Ok, seriously, how did I have this many half-read books lying around? My library due date is coming up so I am finally reading through to the end of these, so yay me!
Last night, I finished Friendfluence, by Carlin Flora. And I loved this book mostly because it reinforced everything that I already believe about friendship.
My friends are super important to me. Obviously, no one would say, “Oh, my friends? Yeah, I couldn’t care less about those losers.” Still, though, I think I place a higher level of importance on my friendships than most people. Maybe it’s because I’ve only had a boyfriend for a grand total of about nine months of my life (and six of those were long-distance), so I’ve naturally put a lot of effort into my relationships with my friends. Maybe it’s just because I’m an extrovert.
Flora talks about friendships in childhood, adulthood and online. She reiterates just how important these relationships are, both because the people you spend time with change you (people with healthy friends are generally healthy, people with successful friends are successful, etc.) and also simply due to the companionship they provide. Importantly, they also provide a respite from relationships with family, colleagues, spouses, which can be more fraught. A solid social network provides you with emotional support, job opportunities, and staves off loneliness (which can be detrimental to your health).
She talks a lot about our societal de-valuing of friendship – if you’re working and have kids, the first thing you’re likely to cut out of your life is your friendships, and its perceived as weird and needy to put a lot of effort into your friendships. We’ve all had those friends who start a new relationship and suddenly disappear. She posits that making a sincere effort to cultivate old and new friendships throughout your lifetime can result in a fuller, more fulfilling life.
In any group of friends, I am always the person organizing get-togethers, and I take great pleasure in introducing my friends to each other. After reading this book, I am reassured that not only is this fun, but also improves their lives and mine.
So much attention is paid to romantic relationships that it’s easy to feel as if you’re completely alone if you don’t have one. I know I’ve fallen victim to that trap many times, and it can be a struggle. However, reading this book was a lovely reminder of the immense value of the wonderful relationships I do have, with the people who are there for me whether I see them a few times a week or once a year.
So get out there and appreciate your friends! And if you’re my pal – well, you can thank me for your health, wealth and happiness.