“Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.” ~ Frederich Nietzsche
Humans aren’t the only ones who have best friends. Many animals benefit from forming strong, platonic relationships because friendships and social bonds actually serve as a survival mechanism.
Case in point: Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Georgia, USA. Considering how animals of different species don’t always get along, there are exceptions. For 15 years, three brothers, an American black bear, an African lion and a Bengal tiger have lived together, in the same quarters. Not separated since cubs, they have always been a source of love and comfort to each other.
So… some (at least to me) interesting facts about friends and friendships:
A Harvard Medical School Nurses Health Study found that not having close confidants or friends was as detrimental to your health as being overweight or smoking.
A University of Oxford study indicated that each individual is only capable of maintaining a certain number of friendships at any given time. It found that the human limit for simultaneous friendships is around 150. However, those who maintain hundreds of friendships may do so at the expense of their closest relationships – those we turn to when we really need them.
Our friends truly bring out the best in us. In 2013, UCal – San Diego research found that people look more attractive in a group than they do individually. A simple reason to be with friends, right? (After publishing this post I’m off to hang with friends.) 🙂
And according to MSN researchers, in a lifetime one makes 396 friends – only 36 last – and only one in six are considered to be close friends.
How much time do you set aside to cultivate friendships? Are casual friendships as important to you as close friends? How do you nurture your closest friendships?
Friendships are relationships and they often go through testing times. There will always be ups and downs. Sometimes friends will let you down and sometimes you will let them down.
I miss my closest friends. They don’t live nearby. Acknowledging this, I am reminded of what brought us together in the first place and what will keep us as close as Leo, Shere Khan and Baloo (the lion, the tiger, and the bear):
- Make friendship a priority. When you do you empower yourself to say no to less important things in your life and elevate the value of friends in your life. It is always friendships that transcend the daily routine of life.
- Be honest. This is essential if you want to improve/keep your friendships – even when it may hurt. Your friends will respect you more, if they know that they can count on you to tell the truth.
- Take a road trip. Together! A simple getaway can bring a new level of connection to a friendship. Time away from the day-to-day will help you feel more relaxed, and the anticipation of the trip and memories afterwards – will give the experience additional meaning and value.