There’s no debating it: Friendships are good for your health. With that in mind, how do you nurture your friendships to keep them strong, and how do you make new friends? Several Facebook fans of AARP Medicare Supplement Plans, insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., responded with tips and suggestions.
Phone a Friend
“One of my very close friends and I often call each other at the end of the day to check in, share the joys or frustrations of the day, and support one another,” Anne Hanley says.
Stay in Touch Online
“With all my friends, sharing photos on Facebook and emailing one another frequently is something I treasure,” Anne says.
“I nurture friendships by regular walks with three women who are always on my weekly calendar,” Jean Ardell says.
Anne agrees, “In general, my favorite thing to do with friends is to take a walk or hike outdoors, whether on a park trail, at the beach, or even in the neighborhood. That time is so special.”
Jean also gets together with friends for social outings and special events. “I have season theater tickets with another friend,” she says. “And for the past 30 years, I get together with a group of seven women for our birthdays. We raised our sons together and have much shared history.”
“To me, it’s important to have friends who are both the same and different than you are,” Kim Smith says. “Friends are a safe place to grow. Having people in your sphere who don’t share the same views can help your soul expand – as long as those views can be shared with respect.”
Give and Receive
“I nurture my friendships by trying to be the person I’d like them to be for me – supportive, respectful, fun, honest but not cruel,” Kim says. “I think that friendships need to be shared – that it can’t be all about one or the other of us but hand in hand growth towards a shared bond.”
Meet New Friends
“It is hard to meet new friends as we get older, but I’ve found that good places are in volunteer situations where we’re working towards a common goal outside of ourselves – rescuing animals, feeding the homeless, collecting toys for children,” Kim says. “Also, a good avenue has been through Meetup.com, which is a site where people with like interests can participate in activities with a group of people with the same interests.”
Other great ways to meet people include joining a faith group, participating in community events and taking classes – whether it’s an art class, a fitness class or anything in between.
The time invested in making new friends and nurturing existing friendships pays off in numerous ways, from reduced stress to increased happiness and much more.