Week 28–The Blessings of Good Friends

 

Good friends are like your sisters or brothers except you get to pick them out.  Let’s look at the qualities that are needed in a good friend, the benefits of good friends, and the blessings of long-lasting good friends.

The qualities that most people would agree on that makes someone a good friend begins with a friend being there for you when you need them.  They are present in good times and bad.  Being a good friend sometimes means simply to listen when they need to talk.  The key to being present for a good friend is putting into action what their words have previously told you.  When difficulties arise a good friend will actually be there to help. Another important quality of a good friend is loyalty.  Sometimes you are in a bad mood or have made a wrong choice, good friends are loyal and accept you for who you are and not expect you to change to meet their expectations or standards.  Good friends are also honest.  Honest enough to tell you what you need to hear even if you don’t want to hear it.  They don’t just agree with telling you what you want to hear.  Being trustworthy is another quality needed to be present in a good friend.  Mutual trust between friends is a building block of a solid friendship that could last a lifetime.  Another building block that’s needed in a good friend is good communication.  An example is being able to know what your friend is thinking without needing to say anything because you both are on the same wave-length.

The benefits of having good friends can have a major impact on your life, on your health, and well-being.  Good friends prevent loneliness and provide companionship in the various activities in your life.  Good friends increase your sense of belonging and enhance your purpose in life.  They can boost your happiness and reduce your stress by making you laugh, refocusing you on the positive aspects in your life, and having them be a sounding board to let out your daily frustrations.  Good friends help to improve your self-confidence and self-worth by giving supportive compliments, brainstorming options on problems, and asking stimulating questions to direct your thought- processing power on your own desires and goals.  Good friends help you cope with trauma, illiness, job loss, death, and other issues in life.  They encourage you to change and avoid unhealthy life style habits such as: excessive drinking, smoking, eating unwholesome foods, and lack of exercising.  According to the Mayo Clinic having good friends with strong social support have reduced the risk of many significant health problems such as: high blood pressure, depression, and unhealthy body mass.  People who have good friends, along with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

Lastly, I have had many blessings in my life because of my long-lasting good friends.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to have three long-lasting friends; two friends since second grade, which is over sixty years, and the other friend for forty-two years.  The blessings they have given me are:  they have been with me through my ups and downs of life, they’ve supported me in prayer, and they have fired-up my thoughts to analyze all facets of the decision making process.  They have offered shoulders to cry on when life gave me heartaches, and they have been extremely patient by being great listeners.  They aren’t judgmental, but realize that change is a continual process that we all must go through.  They continue to show kindness, encouragement, and backing as I continue on my “Hero’s journey”.  They love me without limits, and give me the freedom to fly as long as it benefits everyone involved.  They give great hugs of encouragement or to let me know I did a job well done.  As you can see, there are many blessings to having good friends.  I am truly honored by having good friends not only for their benefits that they bestow on me, but for their richness they shower my life with.  Steve Marabolt summed up my feeling about good friends by his quote:  “Friends are medicine for a wounded heart and vitamins for a hopeful soul”.  Or perhaps Winnie the Pooh expresses friendship in a simpler fashion by saying, “It seems they had always been and would always be Friends. Time could change much but not that”.  A final quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr, which helps us to visualize the importance of good friends says, “A true friend encourages us, comforts us, supports us like a big easy chair, offering us a safe refuge from the world”.  Good friends will last and they are more favorable than a rare diamond.  How blessed I am to have my good friends!

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