Filed Under “In Case You Didn’t Have Enough to Worry About…”
The link told me that a study found that the number of friends you have affects how long you live. Should I click over to PsychologyToday and find out how early I was going to die?
I expected to see an advance copy of my eulogy written at the top of the screen, especially with the added caveat that it’s not just quantity, it’s quality. But instead I found a long discussion that this thing — friendships — that are mostly outside of our control are the key to living to a ripe old age and seeing a world full of Elon Musk’s unmanned cars or keeling over before I’ve come to a decision about whether or not to dye my hair.
The test that PsychologyToday offers as you consider your life:
Outside of your family, how many people would you be willing to call in the middle of the night if you needed help, and how many would be willing to get out of bed and come rescue you? And, what about if you met one of those important life goals? Who would you call? If you don’t have at least two people on both of your lists, perhaps you should take more seriously the role of social relationships in your life.
Four. It looks like you need at least four people. At least two of those people need to own beds that they can get out of.
I think I’m safe. I have a few people that I call with major news (and not so major news). A few more who live locally who have saved my ass before and would likely save it again.
But here’s the thing. I don’t mind being given advice about longevity that is within my control to follow. Drink water instead of soda? Completely do-able. The power is in my hands, especially since the generic bottled water at the grocery store costs less than a bottle of Coke.
But things such as marriage or parenthood or friendship… those things aren’t within our control. Sure, there are things we can do that increase our chances of reaching those goals, such as dating or having sex or getting out of the house. But I think we all know that some things don’t happen despite our best efforts.
At the end of the day, you can’t control how many friends you have nor the quality of those friendships. You can’t control the friendship skills of others; whether they’ll come to your rescue or provide a shoulder for you to cry on. Friendship is dependent upon the actions of another person. Another person needs to choose you back. And that’s just not a given, no matter how much you try to make something work.
So much of friendship is tied to your personality and where you live and the time you have to cultivate friendships. And how much you get out of your friendships also depends on personality and history and your social needs. There are people who prefer to be alone, and there are people who feel as if they’re crawling out of their skin when they go too long without seeing friends.
We know that stress can negatively impact our lives, and it’s stressful to be told that the solution to a problem that concerns us (our mortality) is mostly outside our control.
So I guess I’ll just give up and crawl into bed. I’ll be there just in case someone needs a friend to get out of a bed to save their ass.
P.S. Don’t forget that tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday in case you’re also lounging around in bed and need something to do.