I like to think of myself as well-informed. I try to learn new things, read a lot, and keep up with many industries. I will admit that I am not an expert in all fields. When I need to make major decisions in those areas, I ask someone for help. Calling a mechanic when that ambiguous engine light comes on or speaking with a financial adviser when we want to save for retirement is good advice. Many times this advice comes from a friend.
Friends are more than someone with whom we go to movies, play games, or share gossip—and I don’t advocate gossiping. They can share their experiences and guide us through life. The close social ties that we build in life can even help us save time and money. Unless of course, your friends—or sister—encourages you to impulse shop for a solo canoe at an outdoor outfitter, but that’s another story for another time.
Yes, friends can save us some cash. I’ve never been a big coupon-cutter. I usually go to the grocery store with my list in hand and try to stick to it, although, not always successfully. I do save a little on using store brand products, but I could easily save more by taking advantages of the sales.
Many of my friends will tell me if certain items are on discount, especially if they know I use those products. I can check my inventory and take advantage of the price drop to stock up. If we want to be savvy shoppers, we can look to our buddies for the best buys.
Friends can keep us informed. Short of being a neighborhood watch, my friends tell me when there are occurrences of strangers in the area, or someone loses a pet. If a friend’s family member passes away, we can message each other to arrange meal delivery for the bereaved.
As my children went through school, my compatriots with older kids had already experienced academic rituals and routines. They recommended individual teachers or how to help my kids get by in class. I also learned through my close connections what areas were the most accessible places to pick up my kids after school instead of fighting with the chaotic traffic and buses.
Of course, friendship is a two-way street. As friends, we can give back. There were many times that I shared what I learned about good school supplies that didn’t disintegrate after one semester. I also passed on tips to younger friends dealing with their toddlers. It really does take a village, people.
Friends can be therapeutic too. I am not a mental health expert or advise you not to seek the help of a medical professional when you need it, but there are times when confiding in an acquaintance can help our emotional state. If we feel stress building up because we’ve had one of those days, phoning a friend can ease the tension. They can be that shoulder to cry on or cheerleader to bolster us.
Our friends may not be experts in finance, engineering, or medicine, but they are valuable assets when it comes to getting through life. We don’t need hundreds of friends either. A select few of close-knit friends and family is all we need to have a rich and fulfilling existence.
Let’s face it; the buddy system is more than something to keep us safe. It’s a connection that makes life worth living.