Friends are the secret sauce
Romantic relationships get the vast majority of our attention and mental energy, but few stop to think about the quality of their friendships and how much value you can derive from them.
Studies have proven that the most important component of psychological well-being isn’t family, material possessions or successful careers— it’s friendships. You need these friendships like you need air, they allow you to breathe.
Friends with benefits
Friends are there to bust a gut with laughter, high five us when awesome things happen, support us in hard times and they play a starring role in some of our most precious memories. Great friends enrich your life in profoundly meaningful ways and are as equally, if not more important than romantic relationships.
Friends make everything in our lives a little more zesty. Friendship is often formed by having interests that match up; you align yourself with who you resonate with—their weirdness matches yours. You either connect with each other or you don’t.
Unlike romantic relationships, if you’re friends with someone because you both like skiing for example, you aren’t concerned if he folds his laundry the way you like or if she wants the same things as you in life. It simply doesn’t matter.
The Zesty Five
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” We are greatly influenced by those closest to us, and it affects our thinking, our self-esteem and our decisions. So choose wisely. Are you surrounding yourself with uplifting, zesty friends? If our friend is happy, we’re more likely to be too. A Harvard Medical School study of 5,000 people over 20 years found that one person’s happiness spreads through their social group even up to three degrees of separation.
Friends should challenge you and inspire you to be better. If you hang out with a group of successful, positive individuals who believe in taking responsibility for their lives, you too will become increasingly optimistic, brave and successful. If you hang out with a bunch of pessimists who believe that the world is out to get them, it will drain your energy, your confidence and your optimism—even if you’re initially a positive person.
Friendships that flow
Imagine you’re cruising down your favourite trail with your friends. All of your attention is focused on the movements of your body, the position of your bike, the air blowing past your face, the blur of green trees in your periphery and the sound of your breathing with each maneuver. At the bottom you grin at each other, you compare notes and you laugh. — If you’ve experienced this type of immersion in an activity, you’ve experienced flow. And the happiness you get from it.
Happiness is the side effect of a particular set of ongoing life experiences. Psychologists have determined four primary psychological needs which are: security, self-esteem, autonomy and connection. So in order to be satisfied and happy these needs have to be met regularly. If these needs are not met the individual will feel anxious and tense.
Participating in sports with friends is a great way to fulfill many of these needs. Our need for connection and security, our self-esteem and our autonomy. So if you’re looking to boost your happiness factor, get out for an adventure with your friends. It will nurture your spirit, restore your physical energy and renew your mindset.
Be friends with yourself first
If you’ve been single for decades or days, it can be easy to get down on yourself over the odds finding a perfect partner. STOP! Stop dating just because you don’t want to be alone. Many people settle because they hate being alone. If that’s you, why do you hate being alone? Consider taking some time to get to know yourself and be okay with being alone, because you’re probably a pretty cool person to hang out with, if you get to know yourself.
Once you’re able to meet your psychological needs with a variety of sources in your life (friendships, family, hobbies, professional life, etc.) you’ll be better prepared to stumble across your perfect person. And you’ll be a better partner for it.
Tips to build your Zesty Friendships
- Start by being the friend others want, be awesome, be yourself!
- Nurture your existing healthy relationships
- Join clubs, sports teams, professional organizations
- Be proactive in meeting like-minded people
- Talk to people. Be interested and curious
- Invite people to do things, don’t be scared of rejection