Gayle Martz’s latest book, IT’S IN THE BAG, is the gift that keeps on giving. While it is can be categorized as an entrepreneurial how-to book, if you look a little closer, Martz’s book is packed full of truth and hard-earned wisdom for life. One topic Martz shines a light on is friendship, specifically the importance of having a “spiritual soulmate,” or at least one genuine, close friend with whom to share your hopes, fears, and dreams. Experts agree, there are real benefits to having a few good friends. Martz, author, entrepreneur, and pet-travel advocate, seems to intuitively know these wise truths and shares them in her latest book which is also available on audiobook. Here’s why less is more when it comes to friendship.
Less is More
An article for Inc.com outlines the research on friendship from the 1990s by Robin Dunbar, which is still widely accepted today. The research states that people are capable of knowing and maintaining a basic level of connection with 150 people. Beyond 150, social networks seem to break down. Of those 150 people, three to five are close friends or family. Three to five! Contrary to what social media leads us to believe, our ability for social connection is limited, and less really is more. It is important to identify those few good friends and invest your time and hearts with them, strengthening those relationships for a better quality of life much like Martz proposes in her book.
True Friendship Takes Time and Intention
If you have twenty best friends, chances are you don’t know any of them well. You may know the gist of their lives but that’s probably it, because with that many friends, the likelihood that you spend significant amounts of time with any of them is slim. Research reported in an article for Springer Genus, a peer-reviewed journal for population sciences, found that real friendships, based on intensity (or time spent together) and quality of friendship (or satisfaction in friendship) increased a person’s “life satisfaction.” Basically, you need to spend a lot of quality, one-on-one time with a friend to truly build a strong relationship. Having a large group of friends means you’re likely spending a little bit of time with each one, often in a large group setting, therefore never getting past the basics. Consider investing your time and your heart in those three to five closest friends for better life satisfaction.
Martz offers some solid advice on cultivating strong friendships: “Pay attention to their feelings and make sure you let them know emphatically, that you are their biggest fan just as they are for you. Pay attention to their feelings and make sure they feel seen and heard.” A true friend is unconditional in every way. They accept you, love you, listen, and show up…unconditionally. Consider who in your life is unconditionally there for you, never judging you, instead rooting for you and lifting you up when things fall apart. That’s a real friend. Invest your time and energy in that relationship.
Bottom line—the more we engage with social media and screen-time friends or large groups of acquaintance-friends, the less time and energy we invest in true, meaningful friendships. Martz may not have known the research behind her idea of a spiritual soulmate, but she couldn’t have been more right. Grab a copy of Martz’s latest book, IT’S IN THE BAG, for a whole lot of hard earned wisdom on everything from persevering in business to spiritual soulmates.
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