This past weekend I went to go visit some “old friends” for a celebration. It was so incredibly sweet to reconnect in person and spend some time together. We speak every week on the phone to check up on each other and stay connected, but to actually be together brought back many fond memories and love. I have been friends with these people for many decades and it has taken time, consideration, love, and the fact that I want to cherish our friendship to keep it going. When I was their visiting this song by Simon and Garfunkel came to mind as we enjoyed each others company on a North Carolina porch sipping a glass of wine not mint juleps. 🙂

I have friends that span many ages. Some are young, some are old but this is never an issue. What counts is that I count in their life and they are important to me as well. Over my life time I have had many groups of friends. It’s always interesting to me which ones stick and which ones pass through my life. I have some friends who consider me their “best friend” and they “love me so much” ; however, they never call, they are never available. I know life is busy and many things do come up for everybody, but I honestly believe that one needs to make time for the people that count.

Connecting with others is a cornerstone to happiness and contributes to a sense of well-being. Close relationships provide us with love, support, meaning, happiness and a healthier life. Chris Peterson, one of the founding fathers of Positive Psychology said simply, “Other people matter.” I believe this to be true.

Research shows that the quality of our relationships matter and this is influenced by sharing activities and experiences, being available to talk and feel understood, giving and receiving support and sharing of positive emotions. If we hang around happy people the social contagion aspect should influence and increase our own happiness. Having social connections can boost our immunity, lower our risk of heart disease and mental decline. To love and be loved is a fundamental human need. When I was studying to be a teacher, many years ago, I researched and wrote a paper on infants in a Romanian orphanage They were left in their cribs and were not held or loved at all. They withered away and had many developmental issues. We need our connections, love and care – we need our touch and hugs. Hug more – hold your hugs for a few moments and allow the good feelings to bubble through you. This is the love hormone oxytocin being released!

There are a ways you can foster your connections:

  1. Pay Attention – get off the phone, computer or whatever. Give the people you love time and attention.

2. Practice Active Listening – really listen, give them time to share and when they are done ask questions to show your interest,                            excitement or concern. Be present.

  1. Appreciate your loved ones and friends because what you appreciate appreciates.
  1. Say out loud the good thoughts you may have. Often times we forget to express our thank you, appreciation, I love you.
  1. Share your time – do things together that you love. Spending time with friends and loved ones keep the relationship vital and flourishing

I was so happy to spend time with my “old friends.” I feel blessed that I have kept them in my life and I have not let them go. Who is in your Tribe? How do you spend time with them and nurture them?