You’ve heard the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Now there’s evidence to suggest that a good friendship does the same thing.
Results of a nine year study of 7,000 people conducted by Harvard researchers is showing that people who have less-than-wonderful health habits but a loving support system actually live significantly longer than people with good health habits living largely isolated lives. Of course this doesn’t mean you can throw your healthy habits out the window just because you’re the life of the party. But it does show how important human relationships are.
“A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring” (La Rochefoucauld). Do you have a true friend? Someone you can always count on to be there for you?
We need good friends with whom we can be real. We need to get past the surface level conversations to true support for each other. To achieve this level of friendship with someone we have to be willing to be vulnerable…to make time to sit and talk…to be genuine…no masks.
How do we develop this kind of friendship? To have friends we must show ourselves to be friendly. Begin by smiling, making good eye contact and using people’s names frequently. This creates a certain kind of warmth that people in our high-tech, rush-rush society appreciate. Ask appropriate questions and listen attentively to the answers. Find ways to affirm people. Participate together in fun activities. Do the extra things—like remembering their birthdays and other important events. And be patient—it usually takes a little time to build solid friendships.
In John 15:15 Jesus said, “I have called you friends.” That’s our true basis for being able to reach out to others in friendship.
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