2 a.m. friends

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored four published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (www.YourRetirementQuest.com).  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives. 

By Alan Spector

How many 2 a.m. friends do you have? And what is a 2 a.m. friend?

If you needed help at 2 in the morning, who would you have absolutely no qualms about calling and know with certainty he or she would be on the way to help you with no questions asked? And vice versa.  It doesn’t matter where they live—they would be on their way.  The close personal relationships could be with friends or relatives.

These are not your hundreds of Facebook friends.  And they are not your many “work friends.” Frequently, when we retire, we learn that work friends were really only colleagues or work acquaintances, at best.

Why are 2 a.m. friends so important? Did you know that the negative effect of not having close relationships has the same longevity consequence as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, or being an alcoholic, or not exercising, or being obese?  

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Take a few moments and list your 2 a.m. friends.  We actually had one woman in a workshop declare she had 27 of them. Everyone else was struggling to list very many at all, and there was a collective groan of disbelief. She began reading the names, and for every one mentioned, her husband nodded his head and said, “Yep.”  That’s what we heard—name, name, name…and “Yep, Yep, Yep.”  How many do you have?

Depending on which research you read, you might conclude that you should have a list of greater than seven and some say greater than 12 to reap the full benefit of close personal relationships.

Who would you call at 2 a.m.?