I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Brene Brown
Connection lifts you up. When I feel a strong connection with someone they encourage me to expand, they inspire me to grow, and they let me show my weaknesses without judgment. In a world where everyone has 1000 Facebook friends and every Instagram post can get hundreds of likes, some people fear the loss of true social connection.
It is now more important than ever to have true friends.
What is a True Friend?
There are old friends, the ones we share stories with. They may have been there the longest but that isn't the same as being a real friend. An old friend and a new friend have equal chances of being a true friend.
- True friends talk about ideas more than people.
- They discuss the future more than the past.
- They will tell you if there's spinach in your teeth.
- They celebrate with you.
- They listen.
- They can do nothing with you
- They know when to help you and when not to help you
- They like your spouse
- They encourage you to eat better and exercise in a balanced way
- They forgive you when you make a mistake
When you think about your friends remember even though 100 pennies= 4 quarters, it's better to the quarters where friendship is concerned
Who Are Your Five
You've probably heard that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Note, the most time not the best time. Think about your five. Are they who you want to be like? If not start editing. You can do this by reducing time with the downers and spending more time with the ones who lift you up. You can also seek out new friends.
I actually had an experience once where someone I met told me "I really like you but I have enough friends." Perhaps this was their truth or maybe they were doing the friendship equivalent to "It's not you, it's me."
What Science Says
People with true friends
- live longer
- have sharper minds and experience less dementia as they age
- have better immune systems
- increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- boost happiness and reduce stress
- increase self-confidence and self-esteem
- have overall better lifestyle habits
There seems to be no downside to social connection.
Try This to Foster Closeness
There is a study showing that answering a specific set of questions actually brings people closer together according to Aron, A., Melinat, E., Aron, E. N., Vallone, R. D., & Bator, R. J. (1997). The experimental generation of interpersonal closeness: A procedure and some preliminary findings. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(4), 363-377.
Click here to get a free download of the closeness questions.
Who would you call to share good news with? Why not share this with them to say "thank you for being a friend! You can do the closeness questions together too.