London, UK

Why do friends make us so happy?

‘Friendship is the sweetest flower’

“Will you be my friend?” I am claiming that as life’s greatest question. Who remembers plucking up the courage to ask it at school? I do, I bagged myself Nina. My first bestie. We whittered away summers playing kirby, climbing tree’s, buying sweets and devouring her Mums spag bol. The only friend I would ever need, I decided one afternoon playing hopscotch. I was raised on friendship. My Mum’s life was full of them, she has a friend for everything but Zara was always her BFF. Best friends are a special type of flower. Though years on and many friendships since school, I’ve learned friendship is something there is plenty of room for. They may not all be Nina’s, still they are precious. Every single one.

 I never forget something a client I met in real estate said one afternoon over peppermint tea. Two things actually. The first was asking whether I found private jet travel exhausting? Having been more of an easy jet girl myself, I side-swept the question. The second was that the only thing he collected, was people. We never closed a deal though he became a part of my collection. Friendship is life’s greatest collection. A garden we fill with timeless flowers which we can take a peek into shortly. Though first, let’s explore why friendship is essential for happiness.

Why we need them

Friends are the best, truly. They are the propellers towards our biggest transformations. The arms we fall into when we fall apart, the “you have got this” before an interview, armed with insights we can never find on google. Friendship is life tonic. The most organic remedy for happiness on earth is a friend. As Bette Middler belted out on Broadway, they are the “wind beneath our wings”. It’s no surprise then that when it comes to company, friends take the top spot as happiness-boosters. Don’t believe me? It’s true, science says as I discovered on happify, an online vacation bubbling with happy vibes. 

Let’s face it, right back from the get go friendship has been the ultimate feel-good factor. At school it was all about sleepovers, girl power and boy talk. That matures to wine Wednesday’s, brunches and coffee dates. Friendship is a relief from adulting, being careful and deadlines. Friends remind us we were born to play, and creativity loves to have fun. Which is why those office breaks and long lunches can help us to turn germs of ideas into gems of ideas. Those conversations are where the magic happens. Happiness is the secret sauce of success, and friendship is a golden resource.

 A friend is a magic mirror for what we cannot see. They listen and encourage without judgment or expectation, providing a place to explore ourselves with joy and curiosity. Age is no barrier, nor is gender, career or whether we want children. Some even come with a tail. The way we make our friends may mature a tad since the playground, though essentially it remains the same. Two souls who choose to enjoy each other. We know when we have found one, take Vanessa. We hit it off in a coffee bar one Saturday over a cute dog. And just like that, a chance conversation turned into two years of fun. Friendship is a velvet slide of memories in the playground of life. Keep your eyes peeled and your heart open, a friend could be anywhere.  

It’s best to pick friends like we do our flowers, remembering variety is the spice of life. Each season brings different blooms, some last forever and some fade away. Friendship is an experience, one way or another it always leaves us with something. Much like there is a flower for every occasion, every friend plays a different role in our lives. Each a catalyst for our becoming in their own sweet way. Though there are always a few classics in every collection. 

Explore the garden

The Roses– It’s only fair we kick things of with the besties. These special bonds take time to blossom and when they do, they become home. A place to be vulnerable, the keeper of our secrets. There for the best of times and hellish of times. We rely more on our best friends than any other. When it comes to the first shout out, by Jove they have earned it. 

The Lilies –Need some fun? Call a Lillie. These social butterflies are always up for a good time. They are the mid-week pick me ups and the last -minute plans. You may not see or hear from them every day. And don’t be surprised when they disappear. They always come back and when they do, boy they have some great stories. 

The Willow– Who do you call for inspiration? For wisdom? For strength? That’s your willow. They guide us through life, support us to grow and stand tall. To make better choices. A willow inspires the strength to trust your heart. When life throws a curve ball, we all need a willow on speed dial.

The Wild orchids- Oh what a bunch! These are the wild cards, the overnight friendships. The chums we pick just for the thrill of it. The universe loves a wild heart and these are an essential for every friendship garden. You girls know when you get together, there is always mischief. 

Taking care of friendships

Every friendship is unique. Some stay in bloom with an occasional message, while others need watering every day. We wander in and out of our garden intuitively, and that is the joy of friends. The relationship feels easy, a happy place that makes life sweeter. We find our own ways of showing we care. When it comes to the crunch, all that matters is we do our best to be there for them when they need us. For the tough conversations as well as the celebrations. Showing gratitude for the joy they bring is something we are all guilty of forgetting from time to time. If you have a friend who could do with some love right now, there is one worldwide tried and tested way to light up their heart. Send flowers of course. As if there is one thing to be sure of; friendship is the sweetest flower. 

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