Friends play an integral role in hygge. However, that’s only the case when they provide you with something.
This isn’t to say that you should only spend time with someone if they can give you ‘things.’ Instead, it’s more about something that is nurturing in some respect. You need to seek friendships that have a give and take concept rather than friends who just take, take, and take some more. Those friends do not lend themselves to the concept of hygge. They add stress and ill-feeling—two things that you always want to avoid.
So, how do you determine the friends to keep and the role that they are then going to play in your life?
Social Media Friend Types
Let’s start with something that is still relatively new in the history of humankind—social media. Look at your list of friends on Facebook. They all serve a purpose, but whether that purpose is positive or negative, remains to be seen. Here are some typical types of friends you may have via social media and how to best use this means of communication.
- Share pictures (either publicly or privately) of children for grandparents to see their daily progress
- create group chats so siblings can stay connected and talk freely
- share new stories that might interest others
• Good Friends
- create events to help determine what dates work best
- share recipes and helpful advice
- enjoy seeing their family moments
• Old Friends
- share stories or pictures and reminisce about childhood and school
- plan meet-ups once a year to stay in touch and relive good times
- keep up to date with what they are doing so that even if a while passes before you can see them again, you still feel like a part of their lives
• Online Only Friends
- accept that you don’t have time to socialize in person, but acknowledge that you still respect them
- remember how and where you met them and their importance in that time of your life
• Negative People that Upset You
- realize that there will always be people that have different views than you
- accept that you can’t change other people; you can only change yourself
- move on from them and remove them from your life, both online and in-person
Different people serve different purposes. It is ok to have a lot of people you are friends with on social media. Just make sure those people are more than just a number. Use the essence of hygge to acknowledge how they make your life better. If they don’t, then there is no point in keeping them around.
The Role Friends Should Play
Friends should be people that you enjoy being around. Nothing should feel forced. In Denmark, people make a point of spending time with their closest friends regularly. They swap stories, share their thoughts on various subjects, and the entire event is a relaxed, enjoyable time where you feel as if you have connected with people.
Everybody has an ease with how they get on with one another. There is no sense of someone being better than somebody else. Flaunting your wealth or being materialistic is frowned upon.
Friends should bring a sense of warmth to the table. In hygge, every individual should have different people that they know they can turn to when they have problems that they wish to share. They know the individual in their social circle that can help them from a relationship point of view, or a problem at work or whatever may be wrong.
This sense of being relaxed around people due to how you trust them with so many of your secrets helps to calm the mind and make life seem so much easier to bear. It does take on the concept that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and we are all aware of how that alone can relax the mind and make things seem as if they are not so bad after all.
How Friends Work in Hygge
This heading may sound peculiar, but there is an actual art to how the Danes approach friendships and incorporate them into hygge. Now, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was all about being cozy and comfortable, and it does still apply in this instance.
We mentioned how friends need to provide you with something, and if you think about the earlier posts regarding objects and items, you can see how dealing with your friends can fall under the same rules and regulations.
To provide you with a better explanation, we can head back to Denmark and look at what happens with friendships and how people come together. They are experts at incorporating the concepts of hygge into their interactions, so we should seek to learn a substantial amount from them.
For the Danes, meeting up with friends is not only done on a regular occasion, but it is also a joyous event every single time. The atmosphere is one that is laid back and relaxed with nobody cast as the outsider; everyone is involved and made to feel welcome. Indeed, this sense of making people feel welcome extends to those that you live near to as well, so there is a real community feel to the place, and this is something that you should seek to incorporate into your very own attempts at hygge.
To further stress how friends work, we can paint a picture of a typical gathering in Denmark. Remember, this can happen every single week, so while we tend to try to gather as many friends as possible, the Danes prefer a more minimalistic approach. It is more about the quality of the friends rather than how many of them that you appear to have that is important.
So, once a week, friends will either get together to go off and enjoy an experience, or they will look at meeting up at the home of one of the group with this often happening on a rotating basis. Once together, there will be several drinks, some food to eat, and a tendency to discuss things and life in general. Some people also prefer to add some music to help with the atmosphere, so that is certainly worth considering.
For the décor, it does depend on the time of day, but on several occasions, it will be the afternoon for obvious work-related reasons. However, you should still look at making things as comfortable as possible, no matter how many people may be about to visit you.
With the aspect of the soft furnishings, you may want to consider more cushions that are plumper and have real feathers inside. They feel much better, as well as look more impressive. Lighting is going to play a role, and the Danes will go back to what they know best, which includes fairy lights and a plethora of candles. It adds to the atmosphere and makes everything seem more relaxed.
Remember, if you are nice and relaxed, then it is harder for people to try to pull the wool over your eyes as the mind is so much sharper. That is the one thing that everybody tries to attain when they have friends over, so do think about the personalities of the individuals that will be there and make sure that the atmosphere you are trying to achieve fits in well with the majority of the group.
It may sound as if there is a lot of internal politics when it comes to this, but that is not the case. Hygge focuses on being careful with every aspect of friends coming together.
Steps to Implement
At the end of most posts, we are looking at several steps that you might want to take should you wish to go ahead and implement some of the points that were made during the post.
In this instance, the main steps are related to not having too many friends and clearing out those on social media that just sit there and bring nothing to your particular table. Social media should be an extension of your real life. Instead of trying to collect the most amount of friends, look for meaningful relationships.
Also, with the friends that nurture you and provide you with the kind of friendship you are looking for, you must make sure that you do not allow that friendship to slip on by. It’s a case of keeping in touch with people, showing an interest, and not doing it from a distance, if at all possible.
Facebook is good at reminding you when a friend’s birthday is, but instead of simply typing in a quick ‘happy birthday,’ think about how you can bring a real smile to that friend’s day. Post a meaningful picture of the two of you that brings up fond memories. Or better yet, call and have a conversation with your friend. Showing an interest isn’t about grand gestures. Rather, it is about caring enough to make an extra effort.
The Danes believe that these close friendships nurture the soul and improve life. These friendships should be allowed to grow and develop. Meeting up with friends should be something to look forward to and treasure. It should be done regularly due entirely to the various positives associated with the experience. It should be a perfect blend between the idea of hygge and friendship.