Thursday, February 20, 2020

Friendship Is the Most Important Life Investment You Can Make

Here is why it makes all the difference.

Over the last several years, I’ve watched my mom amass a widespread group of friends. She has maintained close friendships from decades past, a handful of people with whom she has been closely connected for years. As well as, has welcomed new people in with the passage of time. She has formed quality connections with her neighbors, colleagues, friends of friends, has met people randomly while out dancing who have then gone on to become friends, you name it. She meets people all over the place, many of whom then go on to become friends. This is a skill of hers.
She has a way about her, of welcoming people into her home and life. A warm, bubbly demeanor that people tend to quite enjoy. A fun, high energy, generally joyous spirit.
Here is why friendship is quite possibly the most crucial life investment you can make, in terms of your time, energy, and heart.
Because when the chips are done, and when hard times befall you (as they do every single human being, at one time or another), those friends will rush in with open arms to help pick up the pieces.
Maybe not all of them, but at least some of those friends will.
And that, my friends, will make all the difference.
Whatever the challenge, heartbreak, or trauma might be. Whether going through a divorce, undertaking a home renovation, dealing with the death of someone you love dearly, or suffering a significant medical issue or injury. When these life hardships arise, on having chosen to focus on, invest in, build and maintain close friendships with a handful of people, this will make a monumental difference in how you get through the life challenge.
Because weathering stormy skies and treacherous waters are navigated far more smoothly, safely, as well as, with a sensation as if you aren’t in it alone, when you have some great friends there, ready to help, ready to catch you, ready to be there when you’re in need.
This, of course, is not the purpose of making and investing in friendship. So you have them there in waiting for when in need. The purpose of friendship is many, including and not limited to:
-To offer life insights, wisdom, and alternate ways of looking at the world your way
-To help elicit growth in you
-For emotional support in difficult times
-Someone to adventure with and enjoy life activities with
-To give loving honesty, even if it may be painful for you to hear, when it’s needed for your wellbeing
-Intellectual stimulation
Friendship is there to add so many riches to our life.
One of the things a great friend does though is to offer some degree of help when the chips are down.
Whether emotional support through conversation, their physical presence, helping you with something which you cannot manage or going out of their way for you in a way that showcases love and devotion.
If you have boatloads of money, though no friends, the hole will be noticed in your life during these hard times.
If you have a great car, a huge house, awesome clothes, and a plethora of people who think you are hot on Instagram, though no quality friends, you will notice it during life phases of heartbreak and hurt.
If you work hard and love your job, though don’t have any high-quality connections in your life, this will glare during trying times.
Thus, you must invest in great friendships. (Great friends worth investing in versus kind of lame friends? Here is how to tell the difference).
This is why people who, when in a romantic relationship and they pour all their time and energy into that, ditching friendships in the process, are making a grave error.
Romantic relationships are equally as wonderful as friendship (no, they aren’t better). They offer many similar benefits, joys, and emotional riches. They also offer a few that friendships do not (mainly, physical and sexual intimacy). It is a mistake, though, to forsake quality friendship connections for one romantic one. Why? Because these connections are of equal meaning and value.
We forget this, in our romantic relationship-oriented culture.
It is a fallacy though, that romance is better than friendship. High-quality friendships and a great romantic connection offer similar benefits and joys. A friend with whom you feel totally at home, with whom you can talk about anything and are able to share your soul, with whom you have great fun, and who you trust and are able to confide in? There isn’t much difference in that from a romance of similar measure (other than the sex part).
When my mom was undergoing an extremely challenging personal project in her life over the last year, numerous friends and loved ones from her life stepped in to assist, in wild and wonderful ways. They made all the difference. In many ways, they were game-changers.
This is why you must invest in friendships. Because facing the tough stuff of life when essentially alone is multitudes harder. Shouldering that burden solo is going to be a far heavier one.
When you meet or already have a person in your life whom you know is high quality?
That should be a top priority and investment in your life, in terms of putting in time, attention, energy, and heart, to building and maintaining that connection.
Especially because, there are many mediocre friends out there for the taking (who are fun to hang with, though without the substance to back it up in those bigger moments), and far less fantastic ones.
It will be one of the best investments you ever make. Find great, high-quality people to be friends with. And then make the building and keeping these connections one of the focal points of your life.
(Attracting great friends, of course, requires that you be a great friend in the process. Why? Because we tend to attract those like ourselves. Thus, if someone isn’t a person of much quality character, people of great character are generally going to stay away. You must be a fabulous friend to attract fabulous friends. Here’s an article I wrote on that very topic if you’d like to review).