Announcement: We’ve got spots open at our Chairman Mom dinners in Seattle (March 14th) and Toronto (March 10th), so email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested! You can learn more about what these dinners are like here.
Now onto our intro…
OK, so apparently there are companies charging women hundreds of dollars to make them some friends. Please, for the love of cats, tell your friend to try Chairman Mom for $5/month first! I’ve made more real world friends on this site than any other!
But jokes and crazy price structures aside, did you guys see this recent article about the science of friendships? Lydia Denworth has written Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond, a book that argues that friendships should get the same investment as working out, eating well, or getting enough sleep. Why? Because it turns out friendships have a huge impact on our immune systems, cardiovascular systems, cellular health—to say nothing of mental and emotional health.
From NPR’s interview with Denworth: “Very few people understand that your social relationships can actually change your health. They can change your cardiovascular system, your immune system, how you sleep, your cognitive health. How could this thing that exists entirely outside the body affect whether you’re likely to catch a virus? And yet that’s exactly what we now know that social connection does. We thought of loneliness as this difficult emotion, but just an emotion. And we think of friends as this lovely thing — but it is actually a matter of life and death. And there’s this evolutionary drive to connect. People think all the time about competition and survival of the fittest, but really it’s survival of the friendliest.”
She continues: “Friendship is so familiar that we think we know all about it, but we don’t fully appreciate it. We think it’s pleasurable and fun, but friends are often the first thing to go when you’re busy. Or you fall in love and ditch your friends. I was guilty myself of passing a friend on the street corner here in Brooklyn and saying, ‘Let’s definitely get together,’ and then not. We are so achievement driven in so much of what we do. I think it’s healthy to be reminded that time with other people really matters.”
Well, another rare plus of divorce. I haven’t ever had as many friends as I’ve made since getting divorced and needing to fill that “Daddy Weekend” time.
What I think is interesting about this piece is not just that it argues that you should prioritize your friends, but it raises the questions of why don’t we? I know women frequently put ourselves last, but why our friends? We’ve got a few Chairman Mom threads on making friends and managing friendships. (Check them out below!) But I want to know how many close friends you believe you have, and how often you see them.
A few of our favorite Chairman Mom threads about friendship:
- How many close friends do you have an how often do you see them?
- How do I get my daughter to talk to me about issues with her friends?
- How to handle a touchy situation with a mom friend and their *ahem* “challenging child”
- How to support a friend going through separation/divorce?