I recently returned from several days away with women friends I have known for over 30 years but who live in other parts of the country. Returning from that short trip and plunging into my work again was more challenging than my experience had been with longer trips. I wondered why.
The easy camaraderie, sharing of kitchen tasks and frequent bursts of laughter were reflective of our treasured history together. We teased one another, referenced past traumas and acknowledged each other’s skills and accomplishments. We wrapped our days in a cocoon of togetherness and fun that provided warmth and comfort. Cocoons don’t last for caterpillars or for groups of friends.
But, in the midst of the chaos, divisiveness and crises that seem bombards us every day in the news, this cocoon offered a suspension of those concerns and an opportunity to appreciate the significance of friendship. The research tells us (“Women and Stress”) that turning to women friends in times of stress and crises is both an emotional and a physical characteristic which the experts call “tend and befriend”. This friendship cocoon offered a shelter amidst the stress of deadlines, commitments, tasks and the anxiety of our turbulent world. It was hard to give it up.
In our 3rd Act workshops www.the3rdact.com we emphasize the importance of keeping and nurturing our friendships for both men and women. Friends contribute to our health and longevity as we age. They are especially important as partners and spouses pass on. Friendships provide solace, comfort and connection; friendships take us out of our own self-absorption and give us opportunities to share and give to others. I discovered that others recently have also had a challenging re-entry after spending time with close friends. Perhaps we need to bring more connection and close friends into our everyday interactions to balance the stress of work demands, organization commitments and the daily news.
Do you have a friendship story you would like to share?