learning what it means to be intimate. 
  • During young adulthood, friendships become more complex and meaningful. They're more likely to seek out friends who share their values on the important things.
  • The middle-aged persons define friendship as “being there” for each other but reported that they rarely had time to spend with their most valued friends, whether because of circumstances or through the age-old problem of good intentions and bad follow-through.

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Nostalgia is overrated

If you start every conversation with, “Hey, remember that time when… ?” you and your friend will die of boredom.

You need new things, new memories, rather than using nostalgia as t...

It’s good to have “your thing”

People get busy and life has dramatic ups and downs, but if you watch Drag Race every Friday together or bake Betty Crocker cookies every month, you have something to anchor you through the chaos of life.

“Best friend” is a tier, not a person

Friendship is not a monogamous relationship; there is room for more than one. When you’ve known someone for years, try to be confident in the bond you’ve got. 

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Essential for our survival

Friendships need to be carefully acquired to avoid negative influences. Friendships need a continuous effort that can be difficult to manage. They will go through ups and downs and will be subject ...

Advantages of friendships

Friendships create diversity. Your chances of dealing with certain problems are increased if you have friends with different skillsets.

  • For instance, the death of a partner. Your survival is dependent on having close friends who can support you through difficult times.
  • Friends with different interests, strengths, and weaknesses provide a safe space to help us test our ideas and develop our character.
  • Friends with different talents can help us realize our own potential.
  • Our life expectancy increases with a network of reliable friends.
A key component of success

If friendship becomes another checkbox on your to-do list, you're probably going to miss out on good friendships.

If we put in some effort into learning how to become a good friend, the rest will come easier. With friendships, we live longer, with more laughter, less fear, and a higher quality of life.