Monday, July 11, 2005

Psychology of Friendship

Recent brain research says that the area of the brain that lights up when we are in love is not the "sex" area as many researchers (men, I would guess) assumed, but the "reward" centers. That would mean that the same area lights up for bonuses from your boss as from bon mots from your mate.

I wonder what part of your brain lights up for good friends? While in NY last week, my family travelled uptown, downtown, mid-town and around Manhattan on a Circle-Line with three of my most favorite friends and their families. We rode subways, cabs and boats together. We walked blocks and blocks and sweaty blocks together. We saw Washington Square, the Statue of Liberty, and rode the elevator up the Empire State Building together. We ate at John's Pizza and Carnegie Deli together.

We split the bills between us. In all there were 19 people ranging from 3 months to pushing 60. And we were happy through it all.

My friends and I, while all Type A's most days, moved from experience to experience with ease. For me, I wouldn't have cared if we ate hot dogs from a vendor and spent the day looking at the world go by in Central Park. Just being with them was enough.

No, it was more than enough. It was a gift. I love them. They love me. Their kids are beautiful, funny, sweet representations of them and so I love them too.

There may have been a time when I was too worried about stuff to enjoy and be present, but on that day--July 5--each moment was like a nice buzz from champagne.

The high will keep me going for some time. Maybe the "intoxication" area of the brain lights up around good friends. No hangover. No sickness. Just sweet emotion. Wouldn't that be great?
More blogs about the woodlands rita.