Friendship as Medicine
a wildly underrated medication.
~ Anna Deavere Smith
Though a bit tongue in cheek, the quote highlights the healing nature of friendship. There is nothing like being with a friend, connecting with someone we love and trust to get us through times of sadness, grief, sorrow, uncertainty, pain, depression.... the list can go on. And there is nothing like friendship to share moments of joy and happiness, accomplishments, success, excitement and anticipation.
I often say we are more like dogs than cats. We are social beings who need to connect and to share with others. We don't do well in isolation. We thrive by sharing with others ( and neuroscience has proven this through the idea of "mirror neurons."), by encouraging each other and sharing in our joys and sorrows. Our brains release endorphins, the feel-good hormones, when we are connecting with others.
We are interdependent by nature; often people think they are "codependent" when they are simply depending on others in a healthy, normal way. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you still need friends: People to celebrate with, commiserate with, people you can count on, relationships that let you know in a deep, even visceral way, that you are not alone.
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Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley