Do you know that if you have fewer than four vital friendships, your health and wellbeing are significantly reduced? In fact, people with fewer than four close friends are 2x as likely to die from heart disease. Amazing, especially when stress, smoking, income level, and social status were NOT found to be factors.
So what makes a friend "vital"? We commonly use the term friend so loosely these days, for everything from an acquaintance we see every now and then to someone who "liked" us on social media. However, to be a vital friend, they must be someone who measurably improves your life and who you can't afford to live without. That should narrow down your list of friends considerably.
How do you develop vital friendships that significantly impact your life?
1. Determine your core friendships.
Jot down on a piece of paper a list of people you call friends. Then go back and ask, "If this person were no longer around, would it negatively impact my life?" A word of caution: vital friends may not be considered your BFFs. You may not run around with them all the time. But they contribute something significant to your life, helping you be your best YOU.
2. Define the roles they play in your life.
How often have you stopped to consider how your friend has impacted your life? Only 30% of people can easily articulate what a friend actually contributes to their lives. So beside each name, write down what you really appreciate about them. And if you need some help defining the HOW, go to www.vitalfriends.com and take Gallup's friend assessment.
3. Decide to affirm each friend.
We often take our friends for granted, and letting them know how much you appreciate them and specifically how they impact your life will bring a new depth to your friendship. So grab a card, or some one-on-one time, and tell them.
As you focus on intentionally developing vital friends, remember to focus on what they DO bring to the relationship, not what they DON’T.