Twenty plus years ago I had a very close friend I’ll call Susan. Shortly after we met she invited me to lunch and I came right out and told her that while I knew a lot of people and had quite a few friends, I was really looking for a very close friend. Was she? In agreement, we then spent over five years talking, laughing, and sharing our lives. I felt closer to her than my own sisters. Then? She ghosted me. Of course, it wasn’t an immediate thing. I knew our circumstances had changes—that we had changed. The phone calls got shorter and fewer, and the times together dwindled. Sadly, it ended a slow death, and I never knew exactly why. I mourned that relationship for many years.
“The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” ~ George Vaillant
Those of us into simple living or minimalism knows that identifying and eliminating any thing superficial and nonessential in life is critical. In fact, the television show “Hoarders” illustrates weekly the extreme burden that too much stuff can bring to a person’s life. But I’ve just come to realize that there is something that actually should be hoarded—and that “thing” is a friend. Actually, an abundance of research now shows that finding, keeping and appreciating friends is good for our physical and mental health, good for our occupations, good for our creativity, will add years to our life, and enrich our experience in every way possible. If we are willing to accept that as true, then understanding the science of friendship is one of the most important actions each of us can take to create a life of happiness, meaning and purpose during our time here on earth. [Read more…]