Your buddy. Your bestie. Your BFF. Regardless of how you refer to your significant other (no, we don’t mean your spouse), make sure you celebrate them this International Day of Friendship*. Granted, ‘BFFAEAE’ might be the sort of term your teenage cousin bandies about on Facebook, but don’t let that undervalue the benefit your closest comrade. Having a best friend in adulthood is actually good for your health – fact. Not only does have having a BFF help you feel happier, age better, reduce stress and increase coping mechanisms, it can actually help boost your immune system too. In fact, some research suggests that having a good mate is as beneficial to our overall wellbeing as exercise and healthy eating.
Because we’re all putting off marriage until later in life, friendships are more important today than ever before. It’s our friends that teach our generation about intimacy, companionship and compromise. It’s often our friends that we make the big plans with; like starting a business, adopting a cat or going on that big trip. Our friends are our life partners.
But we get it; it’s not easy keeping friendships alive in 2016. What with kids, careers and everything in between, life is fraught with the opportunity to fall out of touch with our buddies. When we hit new milestones at different stages to our friends, it can make us feel out of sync to one another. At times it can be hard, but maintaining a mateship is so important. After all, Australian nurse Bonnie Ware cited “not maintaining friendships” as one of people’s biggest death-bed regrets in her book The Top Five Regrets of The Dying. As we get older, our buddies tend to slip down our list of priorities, which is the death knell for any relationship. Sure, you double-tap within seconds of her posting a pic on Instagram and are constantly sending each other ‘hilarious’ voice notes on whatsapp, but when was the last time you actually spoke to your friend? While social media might help keep the pair of you connected, research shows that actually seeing them in person is required for a meaningful relationship to thrive. “No amount of social media will prevent a friend eventually becoming ‘just another acquaintance’ if you don’t meet face-to-face from time to time,” warns Robin Dunbar, a psychology professor at the University of Oxford.
Still don’t feel inspired to drop everything to see your bestie? Let these guys persuade you otherwise…
“I think about my best friendship – which the Marnie-Hannah friendship in Girls is based on – as like a great romance of my young life.”
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
“Most of the women in your life will outlast the men in your life.”
“Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.”
“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
“Many people will walk in and out of your life but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.”
“No matter how tired I am, I get dinner at least once a week with my girlfriends. Or have a sleepover. Otherwise my life is just all work.”
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
“Friendship is the bestest thing that comes to life. Friends will always be there for you. Don’t worry about the fakes, worry about the people who had your back from the start and never treated you wrong.”
“There is nothing like puking with someone to make you into old friends.”
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
“My two best girlfriends are from secondary school. I don’t have to explain anything to them. I don’t have to apologise for anything. They know.”
“Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.”
“We come from homes far from perfect, so you end up almost parent and sibling to your friends – your own chosen family. There’s nothing like a really loyal, dependable, good friend. Nothing.”
*International Day of Friendship is celebrated on July 30