The Best Medicine Ever

Heartwarming thoughts about the value of friendship no matter what age!

We recently came across an article* that declared, “research shows the number of friends you have could determine how long you live.” And WOW, did that quote grab our attention!

Journalist Lydia Denworth: Friendship: The Evolution Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond says that “evidence has piled up to show that our relationships, including friendships, affect our health at a much deeper level, tweaking not just our psychology and motivation, but the function and structure of our organs and cells.”

The average American claims to have about four close friends, and the great majority of us have between two and six. Only 5% of those studied had more than eight, while 5% had no close friends.

Friendships, throughout the life cycle, are meaningful. In childhood, best friends teach each other important lessons about intimacy, honesty, and commitment. In adolescence, the peer group shapes teenage behavior, values and morality. Adult friendships, often patterned during teenage years, provide practical and emotional support. They’re very important.

It’s ironic. Husbands and wives don’t take each other’s advice — especially when it’s good counsel. Children never listen to their parents, and parents rarely listen to their children’s suggestions. But friends, freely chosen, listen to and seek out each other’s words, advice and support.

Ultimately, adults fulfill deep emotional and psychological needs in their friendships. They find a common language and vocabulary in these connections.

In their romantic involvements, men and women struggle to understand each other. Often, they feel lost, confused and misunderstood. But especially in same-sex friendships, men and women return to familiar ground — they come home. So much is understood intuitively and immediately in these relationships. It’s a welcome relief from the intricacies of romantic attachments.

While many adults do have close friends that may span many years (there is nothing quite like old friends!), it is important to develop new friendships, too. Of course this too can be a challenge.

Nurture friendships. The pick-up and delivery pace of family and everyday life leaves little time for quiet moments with friends. Despite this scarcity of time, it’s important for men and women to carve out space for these relationships. Cultivating and maintaining relationships takes work. This work nourishes and feeds the spirit!!! Get yourself out, and get involved – you’ll see the benefits are pretty special.


*Portions of article reprinted from: