FRIENDSHIP. THE IMPORTANCE.
I have been living in China for the past 3 years, and yes, I have friends and acquaintances but one fact about being at your 20’s is that you know already who is who and is not that easy to make best friends again -not as easy as it was at university or high school- and you just miss THAT people.
Many things have happened since I arrived in Asia, but one of my toughest times was back in 2016 when I was heartbroken, broke and almost bankrupt trying my first company/brand. Everything happened on a sudden and I really thought I would never ever smile again. But I traveled and I experienced and then, as Carrie Bradshaw said: “when something was really, really funny, I laughed”.
I laugh in every country. I laugh in Amsterdam with Ricky after almost having a stroke for eating too many sweets. I laugh in LA at 3am with Chi talking about how right is Susan Miller. I laugh in Hong Kong with my girls trying to say sugar daddy in Greek. And I laugh in every facetime conversation with my mom and all my besties around the world.
But the episode I remember the most was the first time I cried AND laugh at the same time in public. It was pathetic, relieving and happy at the same time. Was my Canadian friend Leygh fault. We were having brunch at my favorite place in Central Hong Kong that Saturday and I remember clearly he did not like the city at all. If you have been or read about Hong Kong you know everything is packed, charming and stressful at the same time. So you like it or you don’t. He honestly did not.
I remember that day he told me he will not come back, at least not Hong Kong or China. But this year, he did. He was this time heartbroken, just like I was that morning 2 years ago. It made me think so much about how life turns around from black to white and once again we have true friends, we have to experience, we have trips and we have to laugh.
Psychology has many studies about the role of friends in our lives since long time ago and whether we realize it or not, friends are a good, healthy pill in our lives at any stage of it. They shape a part of who we are and we are even the product of the friends who are no longer our friends. That’s a really weird fact we all experience.
There is a time for support, and there is a time for tough love. And life is going to turn around at any point so we do need friends and we must be them.
A hard truth is that we have to prune our friendship tree as we get older to be sure that we give enough attention to the ones who will really matter for our well-being. Because friends know us so well, they are able to see things that we can’t and aren’t afraid to share their dose of reality with us. But many can be also harmful, bad and destructive. Reality is, the ones who care about you have a perspective on your behavior, your life and your goals that no one else can completely see.
You get busy with work. Your friends get busy with work. People get married. Have kids. And pretty soon being “close” means a text message twice a year. You’re not alone. Or, actually, the whole point of this is you really may be alone. But you’re not alone in being alone. These days we’re all alone together. In 1985 most people said they had 3 close friends.
Not having enough friends or having a weak social circle is the same risk factor as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Maybe your grandparents lived to 100 and you take good care of yourself. You’re healthy. But if you want those years to be full of good stories and good things, you need to invest in friendship. 70% of your happiness comes from relationships.
One of the greatest things about having strong friendships is being able to share everything. Your friends are the ones to whom you tell things you wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else, your greatest fears and biggest mistakes. Being able to share these intimate details about our lives helps to normalize our system, refresh your thoughts and see things in different ways.
All in all, the importance of having best friends is crucial for your mental health. We need to talk to our friends and we want to listen when our friends want to talk to us. This can keep you grounded and can help you get things in perspective. It is worth putting effort into maintaining friendships. Friends form one of the foundations of your ability to cope with the problems that life throws at us.
Life goes on and everyone has their own thing to do. Sure, picking up where you left off may be easy for you, but it’s just as easy to completely lose contact. It takes effort, especially when there’s a lot of physical distance. Honestly, to maintain a good friendship is a daily duty -hard for people far from home, like me- but this is the key that makes both sides to work. Just like a tree.
Today, think about it and reach out to your good friends and tell them how much they mean to you. I know this is not something we’re accustomed to doing. But it’ll make you feel great, it’ll make them feel great and it will strengthen the bond between you. Be more giving to the friends you already have. People in romantic relationships always celebrate anniversaries, yet you might have a friend for 15 years and you’ve probably never gone out to dinner and raised a glass to that.
We need to cherish our friendships more and fill our relationships with gratitude more often because life is one and it doesn’t stop for anybody.