So, I was reading this article on Psychology Today about friendship, and the question was put out there, you know, “how many of who you consider your true friends would put you up unexpected, or lend you money for a cab fare?”
Essentially, how many people would you actually feel comfortable enough with to show up unannounced during desperate times and feel comfortable in knowing that you’re not putting that person out?
That they’re happy to have you. And more than that, that they want you there. They are genuinely happy to help you out.
True friends are empathetic towards you.
What this means is that they try and put themselves in your shoes.
Metaphorically speaking, when your shoes are too heavy, are too big, or too tight, when you’re wearing your freakin’ stilettos, your friends feel your discomfort.
When you’re trying to fill boots three sizes too big, your true friends are going to be there, to loan you theirs. To help make your trek a little lighter. Because true friends care about you.
True friends want you in their life. And true friends open the door when you come a-knocking at 2am because you’ve had an argument with a significant other. They help settle you down.
Studies have actually indicated that when a friend perceives you are going to receive a threat, that the regions of their brain light up similarity as though they are going to receive that same threat themselves.
In essence, they worry about you. And feel empathy for you.
When the same happens to a stranger, the results are different.
James Coan, a neuroscientist and professor at the University of Virginia, and who directs the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Laboratory makes a couple interesting points about friendship and it’s neuroscientific and social benefits.
What he says is that “friends share the burden of life, helping you deal with 21st-century “threats” — office politics, the no-show of the babysitter, the health scares or spats with your spouse, the growing needs of your aging parents.” And essentially that, “we are wired to rely on friends, and this trickles down to our biology.”
Friendships help us to survive and to, well, thrive. Did you know we are actually more likely to die at any given time when we are not connected to others and/or are isolated?
It’s another natural selection technique. Those of us with strong friendships are more likely to continue on and proliferate our species. The survival of the fittest.
“When you have more friends,” according to Coan, “you don’t have to use as many of your own personal resources to deal with the world, so you can use those resources to build yourself up. You’ll grow hair, you’ll repair skin, you’ll beef up your immune system. So you’re more prepared to deal with what life can hurl at you.”
During my time in university, I was accepted into the neuroscience stream in psychology and completed 11 courses. And what I learned in that time, among other things, is that friendships trigger the feel good emotions in our brains.
When we are near friends we are healthier and we are happier. Our brains actually release oxytocin when we think about or are with our friends. The same thing happens when we hug someone and allow that hug to last more than 20 seconds. Cool right?
And, on the contrary, when we are isolated and alone, our brain creates more stress hormones. And in turn we are less resilient.
Friendship is important. It’s important to have friends. And it’s more important that the friends you keep are true friends who will help you carry the load when life becomes a little heavy. You get the luxury of picking your friends. Of picking what company you keep.
So, when those stilettos you’re wearing become unbearable, you know where to turn.
Remember that. And remember, you need your friends. Don’t cut your friends out of your life because of a new relationship or a new partner. Keep your friends close.
You never know when you’ll need them.
And finally, here’s a shout out to my best buddies, you know who you are!
So, when I come knocking lemme in beeches! Xxxx