“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down”.
Oprah Winfrey

Wise words and one person’s take on real friendship. 

But if you asked ten people what makes a true friend, I wonder if you’d get ten different answers?! 

Today is officially World Friendship Day.

Starting in the 1930s, rumour has it that it was a bit of money-making venture by the Hallmark card company. However it morphed over the years, first into a 1950s crusade to promote friendship between people, regardless of culture or religion and more recently being made an ‘official’ day by the United Nations.

Friendship and Mental Health

Friendship (or lack of it) can be crucial to mental health. In a counterintuitive way, we might withdraw from our friendships when we feel down or anxious.

Maybe it’s because we don’t want to burden others with our problems or it upsets us to discuss our true feelings, that we isolate ourselves from the very resource that could give us support and help us through the hard times?

Find someone who will listen


If you have been keeping your distance from friends because you’re struggling with low mood or anxiety, try to let someone know how you feel. Share your feelings with someone you are comfortable with. Give them the opportunity to help and listen to you. Talk about the weather if you don’t want to discuss your situation, thoughts or feelings…just BE with someone else.

Hug-therapy

Giving someone a big squeeze can actually help reduce stress and builds relationships and trust. When we hug, the chemical oxytocin is released and this helps us feel better. Baby animals just love a hug… and grown up ones too! After all, it’s pretty much one of the first things we experience when we’re born. 


Social Phobia

Some people seem to have more friends than Taylor Swift and others are perfectly contented to hang out with one or two special people. If you are comfortable socially, spare a thought for those who dread and avoid social situations through fear of embarrassment or because they don’t think they have anything to offer or that others will think they’re boring.

Socially anxious people may be worried about being judged negatively by others and so they don’t tend to put themselves in ‘threat’ situations. They tend to ‘rehearse’ what they’re going to say beforehand and then pick their performance to pieces afterwards. Unfortunately the more social situations are avoided, the more scary they become.

Help is available for social anxiety and there’s no need to put up with it or feel isolated. You can access Cognitive Behavioural Therapy through your local IAPT service or a private psychotherapist.

Who’d have thought it…some fun friends facts:

Bette Midler and 50 Cent are close friends, having met through their support of a New York charity.

Last year an Independent poll concluded that whilst Britons have on average around 500 ‘friends’ on social media, they have just 5 ‘true and close’ friends…just as we suspected!

King Frederick of Prussia first coined the phrase, “man’s best friend”, about his dogs, back in the 18thcentury.