WholeLife Matrix: Relationships – The Importance of Friends / Time Together
“As We Grow Up, We Realize it is Less Important to Have Lots of Friends,
and More Important to Have Real Ones.”
Spending time with friends has many benefits because it can help to fulfill our social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs. With friends, you can have discussions about common interests, do activities such as jogging or having a party, or discuss things that are happening in your life such as job changes, subjects on health, etc. These reasons probably account for why it has been found that people who have a good network of friends outlive those with few friends. Good friends provide support, help us to avoid or overcome depression and vices such as heavy drinking or smoking, and boost our self-confidence. You don’t need to spend a whole lot of time with friends or to spend a lot of money to gain the benefits of having friends. We offer some ideas on how to meet new friends and things you can do with them.
Where to Meet New Friends
Sometimes, meeting new people can be a challenge, especially when you have moved to a new city where you don’t yet know anyone, or when you are busy. Meetup.com is a great way of meeting new people who have similar interests as you do. It has business groups, groups for sports such as snowboarding, book clubs, groups for singles, etc. Another way that you may meet new people is by taking a class you are interested in such as an acting class or a cooking class. As we become busy with more commitments in life such as work and having a family, we may find that we have less time than we once did for spending time with friends. So, it is important to schedule time in your calendar for spending time with friends, to nurture current friendships and to build new ones.
Over time, as we change and our interests change, we may need to make new friends who are similar and have similar interests. Holidays and birthdays are also a great time to reach out to friends. If you are single, you might even find a significant other through your friends or through groups for friends. And if you already have a significant other, having friends can enrich your lives and can also give you breaks from each other when each of your see your friends separately. In our modern world of technology, tools such as texting and social media make it easy to stay connected with people even when we are not physically with them.
You can often see what a person is interested in or where they are with their life by looking at their social media profiles, and you can stay in touch by interacting on social media. However, it does not replace meeting people face to face and interacting with them in person. To find activities to do with friends, find people who have similar goals as you do. For example, if you have a dog that needs to be walked, you might find a friend who also has a dog that needs to be walked and you can walk your dogs together while having a conversation at the same time. Below, are some ideas for things that you can do with friends:
Having a picnic in the park lets people enjoy the outdoors. You can do various activities outdoors such as playing Frisbee or board games. People can also bring their families. Many parks also host free concerts in the summer. The picnic can be a potluck. Everyone loves great food and having a potluck gives everyone a chance to contribute something to create a fun party with a variety of interesting dishes to try.
Restaurants and Karaoke
Exploring restaurants with friends is fun and so is singing karaoke with them. For a less formal event, you can meet up with people at a local coffee shop such as Starbucks.
On weekends, have an organizational party to help a friend clean out a room, closet, etc. Trade items with each other and serve food.
Movie or Play
Seeing the latest movie with some friends can be fun and you also have something to talk about after seeing it. You might also go to a school play and support your local community. Another idea is to trade movies and music with friends.
There are many sports that you can do with a friend or group such as tennis, hiking, biking, etc.
Explore a Town, Museum or Zoo
Visiting a museum or zoo can be a fun learning experience. You can find out when the free days are. You might also go on a walking tour of your town or have a scavenger hunt where your friends need to find things in a city and receive prizes for finding them.
You can find various opportunities to volunteer in your community. You might team up with your local senior center or YMCA. By giving some of your time to others, you can help them and teach them new skills while you meet new people and make new friends, develop new sills and build self-confidence.
In the WholeLife Matrix, we have four aspects for developing friendships:
2. Large Groups
4. SpontaneityBeing with friends is essential to your well-being. It can provide you with many benefits without costing you much and increase the joy in your life.
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