Interview with HealthyWomen – Why friendships are so important

Published: March 9, 2011 | Last Updated: March 9, 2011 By | Reply Continue Reading

March 2, 2011

By Sheryl Kraft


My friendships have always sustained me. I need my friends; I’d like to think they need me, too. In fact, they rank as high on the importance scale as do my husband and children. Yes, a lot of energy goes into my friendships-both passion and pain. Yet I have no doubt that this is a near-universal experience.

It’s no wonder Aristotle said: "Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."

Along with the sustenance friends provide are other emotions they trigger. And those emotions are a mixed bag. Joy comes with startling grief, as in the time I ushered my two best friends through breast cancer in the course of five years, only to be utterly consumed with heartache and disbelief when they both died. That gaping hole in my life, though a bit smaller with time, still remains; I suspect it always will.

Contentment comes with puzzlement when a friend who is close and trustworthy (or so you thought) suddenly abandons the friendship with no explanation. An otherwise ordinary day comes with a delightful and surprising small-world story, when I am remembered by a small kindness I had performed for the new kid in school in second grade, a story time had long wiped clear from my memory. And with the ease of the Internet, I have both found old friends who somehow got away and have myself been found by friends who I’d never suspect still thought of me.

To call friendship complicated underestimates the enormity of it. That’s why I am fascinated when someone actually devotes the time to dissect it and explain it. Dr. Irene S. Levine’s book, Best Friends Forever, is a guide to "surviving a breakup with your best friend." Because, face it, we’ve all had friendships that have burned out, faded away or ended badly. "Whether we are 5, 25, 55 or 75 years old," Irene says, "whether our friendships end slowly (almost imperceptibly) or abruptly, these endings play havoc with our emotions-leaving many unresolved, painful feelings in their wake."


Click here to read Sheryl’s interview with The Friendship Doctor.



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