Friendships (and Breakups) are Vital to Happiness, Here’s Why

friendship story

I don’t believe that all real friendships last forever. Sure, I think that some certainly do, but I also believe that people evolve and grow apart, and that this is healthy, and doesn’t mean the friendship wasn’t real or meaningful for a certain period of your life.

I recently had a long conversation with Starre, our founder and editor-in-chief, about this very subject on a cross-country road trip in collaboration with Hyundai. It was the sort of winding conversation that only two people on a long road trip would have, but it got me thinking about my own personal views on friendship.

Friendships, in my opinion, can serve two people for a period of time and then fade away, and I think that’s a reality of life we all should digest. While I’ve held onto many beautiful friendships over the years – I turn 31 this weekend – I can fondly look back at many friendships that have peacefully come and gone through my various life stages – my soccer, basketball, and track teammates, Irish dancing friends I danced and traveled with daily, my Girl Scout troop, college friends and roommates, Grad school classmates, buddies of previous boyfriends and even former colleagues I once had lunch with every single day. I’m grateful for each of them, even if they were shooting stars.

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What can a friendship teach you?

Sadly not all friendships end so gracefully and that too, is a reality of life. Losing friends can sometimes be very difficult, and a confluence of factors typically comes into play. Whatever those reasons are – I know, I know it was her fault – I think it’s important to do some good old self reflecting on the friendship to discover if there’s anything you can learn from the relationship to help you grow as a person to better serve future relationships. Rather than thinking about it as a “failed friendship,” think of it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

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Friendships are vital to our wellbeing

It’s worth bearing in mind just how important friendships are to us human beings; they’re vital to our wellbeing. Good friendships boost our happiness and reduce our stress, they give us strength and hope in the face of fear or disaster, improve our confidence and self-worth and help us stay active and adventurous.

My favorite dates with my friends involve some type of exercise whether it be spin, yoga or a run in the park followed by a glass of red wine and a hearty salad. Friends provide us support in profoundly different ways than our significant others and we need these strong friendships for our emotional and physical well being.

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Who are you surrounded by?

I heard Mastin Kipp once say: “Look at the 5 people you spend the most time with, and that will determine how far in life you’ll go.” There’s a tribal consciousness that tells us that we’ll grow, or perhaps not grow, with the people we’re surrounded by. Friendships exist to elevate one another, they’re not a one-way street, so take stock of who you’re hangin’ with most.

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Are you having high vibe conversations?

Be that high vibe friend that’s the light in all your conversations and social situations. As Gabby Bernstein has said, “come to the party with all of your greatness.” I just love that line because people truly do pick up on your high vibes and energy when you approach a social situation or conversation in a totally different way. You have the power to completely shift the energy of a conversation with a friend.

For example, if a conversation is going down a negative path, you can simply redirect the focus of the conversation by starting to talk about the positives of a situation, what you do have or by simply complimenting the other person. It’s also important to remember that at any given moment you can redirect yourself if you feel like you’re going down a low vibe direction.

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Make amends

It’s a spiritually healing experience to try and make amends with someone and practice the art of forgiveness. I use the word art because I truly understand how difficult the act of forgiveness can be, and yet I believe it’s one of the most important habits to get into to lead a happy life. When you’re unforgiving you ultimately feel stuck, weak, angry, and resentful. You carry around these feelings with you which contain low-level energy that weighs you down and blocks your capacity to heal, grow, and ultimately be happy. No matter the tenure of any friendship, practicing the art of forgiveness in all your relationships is a great way to live a truly vibrant life.

This is a guest post.

About Lindsay E. Brown
Lindsay has spent her career at the intersection of media and social change. In her role at Eco-Chick, Lindsay has established partnerships and campaigns with some of the world’s most-recognized companies committed to sustainability and CSR. She co-created the popular interview series “Heroines for the Planet” that features groundbreaking women who share courage and a deep passion for protecting people and the Earth. Lindsay currently manages field marketing for Health-Ade Kombucha in the New York region and previously served as Director of Communications at the social enterprise CBS EcoMedia where she directed corporate advertising dollars to the nation’s most effective non-profits tackling urgent social issues in local communities. There she was awarded CBS Corporation’s prestigious Share-the-Vision award. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, Cottages & Gardens, From The Grapevine, EarthHour.org, Eco-Age.com, and for environmentalists Laura Turner Seydel and Susan Rockefeller. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

2 Comments

  1. I have been thinking a lot about friends recently, so I appreciated the article.
    I had mixed feelings about the “high vibes” concept though; while I do see how it attractive and meaningful to try to bring light into a relationship and conversation, I don’t really want to spend my time with people who are only comfortable with my positive side, and can’t appreciate all aspects of my experience.

    • That’s a great point Ashley, part of friendship is being able to share both positives and negatives. I think the point of the article is that if someone is always bringing you down (maybe by subtle digs or put-downs, or other ways of being negative about you) then that’s not healthy. That doesn’t mean though, that we shouldn’t share hard times or difficult feelings. Or even, sometimes, fight with our friends and hash it out! I know I had a relationship with a friend who made me feel really bad about myself for over ten years—we had been friends since we were kids, and were very close then. But after a decade of feeling insulted and like a terrible person after we hung out, I (kindly, I hope) ended the friendship. It was a really good decision! I think at the end of the day, my friend didn’t really actually like me—or she certainly didn’t act like it. Hope that makes sense!

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