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The Healing Power of Friends

3 min read

Women thrive on connection, and research studies continue to show that we are happier and healthier when we share close connections with other women. Having strong social ties can boost your immune system and help you to live a longer, more fulfilling life. Not only that, researchers found that cultivating friendships can decrease the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as reduce the impact of stress and chronic pain.

However, when you reach middle age, it can be daunting. Probably the top reason why it’s difficult to make friends after your 40s is that by that point in their lives, most people have other commitments. As people marry and have children, they define and narrow their personal networks out of necessity. Also, as we mature, we become more discerning about our choices in friends and more protective of our time. At midlife, many women would prefer to spend time alone than make superficial chitchat or spend it with the wrong people.

What are the types of friends you need in life?

Embarking on friendships as an adult can be difficult. Nothing can replace the special connections you have with those who have known you over the years, but taking that leap of faith can reinvigorate and get the ball rolling.

According to Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, the three pillars of healthy friendships are connection, communication, and intimacy. In particular, there are three types of friendships: those based on utility, those based on pleasure or delight, and those grounded in virtue.

The “utility” friendship

For this type of friendship, Aristotle describes a relationship in which both people derive some benefit or usefulness from each other. They are “easily dissolved,” and shallow.

The “pleasure” friendship

The second types of friendships are all about pleasure. These are the people we are drawn to. There is an energy, a kinship, a feeling of arriving home. You value the same things. You have the same tastes.

The perfect friendship

It comes from a mutual admiration for each other’s character and virtue. There’s also generosity here because you aren’t trying to get anything out of it. All you want is to have a nice time together, share your lives, and be a shoulder for them to lean on. It’s based on goodness, and Aristotle even said it was almost like a romantic partnership. Because in the end, perfect friends, true friends, don’t come often in this life.

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It is important to evaluate, without judgment or shame, which categories your friendships fall into. Do those friendships of utility or pleasure blind us to the good in others or ourselves? Do they handicap our ability to be as good as we can be? Cultivating friendship might be seen as a difficult task, but, luckily, those few flourishing relationships will be rewarding.

How to make friends as an adult

There are numerous ways you can find friends. One key to friendship at any age is to find people who like to do similar things and who have similar values and circumstances. The best way to deal with this is to join clubs or activities that match your personality and interests such as fitness classes or even your local city council meetings.

As you go through different stages of life, it’s natural that your friendship groups change,- counsellor and author of the book ‘The Healing Power of Girlfriends‘, Deborah A. Olson, says.- Friends come into your life for a reason and a season, and even if a friendship has ended, you can still celebrate the role that friendship played in that time of your life.

One of the biggest reasons why people have a hard time making friends after 50 is because of the stigma attached to putting yourself out there after a certain age. However, instead of indulging those thoughts telling you that trying to meet new people makes you seem lonely or sad, remind yourself that millions of people are looking for the same thing and, in many cases, would be happy to find someone like you to spend time with.

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