Friend or frenemy?

Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends. H Jackson brown Jnr.

Good friends may help your life last longer according to an Australian study. Conducted by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, the study followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years. It found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. The companionship provided by friends may ward off depression, boost self-esteem, and provide support. Interestingly they found that close relationships with children and relatives had almost no effect on longevity.

The word ‘friend’ as defined in the dictionary is ‘a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, somebody who trusts and is fond of another, an ally or somebody who is not an enemy’. Unless you are reclusive you are likely to make many friends throughout your life but would you easily recognise a ‘frenemy’ that does more harm than good especially if you have been friends for countless years

Do you find yourself involved in your friend’s constant dramas with them urging you to help them fix their problems a lot of the time? Toxic friendships are not good for our mental health and well-being; they can also be emotionally draining.

How would you describe your friends? Are they supportive and caring; is it a good quality relationship with a balance of give and take? Can you trust and rely upon their support during times of trouble? Or, conversely, are they manipulative, unreliable and demanding? If it’s the latter and the relationship is unlikely to get better then ending the friendship is really the only option. Consider it an act of self-preservation by protecting yourself from the harmful impact of their negative behaviour.

Maintaining and developing friendships takes quite a bit of effort but quality can be so much more valuable than quantity. Surround yourself with genuinely supportive friends that enhance your life and well-being and the long-term investment will pay dividends!