Amy Rees Anderson

You too? Thought I was the only one.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis

So true! One would think that it becomes easier to make new friends as you become an adult because at that stage in life you are more comfortable in your own skin, and you have a better feel for who you are as a person. The problem is that when you finally get to that stage in life, your life is usually completely chaotic with marriage, raising children, working full time, serving in your community and your church, and a million other things which make it really hard to make time for existing friends, let alone having time to make new friends.

What if I told you that having more friends could literally save your life?  Would that make it worth making time and putting in effort to make new friends and strengthen existing ones? Well, guess what – it’s TRUE!  If you don’t believe me, check this out:

A study done at Brigham Young University reported that social connections to friends improves our odds of survival by 50 percent!  50%!!!  The same study showed that having too few friends (low social interaction) is the equivalent health risk to smoking 15 cigarettes per day, equivalent to being an alcoholic, more harmful than not exercising, and twice as harmful as obesity.  And this effect wasn’t just isolated to older adults, it was across all age groups.

When I read the study I was shocked to see how damaging it is to not have more friends in your life – Equal to being an alcoholic, smoking 15 cigarettes every day, and twice as harmful as obesity?!?!? WOW! I had no idea that a lack of friendships had such a negative impact on our physical health. But I guess if you really think about it that it makes sense:

“When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks.”  –  Holt-Lunstad

Today I was reminded of how rewarding it is to make new friends. I was able to sit down with someone I had known from various business settings, but today for the first time we were able to sit down and spend a little time talking and getting to know more about one another as people over lunch. We were able to learn more about each other’s lives and families and our similar trials and struggles we shared as businesswomen and mothers. It is amazing how spending a simple lunch talking can create an amazing bond of friendship. C.S. Lewis’s words really are true – friendship really does begin with the simple realization of “you too?” and finding out you’re not the only one.

Here’s to making new friends and valuing existing ones – have a great day everyone!

~Amy

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