Imagine you are getting ready for an important meeting with your trusted advisers. You walk into this beautiful conference room, full of beauty. Around this glistening table sit 6 lovely chairs, waiting for you and your advisers.
You take your place at the table. You are so excited for this meeting because you know that the advisers gathered will give you what you need at this moment.
The issue you are bringing to the table today doesn’t need all their input so you only call a few to this meeting but you know that when a big issue arises, you can call everyone.
These trusted advisers sitting around the intimate room are the friends in your life that are there when you need them. They are the ones you choose to pour wisdom, hope, laughter and love into your life.
As you imagine yourself sitting at this table, who are the people you see sitting at this table that support you, love on you and bring wisdom into your life?
Begin by imagining the most trusted people all sitting around in this intimate gathering table. What are the strengths of the people who surround you, the skill sets that you may be missing?
As you look around the table, are there people that you may need to move to another room — one you visit less frequently?
Or are there people who are missing from around your table — mentors who you need but haven’t found yet or perhaps didn’t realize you needed?
Importance of Friends
Friends play such an important role in our lives and making intentional choices influence the quality of our lives. It’s not the quantity as much as the quality.
According to author Carlin Flora in her book, Friendfluence, friends can give you vital life skills. “the very abilities one generally needs to be successful in life” (p. 6).
For me, my trusted advisers hold a variety of roles, which reflect the facets of my personality. My husband sits at my table as he is my closest friend as does a girlfriend of 34 years with whom I have Bible study breakfast with on a weekly basis. We also love traveling together.
I also have a dear pastor friend, a coaching mentor friend, a prayer partner and a daughter who all pour into my life. Each of them bring a different piece of support that I need.
I also have a college roommate who I know I can call at anytime and a business friend who loves me the way I am. I can only handle a few friends at my conference table at a time.
We don’t meet all at once, but I visualize them sitting at my table and know who I can call on for what.
I also have discovered I am missing people around my conference table. I am a spiritual director, yet currently I don’t have a spiritual director. I need that person in my life to keep me growing and noticing God’s fingerprints.
Value over Time
However, in the backdrop of my conference table are the long-time friends who I can pick up wherever I left off and bring me comfort in memories.
Keeping in touch with childhood friends and friends over time takes effort but research shows it is worth the effort. I love knowing I have friends that are still there from 40 years ago and the memories we have together.
As Susan Krauss Whitbourne , a professor of psychology at University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of the book, The Search for Fulfillment writes,
The upshot is, you need friends and they need you.
How do you make connections with friends if you’re in a new place or your friends have moved away? It takes time and effort, yet studies show that those social connections are also brain healthy as well as good for your soul.
Think about the things that would connect you to people around your conference table — your passions, your interests, your skills. Where do those people hang out?
For example, I am strongly connected to my faith so one base of my circle of advisors comes from my church. They are like my extended family.
Another passion of mine is brain healthy lifestyles. I hope to use a local community Facebook page to find women who are interested in that theme and start a book club.
Also in our area are different meet-up groups that gather around different passions. Meet ups are groups of people that get together, usually for free, around a particular passion. You can search the word, meet-up, for groups gathering in your area.
The Take Away
What about you? How do you connect with your friends? Who is around your conference table?
How do you access the knowledge and wisdom of your friends and how do you share yours?
Having friends takes effort, yet provides support for your daily living and also is good for your brain health.
What will you do to connect with the people around you?
Taking that first step to reach out to people you don’t know can be scary, yet the benefits can outweigh the risks.
Nancy Booth is a certified life coach. I love creating safe spaces for you as you go through life’s transitions to discover and support your vision for health and well-being in an overwhelming world. I write about finding ways to a brain healthy lifestyle.