The Key to longevity: lots of friends.

The secret isn't a big secret, those with the largest number of friends survive the longest.

But don't go accepting a bunch of friend requests on your facebook account. We're talking about real friendships, the ones you actually pick up the phone to reach, or make a lunch appointment to catch up. And those few with whom you get to see daily sharing recipes and eggs.

Studies have shown that older people with a good set of friends they associate with, live longer and happier lives. As a woman in my forties, I figured I should be planting the seeds of friendship and  cultivating them today so when harvest arrives (at 65), I will have good friends to socialize with. 

Some will never go further than the status of acquaintance, others will develop into deeper relationships, and then there will be those that will disappear for various reasons. Starting now will most definitely get me a lot of friends by the time I am retired.

Not long ago, my girlfriend and I were strolling through the mall, looking for a store where we would spend our gift cards, and we saw four ladies sitting in front of Nordstrom where they have nice seating and tables. they were having a good time chatting and playing scrabble, so involved in their activity they were unaware of their surrounding. We chuckled saying that's what we'll be doing someday. It was however such a nice thing to witness, thinking of so many older folks alone in their homes with no one to talk to, these ladies had each other and were happy.

I am very busy and so are many other women, juggling work, family, husband, the kids, school volunteering, the activities and so on. It seems there isn't that many hours in the day, but I always take ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in late afternoon (coinciding with my coffee breaks) to call up a friend. I keep in touch with those far away, those who hardly pick up the phone and make a conscious effort to accept invitation for coffee or tea even if I am tired or have loads of laundry to do.

Friendships will fade if you don't nurture them. What I love the most is spending quality time, even if it's just half an hour over coffee, chatting and specially finding ways to laugh together. 

I should add laughter to one of the secrets to longevity!

I believe a few good close friends who understand you, who hear you (even when you're not talking), those are the true friends that will stick around. Nothing more satisfying than calling up a friend you haven't heard from for a long time and still feel it was just yesterday you spoke.

So don't let your daily grind control you, pick up the phone and call that friend, you'll be igniting a tremendous good feeling within them and yourself and know that you'll be contributing to your longevity.

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