So THAT’S What Friends Are For

So THAT’S What Friends Are For

The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

Over the last two years, I’ve developed a bonded friendship with a group of women who happen to be from the gym. This last weekend, we went on our second annual trip to Vegas together. Throughout the year, we try to have dinner once a month even though our lives are non-stop with careers, kids, spouses, and self care. Friendships, when nearing or passed the age of 40, are not easily formed. In my 40’s, I was more prone to not trust people, new especially, with my deepest emotional vulnerabilities. Intellectually I know that is not healthy, but actually being vulnerable enough to create a solid connection is scary. My experience with past friendships – whether they’ve just fizzled or have been separated by distance — most likely influenced me to believe that new, close friendships at my age may not have been possible. Plus I’m so busy — how would I find time to hang out! But what I’m experiencing is that  — just like everything else — if I’m brave enough to let go and trust and put in some real work (emotional and time-wise), close, adult friendships can be something very special and they contribute  — as much as anything else — to my health and well-being.

There are many books and articles written and studies done on the subject of friendship and its importance. Mark Vernon’s book, The Philosophy of Friendship, suggests that we spend at least a fifth of our time with our friends. “Is this not what children do in their persistent requests to play with their friends?” “Playing” with our friends contributes highly to our happiness. Vernon also writes that a close friend is a mirror of your own self, someone with whom you realize that, though autonomous, you are not alone. He adds that friendship “cultivates the virtues, such as creativity and compassion, which are essential to a flourishing society”.

Good friends may help your life last longer, too. A recent study followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years. It found that those who had a network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by more than 20%. Some think good friends keep you from doing things that are bad for you, like smoking and heavy drinking and can influence you to do the good things like exercising and eating better. They encourage you to live your best life. Friends may also ward off depression, boost your self-esteem, and provide support. As people age, they tend to be more selective in their choice of friends, so they spend more time with people they like. Close relationships with children and relatives, in contrast, had almost no effect on longevity. Lynne C. Giles, one of the researchers who conducted the study, emphasized that though family ties are clearly important, they just seem to have little effect on survival.

“People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol — a stress hormone,” says Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University. “We are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups,” Howe says. “We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes.”

Friendships are vital for well-being, but they take time to develop and can’t be artificially created. I’m incredibly grateful for my group of girlfriends — a group that I helped build as they build me up, too.


Tuesday’s Workout

3 Sets @ 80% C&J
2 Jerk drives
1 Split jerk

5 Deadlifts (65-70%)
5 DB Chops-R (20% BW / 15% BW)
5 DB Chops -L

7 DB Thrusters (55-60% of Press)
7 Toes to bar
–35sec cap each round–

Wednesday’s Workout

1200m Run
45 KB swings (32/24)
800m Run
30 KB swings
400m Run
15 KB swings




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