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Single Baby Boomers can’t do it all on their own. No matter how self-sufficient you are you sometimes need to call on friends for help or just to be there to share your life experiences. Friends fill several of the needs in Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation. He identified five levels of motivation or needs that humans strive to satisfy; Survival, Safety, Social, Esteem, and Fulfillment. In the blog “Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health” at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860 the Mayo Clinic lists the benefits of friendships. According to them friends give us a sense of belonging and purpose, boost our happiness, reduced stress, improved our self-confidence, give us support during traumatic times, and encourage us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good friends are necessary for our health. It’s good to have different types of friends to call on to meet our changing needs. Here are some examples of friends that we all need.
The Confidant-This may be someone who knows your life story and may have lived some of it with you. Sometimes a family member fits the bill. They offer a shoulder to cry on or a kick in the butt when you need it. You trust their judgment so when you’re a hot mess they can take over until you regain your ability to deal with the situation. Listening is just one of their strengths. Knowing how to keep confidence is essential. Just remember to be there for them when it’s their turn.
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The Cheerleader-A friend who cheers you on even if they’re not comfortable joining you on some ventures. They’re at the end of the zip line when you get off and are willing to go close to the edge of the Grand Canyon even if they have a fear of heights. If they can’t be there with you, they call or send a funny, supportive card, text or email to let you know they’re thinking of you when you believe your life has been shattered beyond repair. They’re often the comic relief in some of your most tragic situations and even if you come to them in tears, they buoy you up, bring a smile to your face and you leave feeling better about the circumstances and yourself.
The Caretaker-A person who’s always there for you in your time of need. You may be too sick to drive to the doctor or get groceries, so this friend steps in and takes over until you’re back on your feet. They’re compassionate and never make you feel like you’re a bother. Caretaking is their forte since they’ve had a great deal of experience at home or through their profession.
The Party Animal-You may not be able to stay up as late, party as hardy or as often as you once did but everyone needs a friend who’s available on short notice to meet you for a drink, meal, movie or a night on the town. You may be fine with going out alone, but sometimes you want a pal to dance with or drive you home when you’ve had too good a time.
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The Adventurer-The person you can count on to go with you to exotic places and to explore ideas or activities that you may have been leery of trying on your own. They’ve some of the same interests but are willing to explore new horizons with you. A stamp on their passport is a badge of honor. Spontaneity and a sense of adventure are requirements.
The Sports Buddy-You may want someone who enjoys sports or someone to join you for a workout, swim, hike or other physical activity. It’s often easier to get yourself out of the house and to the gym or walking path if you’re not alone. They may also want to join you at sporting events or just watch the game on TV. It’s fun to cheer for your team with a like-minded friend.
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The Organizer-They belong to your social group and have similar interests which may bring you together at parties or other organizations. These people have the ability to organize activities that everyone enjoys and knows how to get people to pitch in to make the event a success. They make everyone feel needed and appreciated.
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Some friends fit in several baskets. Feel lucky if you have friends who support you and your ideas. Be there for them when they need you. Friendship is a two-way street. Find ways to let them know that you appreciate their friendship even if they tell you that they don’t expect anything. If there’s no way to repay them, then accept their gift graciously and pass the kindness on to another.
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Continue the adventure!