The year 2020 was a year filled with learnings. The year taught us to slow down from the never-ending rat race and enjoy the things in front of us and spend time with your loved ones. During the lockdown, most of us have reconnected with our friends after a long time. While it’s good to cherish all those wonderful times you’ve had together, have you ever felt yourself investing too much into that friendship compared to your friend? Or you often find yourself caring more for your friend more than he/she does? Or felt upset because you drifted apart from a childhood friend?
Neuropsychologist Hannah Korrel along with Mamta Saha, together share their insights on the topic of friendship. When we cut off ties with a friend, we often desperately crave closure, whereas the other person seems completely unbothered. Dr. Hannah Korrel explains that wanting closure is specific to each individual, and each individual must go with their “feeling.” For example, if you are a “cool” person and have tons of friends and are loved by all, you wouldn’t care if the other person has hurt you and would move on. This mentality is commonly portrayed on social media, and through various Netflix shows that being unbothered is much more cooler. In contrast, it’s different for a person who genuinely cares about you, and when things are not going well.
Suicides among celebrities are growing. We instantly think that this person would have so many friends and looked like they had many friends but were lonely in reality. Research has shown that it’s not about the number of friends but the quality of those friendships. They found this positive effect of friendship in the older generation of people, even if they had just one or two quality friends. The constant pressure of being famous and surrounded by people on social media has impacted many people’s mental health. For example, a lack of response from the group chats or if nobody wants to attend my birthday party must mean that I’m not a good enough person. We feel like everybody has heaps of friends. Still, in real life, the survey conducted in the UK, America, and Australia revealed that many people have just one or two friends and 50% feel lonely. We want to be popular; therefore, we hesitate to voice various issues. Such as, “I’m upset you didn’t accept my request on Facebook, or I’m lonely” because no one wants to come off as a person who cares too much. An essential step in friendship is communicating values with your friends that may not be aligned and sharing how we feel about that misalignment or the lack of alignment.
Most of us have had friends who were with us for a long time. We tend to believe that since we’ve been friends with a particular person for a longer period, they’ll always be with us. However, this is not true. Longevity does not necessarily equal quality in friendship. It’s not about the number of years that matters but the quality of the relationship. It is good to honour the relationship you had with the person and accept that the two of you have drifted apart.
It is crucial to pay attention to the quality of friends you have and not the quantity. The quality of friends in our lives determines the quality of our health, stress levels, and experiences of life.
Thank you so much to Nissi James for your amazing guest contribution this week and Hannah Korrel for your brilliant psychological insights.
For more insights go to ‘Saha Mindset’ on Spotify for our latest podcast.