The word “friend” has taken on new meaning in the age of social media. Log onto Facebook and take a look at some profiles. Many people have hundreds of friends, some have thousands. How is this possible!
It isn’t of course. Online tools that encourage connecting to people with just a click make it possible to have “friends” that you have never met. Maybe even you have some online friends who are truly strangers.
The important question for your current quality of life and your longevity is: Do you have a social network of real friends or fake friends? And how do you tell a real friend?
One good measure is to think about whether being with or talking to someone energizes you, or whether being with that person takes away your energy.
An important part of the 100 Year Lifestyle is finding people to be with who are energy enhancers in your life. Quality time with friends is an important component of that.
False friends, like acquaintances on social media, can be a drain on your emotional resources, especially if conversations become bitter, as they often can online. An article in The Atlantic magazine, How the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation, reported that today’s teens, called the iGen because they are the first generation to grow up with smartphones, are more susceptible to depression and mental illness than their predecessors. Their lives have become filled with false friends, rather than real friends.
Apply the same ideas when you think about your health care providers. False friends in the world of health care are providers who are looking to give you a quick-fix solution to a problem, or a pill that will kick your problem down the road with side effects that make you worse. They aren’t looking out for your long term best interest in a comprehensive, non-invasive way.
How do you make the lifestyle changes to ensure you are investing your time and energy with true friends?
– Identify false friends in your life, people who seem to always want something from you whenever they call, or who leave you emotionally spent. Eliminate or reduce the amount of time you spend with these people and look for more authentic, fulfilling relationships.
– Use the BOND-LISTEN-LEAD approach to organically create meaningful connections with others. BOND over things you both care about. LISTEN to the other person’s thoughts about their life, experiences and challenges. LEAD by sharing ideas from your own experience.
– Cut down on time online. Instead, create some prime time for get-togethers with true friends.
– Reach out to friends across the generations. Younger friends can be inspiring. Older friends can impart knowledge from their experience.
– In your health care, choose providers that address your immediate and long term health well-being, a quality that many of our patients appreciate about our office.
Look for substantial, not superficial, relationships that energize you, and you will enjoy your longevity while living more fully each day.
The Atlantic, September 2017: How the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198
The 100 Year Lifestyle 2nd Edition
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