The true value of friendship

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A lot has been said about friends and friendship over the years: “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” (Bernard Meltzer), “Friendship is accepting a person with all their qualities – good and bad,” (Mohanla) and “Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” (Ed Cunningham) But perhaps the words that come closest to the truth are those spoken by William Temple: “The greatest medicine is a true friend.”

His notion certainly seems to echo what William J. Chopik at the Department of Psychology, Michigan State University discovered when he set out to answer the question, “Is the link between close relationships and health and well‐being static across the lifespan, or are the benefits most evident in older adulthood, when concerns about physical health are greater?” After surveying 271 000 men and women in almost 100 countries, he found that as people grew older, their friendships played an increasingly greater role in determining their health and wellbeing.

With these findings in mind, here are three easy ways to nurture your most valuable friendships.

1. Put time and energy into them

It’s very easy in today’s technology-driven world to sit back and let Facebook and other social media platforms manage your friendships for you. But the truth is that no number of likes can exceed the importance of face-to-face time with a friend. So, make it a priority to spend time with your friends whether you decide to meet up for a walk, go out for a meal together or, if you’re a resident at an Evergreen Lifestyle Village, meet up for a cup of coffee or join a regular card game at your Lifestyle Centre.

2. Listen more than you speak

While friendships are definitely a two-way street, good friends understand the value of putting others first, so before you rush in and download your long list of news, take the time to listen instead – it’ll build a stronger connection.

3. Be open and honest

Honestly is always the best policy and even more so when it comes to your friendships as being honest with someone builds trust and trust is the foundation of all successful relationships. Just remember: When you’re being honest with friends, take a gentle approach – you don’t want to end up causing permanent damage to your friendship.