As a widow my friends became even more important in my life. But I didn’t always appreciate them or the support they tried to give me. I ran hot and cold – some days I didn’t want to be alone and wanted all their attention and other days I wouldn’t answer their calls.
I didn’t understand how my grief was affecting my friendships and some drifted away. But today, years later, I value my friends and those friendships are healthy because I make an effort to appreciate them.
A Brigham Young University study states that you get more than a little help from your friends – healthy friendships improve your chance of living longer by 50%. It doubles your odds of surviving cancer and can even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
• They offer constructive advice.
• They don’t have to always get their own way.
• Lives close enough that you can meet face-to-face.
• Doesn’t complain about your grieving.
• Are usually happy about life.
• Listens with sympathy when you need to talk.
• Acts the same with you as in front of others.
• Understands that you’re hurting.
• They are tactful and faithful.
• Never talking behind your back.
• They make you laugh out loud, a lot.
• Chats with you at least once a month.
Supportive friendships will help you cope with the stress of grief, so that the negative effects on you physically and emotionally will be lessened. We women are hardwired for emotional connection and need this support even more when we become widows.
So, take time to call or visit your healthy friendships. Tell them how much they mean to you and make sure you get a hug before you leave.