"If we got married tomorrow, who would you have in the wedding party?"
I expected him to rattle off a long list of names and have trouble deciding on just four or five. To my surprise, he named three men, thought a little more, and named one more. Easy as that. When I pressed my boyfriend further on how he decided so quickly, he put it simply.
"Yeah, I have a lot of friends. But not many of them are deep friendships," he said.
Watch: Best friends: Translated. Post continues below.
He suddenly made my list of few friends feel a lot less small. I’d always felt insecure that I wasn’t the best at managing a large circle of friends. Yet, I felt some sort of pressure to do so, anyway.
Two words stuck out to me that my boyfriend said. Deeper friendships. And I’ve been thinking about them ever since.
For those of us that feel a lack in our social lives, I’d argue this: maybe, what we’re missing isn’t more. Perhaps we’re craving something that casual friends to grab drinks with won’t fill. Maybe what we’re actually looking for is substance; a connection we’d want to stand beside us on one of the most important days of our lives.
Maybe you don’t need more friendships, you need deeper ones.
Humans are social animals in that we crave connections with other people. Studies show that close friendships help people live longer and lower rates of mental health disorders.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that more friendships are better. The part of friendships that we all benefit from is intimacy. In other words, we want to connect with a person in ways we don’t connect with our family members, colleagues, acquaintances, etc.
And while close friendships are important to human health, they’re not always the easiest to make. Taking a friendship from the "grab a drink" kind of friend to one that you’d call in a time of need isn’t the easiest for people.
In a 2017 Tedx Talk, Shasta Nelson talked about the three things any friendship needs to become a more in-depth connection: positivity, consistency, and vulnerability.
Let’s talk about each a little more.
Think about a friend that, after hanging out with them, you felt drained. Maybe it’s because they always talk about themselves, or perhaps they bring out the worst qualities in you. Whatever it may be, it causes you to feel a distance from them.