One of the most important and yet least understood areas of psychology concerns the role of friends in our lives. In my own writing on adult development and aging, I have constantly felt frustrated about the relative lack of research on this topic under the category of close relationships in middle and later life. Most of the research on friendship concerns children and adolescents, and only rarely do researchers seriously address friendships over the latter (and majority) of the lifespan. Fortunately, author Carlin Flora’s new book, Friendfluence, addresses this much-needed gap. She pulls together the available and wide-ranging academic literature on friendship with personal insights and interviews, exploring all aspects of friendship in a thoughtful and engaging way.
If you ever had any doubts that friends are one of the most important, if least understood, aspects of life, Flora will convince you. When it comes to happiness, your friends are the key.
I’ve tried to distill Friendfluence into what I believe are its most important lessons. Of course, if you want to get the full friendfluence effect, I recommend that you read it in its entirety. For now, though, here are 15 reasons to appreciate your friends:
The upshot is, you need friends and they need you. It doesn’t take much skill to cultivate this close and fascinating type of human bond, but it does take some effort. As Flora shows us, that effort will clearly pay off in helping you lead a more fulfilling life.
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Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2013