Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash.
Why do we as humans need friends? People with strong friendships are actually shown to live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives. I could ramble on about it, but this TED Talk by Susan Pinker is an expert talking about her field in a way we can all understand.
Why do we as Christ-followers need friends? Off the bat, for the same reason that we need them as humans. In addition to that, we should be striving to be more like Jesus, you know the guy who puts “Christ” in “Christian.” There are plenty of examples in the Bible of good friends, but perhaps none better than Jesus himself. He had the 12 disciples and an inner circle of 3. I would be willing to bet that most of us have a similar friend matrix.
But what do we gain from friendship and community? To name a few: joy, fun, laughter, support, accountability, avoidance of loneliness and intellectual stimulation. We could go on. Depression and loneliness are higher than ever right now. I don’t think it is a coincidence that we know more of what everyone is doing, but feel lonelier and more isolated than ever before because we learn about everyone else through a screen.
So what are the actionable things we can do? One of the best lines from Susan Pinker’s talk was about how we need to build social interaction into our cities, workplaces and agendas. Yes building social interaction into our cities and workplaces is nice, but the reality is, most of us don’t have the ability to change too much of either of those. I thought the most important part of the talk was subtle, it is building social interaction into our agenda -- the one thing that we all control. We need to make regularly getting together with friends a priority and a part of our schedules and routines, no matter what that looks like.