NPR logo In 2011, Be A Better Friend Or A Better Loner

In 2011, Be A Better Friend Or A Better Loner

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In 2011, will you take tea for one, or for two? Jason Schultz/Flickr hide caption

toggle caption Jason Schultz/Flickr

In 2011, will you take tea for one, or for two?

Jason Schultz/Flickr

As ever, there are a number of takes floating about the web on how to approach your New Year's resolutions.  If you're anything like me, procrastinating might be on your list... If you'd made your list... And weren't instead typing about it, obliquely, midway through January 3. But nevermind that for now.

Instead, let's start with Elizabeth Bernstein in The Wall Street Journal: "Making 2011 The Year Of Great Relationships." Her point seems more than sound — though dieting resolutions are typical, our relationships play a huge role in our overall well-being.

People with strong connections to others may live longer. The quality of our relationships is the single biggest predictor of our happiness.

She offers several strategies for resolutioners (resolutionists?) who heed her advice. But I can't help, then, returning to this video as a counterpoint.

Andrea Dorfman And Tanya Davis YouTube

What about resolving to spend more time with yourself? As poet Tanya Davis of Halifax says,

Society is afraid of alone, though.
Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements.
Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them. 
But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.

If you didn't watch the video, say those lines to yourself, they're mesmerizing. And she, too, has strategies for you.

Start simple. Things you may have have previously avoided based on your avoid-being-alone principles.
The lunch counter, where you'll be surrounded by chow-downers, employees that only have an hour, and  their spouses work across town and so they, like you, will be alone.
Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

So what do you think? Time to nurture your relationships, or nurture your solitude? Whatever you choose, I wish you a happy and healthy 2011.



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