How many groups of friends do you have ? Why do they matter !
A groups of friend inventory
I wouldn’t classify myself as the great socialite of the year but I can generate at least five groups of friends.
- The special friends (the extraordinary few people who are my pillar of strength),
- The family (a bit of a mixed bag, but blood is thicker than water),
- The facebook guys (most of which are really more acquaintances then friends but enjoy peering into their lives)
- The guys I work with (again, not a group I would voluntary hang out with but good for a coffee and chat, especially when I don’t feel like really working),
- The alumi (my collection of “brats” who gave me grey hairs along the way and who I am so proud of).
Actually just warming up, there is the photo club, the church …..
Not bad for a social misfit.
Are you a group-a-holic ?
Well that’s according to research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
They terrorized a bunch of college students by making them stick their hands in freezing cold water and telling them to leave it as long as possible. Before, facing this “horrific” task, the college students were told to think about either 1, 3 or 5 groups to which they belonged. The college students were randomly assigned to the different groups so the “weaklings” should have ended up in all three groups.
The students who thought of 5 groups were able to keep their hands in the freezing cold water for twice as long as those who were only thinking about one group. So feeling like you belong somehow confers resistance to “pain”.
This story is about physical pain but the principle is just as applicable to mental pain i.e. stress.
Build that network
Quantity is key here, not quality.
Meditate on your associations, join a few new groups just to improve your sense of connection. Connecting adds purpose, meaning and “toughness”.
In fact, maybe it is time to retire that photo of your kids or significant other lurking in your wallet, with a list of your groups. When the rubber hits the road you want to be reminded of all those groups rooting for you.Recovering From Strain and Enduring Pain: Multiple Group Memberships Promote Resilience in the Face of Physical Challenges. Social Psychological and Personality Science (2011) 2(3):239-244. J. M. Jones, J. Jetten.
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..