We look to our good friends for emotional support, fun and laughter and often, their undivided and nonjudgmental attention. Is it any wonder researchers have found that those people with close friendships often live longer and stay healthier?
There’s a bond between friends that can sometimes prove even more powerful than those we share with family. Close friendships often have the power to support and help us stay emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy. Studies done at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia found that people who have a strong support network of friends tend to live longer and stay healthier.
What Does It Take To Be A Good Friend?
Here are ten common components that tend to be found among “best” friends:
1. A good friend allows us to be ourselves.
2. There is an element of trust among friends that allows us to confide in one another.
3. Friends are nonjudgmental.
4. Friends are there for us in time of need and joy.
5. A true friend encourages our hopes and dreams and, believes in our greatness.
6. Friends can talk about anything without shame or blame.
7. A good friend is empathetic and sensitive to our feelings.
8. Friends make time to give us their undivided attention.
9. Good friends seem to have a positive effect on our health and optimistic outlook on life.
10. Friends enjoy having fun together!
Many psychologists believe that good and positive friendships are some of the most powerful relationships we have in our lives. Research done at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago Illinois found that women with close friendships were less likely to suffer from heart disease.
The Key to a Good Friendship Is Good Communication
Long-lasting friendships, as with all well-rounded relationships, take time and effort. Good and open communication is key to a solid, long-lasting friendship. There’s a saying that goes something like, “We pay attention to what pays attention to us.” Friendship means staying in touch and being sincerely interested in the other person. That often means making time for regular phone calls, emails and thoughtful remembrances on special occasions.
Good communication is also being aware of the trust factor. Unwavering trust and is vital to a long-lasting friendship. When asked what they liked and looked forward to when talking with their best friends most people replied, “They don’t judge me.” Friends listen to and respect the thoughts, feeling and opinions of the other person. Conversations with friends can often be the encouragement needed to allow us to dream big and go for our goals. Friends cherish their time together whether in person, email or by telephone. A true friendship can prove to be a powerful and richly rewarding win-win relationship.
Fast Fact from Rush University Medical Center: You get an extra boost from friendship when you share a laugh. Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins, much like exercise does.
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