Consider the ways friends make life better. Authentic friends…
1) Encourage us. Friends believe in us. As a result, they offer both the words and the support we need to become better people in all aspects of life.
2) Challenge us. Friends recognize deficiencies in our life. They challenge us to embrace and succeed in making these healthy, life-giving changes.
3) Motivate us. In every regard, it is highly motivating to know that someone loves you, believes in you, and is cheering for you.
4) Listen to us. Friends open their ears and hearts to our words. A listening ear communicates value, trust, and openness. And a listening ear provides the opportunity for our thoughts to disentangle themselves.
5) Celebrate with us. Full joy is never realized until it has been shared with others – that’s why we immediately call our friends when something good happens. Friends celebrate with us in victory and make our joy complete.
6) Grieve with us. Life is full of ups and downs. Friends make the high points higher and the low points bearable.
7) Support our contributions. Friends recognize the value we contribute to the world and the beauty we offer to it. They look forward to our contributions and promote them to others.
8) Keep us honest. Friends know us best. They know our strengths… and they recognize our weaknesses. Because of their intimate knowledge of who we are, they keep us honest with each other and with ourselves.
9) Add joy to our lives. According to a study from the Harvard Medical School, the more friends a women had, the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. There is likely some correlation between being joyful and having friends… but clearly the inverse is also true.
10) Improve our health. Studies also indicate that authentic friendships actually result in better health. These relationships make healthy habits easier to adopt and the body more likely to heal itself.
11) Provide opportunity for influence. Trust always precedes influence. Sometimes trust can be earned quickly (books, experts, studies), but other times it can take years of living life together. Friendships – life lived in relationship with others – offers trust and influence.
12) Provide opportunity for sacrifice. Giving always benefits the receiver and the giver. True friendships require sacrifice. And in that sacrifice, both lives are improved.