why hanging out with close friends is life giving and a necessity (aka the benefits of hanging with close friends)

this year, i’ve been thinking and learning a lot about friendship. i made an intentional choice to have a group of people i consider really close (best?) friends, a group of people i consider close friends, and then everyone else. i wrote a bit about why over here, but the practice is continually teaching me.

i now realize (believe?) that having regular time with close friends is a necessity; not optional. spending time with them gives me energy and that makes the rest of life easier and better. how? some reasons:

they teach me new things

the people i choose to keep close are some of the smartest, most passionate people i know. john rohn says that we’re composites of the five people we spend the most time with and so i want the people who are influencing and shaping me to be people who inspire me. these friends often teach me things they know that i don’t because we come from different places. this makes moving through the rest of my life make more sense because i can draw on experience other than my own. i like to think the teaching and learning goes both ways, too.

i learn about myself

i’m an external processor and so i actually learn what i think in explaining it to someone else. and, yes, this can happen with people i know less well, but it’s different with someone who knows you well. people who know your whole story can make connections across parts of your life that you never had. it’s harder for strangers to do that, though it is possible. close friends can also tell you tough things (because you have built up a foundation of trust) that you couldn’t hear from someone else.

we share resources

my close friends and tend to share resources in a different way than i do with other people. these obviously aren’t hard and fast rules, but i think resources flow more freely because we know we see each other often. sometimes that just means eating food together without worrying about who’s paying what. other times i means sending each other links and articles that are relevant to a degree that only a close friend would know. also, when a close friend tells me that i should meet someone, i know that that’s a really important connection to make; some of those connections have been game changers for me in terms of career and life trajectory.

so yes. close friend hangout time. not optional.