Friendships are an essential ingredient in a fulfilling, happy life. However as we grow older, our paths differ and society becomes more fragmented, we seem to be less able to make new connections or transform acquaintances into close friends. However our need for significant, strong connections has not changed. In 2015, Harvard Medical School director, Robert Waldinger, said that the best predictor of people’s mental and physical wellbeing at 80 years old was the health of their friendships and partnerships at 50. Not wealth or exercise but meaningful connection.
It’s time we gave friendships the care and attention they deserve! so how do we do this? Ryan and Robin, from Kitestring have been researching this topic for a while and continue to run projects that are exploring what’s uniquely challenging about friendship and community in the modern context and what opportunities exist to build stronger connections. You can read another fantastic article about close friendships here.
Based on Kitestring’s research (you can read their booklet here), containers hold deep friendships. So what is a container? From a weekly neighbourhood dinner to a community project, a monthly book club, a local sports club, a weekend Skype date… so many kinds! A good container has to balance three things:
- Air: An activity or event other than “catching up” that allows for some breathing room in your meetings. Without this, things can all be a bit intense!
- Intention: The opposite of “air”. An acknowledgement or sense that you’re there to spend time with each other. A willingness to be vulnerable. Without this, you could just be two random people hanging out in the same space!
- Rhythm: Some sort of structure or frequency.
Based on this research, here is what we propose to you: