Most women know that friendships are important. Whether we currently have healthy friends in our lives or not, whether we think we have the time or not, few of us would say we don’t want or need friends.
But did you know that studies reveal that friendship among women are essential not just for emotional and relational needs, but also for our health?
Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidants was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight.
And that’s not all. When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.
Connecting via Social Media
In our social-media-driven culture it’s easier than ever to connect. We can log on to numerous social media sites and find our best-friend from second grade, connect with someone we met at church, and even (attempt to) “friend” a total stranger.
But do virtual connections replace face-to-face connection?
Think about all of the times you logged onto facebook, checked twitter, or scrolled instagram last week. When you think back to all of that time, is it memorable? Does it stand out as a “I can’t wait to do that again moment”?
In my opinion, social media can initiate a connection and I do think it can strengthen a connection, but it can’t replace the face-to-face interaction.
Now, think about the last time you had coffee with a friend (not work-related), or invited a friend over for lunch. Who was it? Where did you go? What did you talk about? Chances are you can remember those details because you engaged face-to-face and connected on a heart level. In fact you may be able to think about a time when you hung out with a friend years ago and still remember details.
Last week I took a friend out to dinner for her birthday. We spent over two hours talking, laughing, and connecting. Those are memorable moments. Moments that when you think back on, you smile and can’t wait until the next time.
God created us to connect with each other. Social media has proven that. But screen-to-screen connection will never replace heart-to-heart connections.