People have always understood the value of family, but it turns out that the value of good friends may be more significant. Good friends discourage unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and heavy drinking. Friends also ward off depression, boost self-esteem, and provide support. Close relationships with relatives in contrast had no effect on longevity. They are still important, but have little effect on survival.
Women are better at maintaining friendships than men. According to Shelley E. Taylor, PhD, a psychology professor at UCLA, “… women seemed more geared to empathy, while male friendships are more geared to companionship and altruism.” “Male friendships are more about helping each other — mending the lawn mower, that sort of thing. Women’s friendships tend to have a more emotional content — listening to friends’ stories and coming up with helpful solutions.”
Looks like men can learn a few lessons on friendship from women.
Below are some ways to actively seek out friendships. Learn more about the benefits of friendships from the Mayo Clinic.
Meeting new people
Here are some ways you can develop friendships:
1) Get out with your pet. Make conversation with those who stop to talk on your daily neighborhood jaunts.
2) Work out. Join a class through a local gym or start a walking group.
3) Do lunch. Invite an acquaintance to join you for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
4) Accept invites. Resist the urge to say no because you may not know everyone there. You can leave if you get too uncomfortable.
5) Volunteer. You can form strong connections when you work with people who share a mutual interest.
6) Join a cause. Get together with a group of people working toward a goal you believe in, such as an election or the cleanup of a natural area.
7) Join a hobby group. Find a nearby group with similar interests in such things as auto racing, music, gardening, books or crafts.
8) Go back to school. Take a college or community education course to meet people with similar interests.
9) Hang out on your porch. If you don’t have a front porch, pull up a chair and sit out front with a good book. Making yourself visible shows that you are friendly and open.
10) Join a church or faith community.