Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Friends

About a year ago, I wrote a very whiny post about not having any friends. It was a lie of sorts, because I regularly had contact with women who could technically be considered friends. However, my "friend" standard hadn't really been met at the time.

I'm so lucky to be able to say that I have friends now. I'm not going to identify them online, but I'm sure they know who they are.

These women have saved my sanity more often than they know. Now, our kids will be off to Kindergarten (mine, already...others in September...others will be schooled at home). I fear that we will lose touch and that our parenting and friend bonds will fade.

I picked up the August 2007 issue of Better Homes and Gardens at the dollar store (Love getting magazines there!) and found and article about "healing friendships" that resonated with me.

The article has the statistics (we all know that you can find a statistic for almost anything can't we?) that made me so happy to be able to say I have friends.

One landmark study of nearly 7000 residents in Alameda County, California, found that women who spent time with friends five or more times a month were less likely to die over the nine-year-follow-up period of the study. A second study, conducted at Mercy Medical Center in Maryland, revealed that men and women who had at least 10 friends were half as likely to have health challenges and disabilities that interfered with their daily lives as those who had only two friends.

I'm not sure that I have 10 friends, but I'm infinitely grateful for the 5 (in real life) that I feel like I can call for anything, anytime, and if they can possibly help me they will.

The article in BHG also had a sidebar about The New Backyard Fence. It related the reality of the Internet as a new connection mechanism. It told of the number of people who felt "very close" (23) to someone online and the number who felt "somewhat close" (27) to someone online. Seriously, the blogosphere and miscellaneous bulletin boards really do become "friends" to many. I'd say that I have several online "friends" that I have never met in real life. The best part of this sidebar gave me hope. What's more, instead of the popular image of a lonely person hunkered down in front of a screen, the Pew study found that those who make contact online are 50 percent more likely to have in-person contacts as well, than those who never touch a computer. Computers, it seems, are simply another way to make even more friends.

I'm convinced that this is the phenomenon that is keeping Rachael at Life with Hannah and Lily going. She has hundreds of new online friends to join her real friends to help her through her nightmare.

My friends have helped me in ways that they don't know. I'm sure that they don't. I can only hope that I have helped in the same way.

From the article again: "Our biology likes positive relationships," says psychologist Teresa Seeman, Ph.D., associate chief of geriatric research at the UCLA School of Medicine. "We're still trying to unravel why this happens. Among younger adults, [younger is not quantified in the story] it's the spouse who seems to have the biggest effect. But as you age, that doesn't seem to be as true. It's your friends."

I think I'll try to maintain all relationships, just to be safe. And because I rather like my husband...and my friends.

I have to say thank you to my husband AND all my friends, whether in real life or online. You've added much color to my life, and it is much-appreciated.

3 people like me!:

Sandy said...

Right back at ya, friend!

Anonymous said...

i owe having somewhat of a 'life' to u friend! i actually boasted about my mom's night out the other day in defense of me always and only doing things for my kids and nothing for myself.
5 times a months-does talking on the phone count?
sumedha

angi said...

Like you recently posted to me...friends do make things all better :)

 
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