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When is the last time you had a genuine conversation with a close friend? Regardless of the content of your discussion, you felt better afterwards, right? And more importantly, it did indeed contribute to your overall level of happiness as well.
Made You Smile Back is pleased to discuss this ever-important quality of the value of friendship and how it affects our happiness. You will discover what friendship is really about, types of friendship, benefits of friendship, and how happiness plays an important role in our relationships.
What Exactly Does Friendship mean?
Friendship is the innate need for all mankind to feel a belonging or a connection to one another. According to Kendra Cherry, MS, it refers to a human emotional need to affiliate with and be accepted. But it’s a lot more than just that.
What everyone needs to know about the value of friendship is its strong correlation to our state of happiness and well-being. It’s a known fact after many studies, that friendship not only boosts our health, but our happiness as well. (To view a Harvard Case Study validating this, please check out this link.)
True friends are those who are there for you not just for the good times, but when times are not so good. True friends are reciprocal to one another and bring out the best of the best in each other. True friends demonstrate the real definition of being nonjudgmental and what unconditional love really means.
To help show what real friends truly are, please watch this video entitled, “What’s a Real Friend?” by Noticias Teocraticas © Published on Sept 27, 2013
Four Traits of True Friendship
- Reliability — Being reliable builds trust – your friends and loved ones know that they can count on you to keep your word, be there when you’ll say you’ll be, and do what you say you’ll do. Reliability also shows respect to each other.
- Listening & Being Nonjudgmental — Non–judgmental listening means listening to understand and put your own views and values aside and being careful not to criticize or judge the person who you are listening to. It means accepting them as a person and accepting the things that they are struggling with.
- Authenticity — Authenticity is about presence and staying true to yourself. Showing your ‘colors’ no matter what when you’re with your friends. An authentic person puts their friends around them at ease, in a comforting way and makes one feels as if they are at home.
- Trustworthy — The definition of trustworthy is someone who is honest who can be entrusted with your secrets and knowing they won’t be shared with anyone else. It’s also considered to be one of the most important traits of true friendship. You don’t need someone who is going to agree with you all the time. You need that special friend who you trust to be upfront and tell you what they really are thinking. To hear the advice they are sharing with you.
Friendships Throughout Life
Who remembers their first friends they ever made when younger?
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Childhood friends were the best, right? Childhood friendship is innocent, free from cares and it is unconditional. If you’re lucky enough, you may even have developed a lifelong friend sealed with a pinkie promise!
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Friendships are incredibly important during the formidable teen years, otherwise known as adolescence. Teen friendships help young people feel a sense of acceptance and belonging.
Moreover, teenage relationships with peers support the development of compassion, caring, and empathy. Furthermore, adolescent friendships are a big part of forming a sense of identity outside the family.
That said, teen friendships can also, unfortunately, have a dark side and teamed with friends who are simply ‘fake’. It’s important to be able to recognize the traits of toxic friends. Usually, one knows immediately simply for the mere fact that spending time with them doesn’t make you feel good. And remember, true friendship is one that promotes your happiness and well-being.
CAUTION – BE AWARE OF TOXIC FRIENDSHIPS – THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS – LEARN TO WALK AWAY. WATCH THIS 3 MINUTE VIDEO FROM ‘PSYCH TO GO’©
Friends from College can be lifetime friends
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Moving into our college years, and a little bit more mature from our high school days, (or we should be anyways). We don’t dwell on the friendships lost and instead we look forward to the new people that we will meet.
College is also the time where you may discover people that you will want to hold on to as friends for the rest of your life. Who remembers those friends of yours, that help you deal with the stress of finals or new relationships! I bet they are still in your inner circle today.
And these types of friends are where distance and age make no difference where they are. When you reconnect, it’s like being with them like it was yesterday!
Friends You Meet at Work
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Friendships in Later Life
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Friends You Meet At Work — Having work friends can definitely make you happier on the job. After all, the average person works 40+ hours and chances are, you spend more time with your colleagues than your friends and family each week. And make no mistake, you can make lasting friendships from those you have worked with throughout your career years.
But… you must be mindful. Your co-workers and/or clients need to ‘earn’ the right to be a true friend. Remember one of the four traits of true friendship – trustworthiness? You will know with time, who you can trust and who you want to include in your life.
Friendships in Later Life — As we age ‘gracefully’ as I say since I am… the older generation has the luxury of being more selective of who their true friends are. Yes, we have longtime friends from childhood all the way thru college and career. But because ‘time is more precious’ in these formidable years, we tend to gravitate to those who are ‘authentic’ and who makes one feel special and important. In fact, it’s common that many older adults have just as many friends of the younger generation as they do of their own age group.
In this regard, true friendship along these lines are more ‘give and take’ of imparting knowledge and wisdom and experiencing the ‘freshness and energy’ of youth. Cross-generational friendships can be just as every bit rewarding as same-aged friends.
How Many Facebook Friends Do You Have?
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Gaining Worldwide Friendships
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The World Wide Web — I would be totally amiss if I didn’t include the impact of the evolution of technology involving the creation of new and dynamic type relationships. In fact, one may never leave the boundaries of their state, let alone their country, and become international friends with anyone in the world today.
I could write another blog on this subject, which I may. But let me tell you this as a professional blogger… I have not just made friends, but true friends, from Australia to Pakistan to South Africa to Algeria to Great Britain to Florida to even someone I didn’t even know was living 15 miles from me!
And you know what! Friends are friends are friends. It makes no difference how one is created. They are all just as important in experiencing the happiness that comes along with it.
The Friendship - Happiness Link
So by now, it should be very clear of how the value of friendship, especially true friendship, translates to being a much more happier person. In fact, survey after survey found that when an individual becomes happy, the network effect can be measured up to three degrees. One person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only their friends, but their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends.
7 Ways Why Friends Make Us Happier
The importance of friendship in our lives obviously should never be taken for granted. Besides, true benefits cannot be measured (who can calculate how much joy or happiness one has received from all the years from your childhood or college best friend)?
When researching for writing this blog, I read literally ‘hours’ of content. But per this website, Happify Daily, the following are seven of the best reasons why friends make us so happy and I couldn’t agree more!
1) The Happiest People are the Most Social
2) Happiness Is Contagious
3) Friends Cut Out the Small Talk—and That Makes Us Happy
4) We Turn to Friends When We’re Stressed
5) Our Friends Helps Us Be Optimistic
6) Friendships Improve Our Health
7) Our Friends Help Us Live Longer
In Summary, The Value of Friendship is Indeed Happiness!
In conclusion, friendship is intentional. Friendship is the serendipitious interactions with those selected few that exudes a spark of friendship chemistry. Friendship allows us to reach our higher self of actualization. And most importantly, friendship IS INDEED HAPPINESS!
**Psst! Do You Want To Take A HAPPINESS QUIZ to find out how Happy You Really Are? Here's Your Chance!**
For Additional Reading
Join the conversation and share one of your favorite memories you experienced with one of your True Friends!