True happiness and well-being are the feelings I experience after talking to one of my best friends, share some laughter and maybe even some tears with them. We may go through our day without thinking about it but friends -other than our beloved significant others- to whom we confide our deepest thoughts, our secrets and all those hurtful moments that only them can help us get through are not only important socially but recent studies have found that are also beneficial to our health.
I don’t know if it is because I come from a culture of close proximity where we tend to do everything socially or maybe because I’m an extrovert who needs others to feel happy, but I do have the need of having friends. I don’t mean only of the deepest and closest kind, I believe that I’m the happiest when I can have meaningful or fun conversations with any type of friends on a regular basis.
This made me think of a comment someone posted on Facebook about a year ago: “Which are more important? The friends who you trust with all your thoughts or those that you see occasionally and have a light conversation with?” Back then I thought that both kinds were important but today I realized that all positive social interaction is crucial for me to feel like I’m balanced. I need to be out and about and I definitely need those conversations that prove that I’m not the only mother who second-guesses herself or the only woman who thinks her postpartum body is dreadful.
So which friends do I prefer to spend an afternoon with? All kinds! Let’s break them up into categories:
- There are the ones that one can call acquaintances who you see occasionally at an event or a park and with whom you have enjoyable conversations with.
- Also those that you see regularly and because of it you know them on a more personal level, yet not enough to really open up your heart and mind 100% with them.
- You can also call friends those who every time you see them say they are going to call, or visit, or invite you over to their house and just never happens. I guess we can add the ones that you have to be the one inviting them to join you at an activity under this category. It really doesn’t matter, you enjoy talking to them when you do see them so it is OK if they don’t take the initiative to do things together.
- You find the ones who it doesn’t matter whether you see them often or not, or whether you just met them, you have a special bond, a sort of chemistry with them that compensates for not knowing the most intimate detail of their lives.
- You have those who you share a certain stage with, such as college, but that afterward you don’t seem to have much of a connection with. Still you enjoy their company when you see each other even if your conversation flows around past adventures.
- Then there are the ones that you call for practical advice like “how did you make those muffins again?”.
- Or those who you invite out when you want to party and have a blast.
- Of course we cannot forget the people who used to be our friends (BFF’s even) but after the “friend break-up” you never see again and yet they still live in your heart. Even though they are no longer part of your weekly activities, you never forget the great times you had with them, and how could you forget if every now and then you find a photo of them in your albums?
- And lastly, there are those who you can be YOU with no censure around. The ones that don’t get scare when you cry, when you are mad at the world, when you just want to pour all of your hearts contents. They are definitely the first ones you would choose to bring in a great adventure but also the ones you never hesitate to call when you don’t want to fake a smile or be politically correct about everything that comes out of your mouth.
No matter how many friends you have in each category, it is important to have a good number of all of them so when you get in line to life’s buffet, you have a variety of connections that would make you feel better and happy at the end of every day. Like the title says: Happiness is only real when is shared.