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Friendships Can Promote Health at Any Age
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Monday, November 6, 2023


As we age, our circle of friends may decrease, but it’s important to see how these relationships can be increased and why that would be a good idea.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

In a world where we think we’ve gotten everything categorized and figured out, there is a new “kid on the block,” and it’s the science of friendship, an area of great importance that has been neglected. Friendships are health-promoting activities, undeniably.

Findings from psychological studies on what constitutes a “high quality” friendship can provide guidance on how to find and maintain friends.

One such quality is intimacy, which implies that those who value emotional intimacy might develop enduring friendships. As companionship is another essential component of a strong relationship, it’s a good idea to make connections with individuals who share your interests, values, and hobbies. In fact, interests and/or hobbies are one way to widen or deepen your friendships and interact with many more people with whom you will feel both comfortable and drawn to as friends.

Individuals who have close friends and confidants report higher levels of life satisfaction and lower rates of depression. Additionally, they have a lower chance of passing away for all reasons, such as heart issues and a variety of chronic illnesses.

Additionally, studies indicate that even the smallest social connections across the lifespan may have a significant impact, that friendships can be formed and sustained at any age, and that friendships can support or replace love relationships. You’re never too old to make new friends.

Once you decide where or how you might begin to establish new friendships, what are the factors that enter into it? For one thing, mutually stimulating conversations are key, and learning appropriate questioning and answering techniques is essential. What you want is a deeper conversation that isn’t confined to the usual pleasantries.

Ask the other person a more intimate inquiry by formulating a thought-provoking query or by using anything they have revealed to you as an opportunity. The level of discussion doesn’t have to be increased as gradually as you would think. Most people, if they are the friend-seeking type, will gladly tell you about themselves and want to hear the same from you.

The problem here is that not everyone is adept at these types of conversations and tend to avoid them because they feel awkward. But even disagreement about subjects can be handled adeptly by following a few simple “rules” set out by research. These are the HEAR imperatives:

Hedge your claims
I think it’s possible that…”
“This might happen because…”
“Some people tend to think
Emphasize agreement
I think we both want to…”
“I agree with some of what you are saying…”
“We are both concerned with
Acknowledge other perspectives
I understand that…”
“I see your point…”
“What I think you are saying is
Reframe to the positive
I think it’s great when…”
“I really appreciate it when…”
“It would be so wonderful

Once you begin to use and practice using these aids, conversations can be much more engaging and enjoyable because you are doing what is essential to all conversations: listening and showing understanding of the other person’s view.

Now you’re on your way with new skills and new friendships.

Website: www.drfarrell.net

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Twitter: @drpatfarrell

Attribution of this material is appreciated.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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