This article on Thought Catalog got us thinking about the power of friends in our lives. We’re social beings, and research more and more shows how bad loneliness is for our health. Lonely people are more likely to have heart disease and stroke, have immune system problems, and may even have a harder time recovering from cancer. Whew. That’s a lot of power for our friends to have!
It’s not something those with a lot of friends may think about often, but…friends matter more than just to have someone to do things with. People who don’t feel they have enough friends or at least enough close, trusted friends can really feel that absence in their lives. Think about it: the article discussing loneliness says that nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone (46%) or left out (47%). That’s a lot of our friends and family and neighbors who may be hurting.
This quote from Judy Blume, whose books were formative for many in our adolescence, is meaningful.
“We are friends for life. When we’re together the years fall away. Isn’t that what matters? To have someone who can remember with you? To have someone who remembers how far you’ve come?”
You know that feeling when a friend recalls something you did together and you both giggle or smile (or roll your eyes) at the story? Or when you see a picture that reminds you of days gone by — happy or sad — that you spent with this person? That is the power of nostalgia.
For those who struggle with friendships, this is part of what they miss — not only the time making the memories, but the anticipation of those memories. And the joy of looking back later with dear friends and saying “Remember when…?”
For those who have many good friends or who have never really struggled with friendships, count yourselves lucky. Truly. And remember that not everyone out there is experiencing the world with the support of good friends or cherished memories like you have.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” No one seems to know who first said this and it’s probably because it rings so true for most of us. We’ve all fought some battle. For some, that battle may be not having felt the power of friendships.