Why Friendships Matter

11/13/17

Who would you hang out with right now, if all of your friends were available?

Friendship isn’t always like the movies- gossiping until late at night, spilling your “deepest, darkest” secrets, going to the ends of the earth for another person. It’s much more simple, and often less dramatic than that. Friendship is about getting along. It’s about enjoying the company of another person, and taking measures to preserve that company. Whether that means offering them another glass of wine or flying across the country to see them, all of us could do more to maintain the relationships that are important to us, whether we understand that importance or not.

While it is good to feel content while alone, our overall happiness often depends on other people. Good friendships are essential to a happy life, and some studies (such as Dan Buettner’s Blue Zone research) even suggest they are a leading factor in the preservation of life. Investing time and effort into nurturing our relationships might enhance the quality and duration of our lives.

So, who is it that you want to grab coffee with tomorrow, who is it that you miss the most? Visualize that person, then reflect on your relationship with them. When was the last time you saw each other? Did you actually listen to your friend when she updated you on her life? How’s she doing? Getting to know the people that we love can actually enlighten us about ourselves. Who we hang out with says a lot about who we are, so when you get to know your BFF, you get to know yourself.

Last weekend was Fordham’s Homecoming, and I was looking forward to it ever since graduation day. It was the first time I got to see my two roommates, and closest friends, after nearly 6 months. My third roommate lives in New York, so I get to see her quite often, but there’s nothing like having the four of us together. Olivia is hilarious and wild, Phoebe is loving and compassionate, Maddie is generous and kind. Going out to dinner, grabbing drinks, falling asleep in front of a Friends marathon- everything is more fun when it’s the four of us together. I learned that it doesn’t matter what we do as long as we’re all there and up for having a good time. I haven’t had that much fun in a while, and it reminded me why friendships are so important.

Friendships enrich our lives in ways we never asked for- they invite us to engage in conversation, learn new habits and ways of being, cultivate platonic love. It’s not hard to find a good friend; just focus on who actually matters to you each time you plan a get together, and give your attention to that person when you see them. Don’t worry about who you want to be seen with, worry about who you genuinely want to be with. It’s okay not to be friends with everyone or lose some people along the way as you nourish your most important relationships. A good friend doesn’t have to be perfect or even great, she just has to be the person you want to hang out with right now. Why not give her a call?

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