As our readers said yesterday, during hard times friendships really matter.

It may be difficult for you to ask for help if you’re used to being the one who provides it. Perhaps you believe that your self-esteem comes from not needing to depend on others. Now is the time to recognize that, being human, you can receive as well as give support.

Don’t hesitate to buddy up with a friend who is going through similar changes. Accept her love and encouragement as you allow her to feel good about being able to help you. Your friends can provide a supportive network, only if you let them in.

Giving as well as receiving support is beneficial. When you offer as well as accept friendship, you’ll find you are healthier over time. As the 17th century British playwright, Hada Bejar, said, “The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.”

Whether it’s a casual dinner after work or a weekend away at a spa, monthly book clubs or weekly exercise workouts, don’t you love to get together with other women? Friendship shapes who we are and who we are yet to become. If friends counter the stress that swallows up much of our time, are such a source of strength and nourishment, keep us healthy and even add years to our life, we owe it to ourselves to find the time to be with them. It’s crucial to our well-being.

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