There is good research to support that having just one friend lessens the likelihood of depression in teenagers. I wish that all high school students knew this. So many times I hear teens struggling to climb the social ladder to be one of the “populars.” FaceBook has exaggerated the issue. It is all too easy for kids to compulsively check the status and number of “friends” others have scored for their personal page. Learning how to cultivate one genuine friend is the key regardless of a person's age. In my adult life I am still amazed at the value of friendship.
Adulthood friendships are harder to develop. It takes creativity to find a common interest. Potential friendships can be found in community groups, volunteerism, book clubs, task forces, religious organizations, and neighborhood gatherings. Once you establish a kinship with another adult you have to maintain the connection. That takes time.
A client once shared the story of her long term friendship with a group of women. They had met when their children were small, and kept contact through scheduled lunches, phone calls, and trips. They developed a book club to foster their time together once they were empty nesters. One of the running jokes they shared was a promise to come to the house to clean when one of the members died because none of their husbands would do a good enough job. Within hours of the premature death of one of the women’s sons, the doorbell rang. All the women were on the doorstep with cleaning supplies.
These are the friendships we need to develop in our lives. It is face time, not FaceBook that nurtures the type of friends that can survive loss and celebration.
Make a commitment to connect this week. Invest in the time to make the world a better place, one friend at a time.