In today’s guest post Jan Read shares some thoughts around something dear to her heart.
Why do we need friends?
By Jan Read
How many of you are aware that Sunday 4th August is National Friendship Day?
If our friends & friendships are important to us – why don’t we recognise this special day in the UK?
National Friendship Day is widely celebrated in other parts of the World – Singapore, Malaysia, South America & India – where friendship bracelets originated and are exchanged as a sign of friendship.
So I’m going to ask two questions to help you think about friendship this special weekend
- What is friendship and why do we need friends?
- How can friendship be incorporated into your coaching?
What is friendship?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a friend as ‘A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations’
Friendship is something we probably all take for granted and probably don’t realise how important it is?
The health benefits are well researched and the Mayo clinic lists these as:
- Increasing your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boosting your happiness
- Reducing stress
- Improving your self-worth
- Helping you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
- Encouraging you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drink or lack of exercise
How many of these are issues that you are dealing with in your coaching work on a regular basis – could friendship be a solution?
At various stages in our lives we need different kinds of friends for different reasons and we all have a variety of friends that can loosely be classified into three groups:
Best friends – who you would tell everything to
Social friends – who you would go somewhere or do something with
Acquaintances – Facebook friends/work friends
Is it better to have two or three close friends or a list of three hundred on a social networking site? Humans are generally regarded as ‘social’ animals and look for social interactions as part of their lifestyle. Some people are happy to share their time with just one or two people while others like the buzz of a group of friends around them.
We are all different and what matters is personal to each individual.
As a child there is an innocence & naivety to making friends – ‘Hello, what’s your name?’ – is usually enough in a playground to have a friend for an hour, a day or sometimes even a lifetime.
As we get older it becomes more difficult to make friends, our time is taken up with relationships, families and work and the definition of friendship takes on a new meaning.
With mobile phones, laptops and an ever increasing use of the Internet, we are also seeing new types of friendships evolving. With the advent of Facebook ‘friends’ and the popping up of past colleagues through Friends Re-united, LinkedIn etc, the scope of our friendships is widening and these social interactions shouldn’t be dismissed as not being ‘friendships’ too.
For many people a quick interaction through Facebook with someone they might only see once a year is a great way to keep in touch and be part of that person’s life.
How can friendship be incorporated into your coaching?
Many clients will seek support from a coach when they are questioning how they can make changes to improve their life?
Finding new friends or developing existing friendships can be a solution to a variety of issues outlined below:
- Life changing circumstances which may involve the loss of friends – leaving work, moving house to a different area, empty nesting, bereavement or divorce.
- Loneliness is one of the major social problems facing the UK today. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2012 it was estimated that 29% of all households consist of just one person. You can have a wide range of social friends but still be lonely if you live on your own.
- A lack of self-confidence to join a club or go somewhere on your own when you’re used to having someone else go along with you.
- ‘Toxic friends’ who may be causing significant problems but the thought of how to replace that friend may be just as overwhelming.
- Unfulfilled dreams or ambitions – having a ‘Bucket List’ which becomes unachievable through the lack of having someone to go along with or share the experience.
Think more about how friendship could be brought into your coaching – it’s something we take for granted and yet to many people it could be the key to unlock the door into their future.
On National Friendship Day on Sunday please think of your friends and tell them how special they are to you. Arrange a get-together with a group of them or meet up with your special ‘bestie’ and give them a friendship token – let’s start to make National Friendship Day special.
About Jan Read
My own experience of wanting to find new friends came about following treatment for breast cancer 18 months ago. My individual life changing moment was when I realised that I was fed up of not being able to do the things I wanted – when I wanted because often I had no-one to go with.
I have a great group of friends and socialise often but not everyone likes my ‘weird’ taste in music or wants to climb a mountain, most have family commitments and aren’t always free when I am.
My solution was to set up a website which offers people the opportunity to find the friends they want. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to share an interest, a one-off trip or a regular outing somewhere – it’s important to find be able to find the friends be with.
www.lotsincommon.com is free to join and gives people the opportunity to link up with like minded people
Log on – Link up – Live life