Psychological studies show that loneliness and isolation are more detrimental to our health than almost any physical deprivation. Babies who aren’t held and talked to enough simply fail to live. For those experiencing thoughts of suicide, it is often because the loneliness is so intense that they feel suicide is the only way: that absolutely no one can help them.
On the flip side, the healthier our social networks (not social media networks), the healthier our bodies. Scientists have even proven a connection between speedier injury healing time due to healthy relationships.
We need love triangles.
I’m being silly with my language here, but Gallup has shown that when our friends have friends, we are more well. Even better is when we have close friends who have close friends who are also our close friends.
Get it? A love triangle.
The bottom line is that the more social time we have, the more healthy we become. Ideally we should be getting about 6 hours a day through talking, social media interaction, emails, getting together, and other communication.
There’s a group of 8 other people that my husband and I are very close with. We vacation together; we celebrate holidays together (Friends Thanksgiving, etc.), help each other out, have fun together, etc. One of the ways we stay in touch is by emailing bad jokes throughout the week. There’ll be an email string of 32 emails during the day of us making fun of each other (with love) and then usually making plans to get together at some point. Whenever I see an email come through from one of them, it brightens my day (and then I wonder what kind of ridiculousness awaits me). We don’t all think alike, or have the same politics or religion. We challenge each other and argue. They’re my people, my tribe, however, and I need them in my life.
Find friendship wellness through these 6 questions.
Print these questions and take 20 minutes to honestly answer them.
- Who are my closest friends that I trust and care for, i.e. my inner circle?
- What are all the ways I could spend more time with them?
- How can I show or communicate with my friends that I care about them?
- How can I widen my inner circle? What is holding me back from letting others in?
- How could we integrate physical activity into our time together?