Close friends are priceless. That doesn’t mean you can’t assess their value.
At least, that’s the logic presented by Blue Zones, an organisation that says it is, “Inspired by the world’s longest-lived cultures,” and shares articles and quizzes to “help people live longer, better by improving their surroundings”.
And your friends are a major part of your surroundings — they’re the people we’ve managed to connect with at school, at work, and other close quarters where human contact is unavoidable. If we’re lucky, our friends show up for us and we show up for them.
Research shows that friends can have a long-term impact on our health. In fact, if your best friends are obese, you’re about twice as likely to be overweight. The following exercise is for you only. You don’t need to turn this in. You don’t need to share it. It’s just an honest assessment for your own reflection.
Kind of an odd example, but it is true that there are times when we want to change or improve our lives and consider how the people in it are making that easier and harder.
The questions on the quiz range from “During the past month, how often has this person felt sad or depressed?” to “How many sweets or cans of soda pop does the person eat and drink daily?” to “How often does the person attend religious activities?”
You also have to answer these questions for yourself, and see where you align. There are columns for four friends, and at the end of the assessment you’ll confirm what you already know: Some friends are very different from you. And some of them are possibly also making your life shorter.