Friendships and Wellbeing

There’s been a lot written about friendship recently, mainly because of a study showing how poor children having friends who are wealthier than they are makes a huge difference in their future. They are exposed to ideas, to ways of life, to contacts, to opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise. They are therefore more likely to pursue an education and be more successful. It makes so much sense and  in retrospect we have all experienced, witnessed or observed,  what the researchers discovered. Still it was both surprising and reassuring. Perhaps it’s related to a developing trend  which is just as surprising and which didn’t receive as much coverage,  it is one finding that friendships are fundamentally more important to our overall wellbeing,  that what we call relationships, those that are more romantic and lead to a more traditional form of intimacy. When I was in my 20’s we used to say relationships come and go but friendships remain. It was a thought trying to console ourselves after a breakup with someone we thought would be our significant other. It turns out that more and more people are not only discovering but using the notion that friendships are more important than other relationships. Whether  people are in a committed relationship   or not, their friends nurture them and give them something unique.  That is because friendships give us something no other relationship can give us including inner strength and a sense of fulfillment. This is becoming increasingly evident as blogs, organizations, and websites emphasize the enduring benefits of friendship–Including it seems longevity.

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