You can’t have too many friends

Last weekend, my husband and I had a fun time with unexpected company. Friends from years ago.
The first guests were three siblings of Ralph Lehman, who were here to celebrate Ralph’s 90th birthday.
They came Saturday afternoon and I especially enjoyed the visit because we grew up together in Lewis County, N.Y., in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.
Clara Mae and Lyle were in high school with me, although I had no classes with them since it was a large high school. Both my husband and I knew Jane at college.
What fun we had reminiscing and catching up!
The afternoon went so fast, in fact, that I forgot to serve the Ghirardelli chocolates that were supposed to go with our coffee.
Then, soon after the Lehmans left, long-time friend Carolyn called to say she and Harold were in town and would have time for coffee Sunday morning.
I first met Harold Schultz when I was 21 and he was 16. It was my first year of teaching in a small private high school in Kitchener, Ont. In addition to my teaching duties, I worked part-time in the principal’s office.
Harold had finished high school the year before, but Ontario required provincial examinations before graduation. So at the fall graduation, I had the opportunity to hand the diploma to Harold as Mr. Groh, the school principal, shook his hand!
Later, when my husband and I were in seminary, Carolyn and Harold were students in the adjacent college.
After seminary, my husband pastored a church in Edmonton, Alta. And once again our paths crossed when the Schultzes spent a summer in Edmonton as Harold researched a former prime minister for his doctoral dissertation.
So, we were delighted when a decade later, Harold was chosen to be president of the college where my husband taught.
All that history! And once again, we reminisced.
Friends are so important–current friends, friends from years ago, and new friends you haven’t met yet! When writing this column, I found this quote about friendship that I had saved:
“In the quest for better health, many people turn to doctors, self-help books, or herbal supplements. But they overlook a powerful weapon that could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging, and prolong life: their friends.”
So it turns out you can’t have too many friends!
This quote is the beginning of a New York Times’ article entitled, “What Are Friends For? A Longer Life” by Tara Parker-Pope. In this well-researched article, Parker-Pope cites many studies that prove her point.
One interesting 10-year study in Australia looked at the affect of friends on longevity. The researchers found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends.
And more good news as we age. Harvard researchers reported that having lots of friends helps our brains stay healthy.
Parker-Pope also quoted gerontologist Karen Roberto of Virginia Tech, who says, “Friendship is an undervalued resource.”
A resource that makes your life better, no matter what your age.
So, always remember how important it is to cultivate your friends. Why not invite someone over today!
Write Marie Snider at