I don’t have many friends. But I have a few good friends. I have people I can turn to for advice, or just to vent. I have friends I send my blogs to, and I know they’ll read them and give me positive feedback. I don’t have friends to hang out with though, and it feels lonely, that the 2 people I do have, I barely get to see.
I stumbled upon the word frientimicy a while back, while listening to a podcast. Someone who I’ve never heard of, Shasta Nelson, was talking about it. I think she coined it, and it was a mind-blowing speech. It opened my eyes to what a healthy close friendship sounds like.
I thought that close friends trust each other, are honest with one another, let each other vent, seek advice, and in general enjoy the company of one another.
While this is all true, Shasta worded it differently, and I now measure all my friendships on this scale. I used to classify people as strangers, acquaintances, close friends, and loved ones. I still do, but in order to make sure that my close friends and I have frientimicy, I need to make sure we have 3 things.
How to maintain frientimicy:
1. Consistency: Being consistently in contact with one another is important. I used to have friends who talk to me once in a Blue Moon, and I used to consider them close because we talked a lot and deeply whenever we did, but it bothered me that they never initiated a conversation with me, so I stopped texting them 1st, and guess what? They haven’t spoken to me in years. Not only one person, but several people used to be close friends. Now if I text them, they don’t even reply. It’s sad but I’m over it. At least I have a friend who we text each other regularly and another who I have weekly calls, so I’m good. I just wish I had someone I could go bowling with.
2. Positivity: This one is a bit tricky, especially lately, when I have been everything but positive. Lebanon is going through tough times now, as are many other countries, and add to that: family problems, daily stresses, mental health issues, and the physical toll it has on the body. I just watched a video about 10 signs you have major depression and I checked the box for 9 of them. However, I try my best to be supportive when I’m talking to my friends. I may be dramatic about my problems, but I like to offer emotional support and hope and prayers to my friends whenever I can.
3. Vulnerability: When your close friend asks you how you are doing, answer honestly. When you are struggling, reach out. When you need to vent, ask if it’s okay for you to vent (I always forget that I must ask 1st because sometimes the other person isn’t in the right mental space to listen). Ask for the help the other person needs. Ask them if they would like advice, validation, memes, or a pep talk. When someone close asks you, let them know what you need. Sometimes you may need a hand to hold, a shoulder I cry on. Other times you may need someone to get angry on your behalf and motivate you into action.
This is the best part. Why do we need frientimicy? Humans are born with an innate sense of belonging. They need to feel like they belong somewhere. It starts with their parents, though you and I know that many parents don’t offer that sense of belonging, and then when they go to school, with their peers.
A strong social network, especially one with healthy pals, improves your chance of living longer by 50%. It doubles your odds of surviving cancer and wards off colds. Friends may even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, says lead study author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD.
So there you have it. Frientimicy cures cancer.