In the digital age, making friends is easier than it has ever been with social media allowing for instant and ongoing connections with a virtually limitless number of people. On Facebook alone, today’s average user has more than 300 friends.
As with most things, however, quantity does not necessarily translate to quality.
“How many friends should you have?” asks Mark Lacek, author of the book “So, Who’s In Your Circle?” and creator of the My-Circle app. “It is something you need to consider if you want to build bonds with your friends that are stronger than ever and walk through this crazy and exciting life together. The digital age calls us to be a mile wide and an inch deep when it comes to friendships. But focus matters.”
Mark’s philosophy regarding friendship is that loyal friends are the only kinds of friends you want in your life. He also knows that having and enjoying loyal friendships takes some work. His book provides a roadmap for whittling down the ever-growing “friends list” we have built on social media to create a more manageable and satisfying personal social network.
“My goal in authoring my book is to help people intentionally, efficiently, and effectively determine how many of their friends can reasonably fit into their lives,” Mark says. “Our lives are so busy that it is a challenge to make time for friendships. We need a strategy for optimizing our time with friends and building deeper relationships with the ones who matter most.”
Optimizing your circle of friends
When it comes to friendships, many people have an inner circle. These are your “besties.” They are typically the two to five people who you cannot imagine doing life without.
Your inner circle is important, but it should not represent the totality of your friendships. Right outside of that inner circle should be a group of great friends who have won your trust, loyalty, and respect. Mark calls these people “My 25” and recommends an intentional approach to identifying who they are.
“If you are blessed with a broad array of friends, you know that they are true gold in life,” Mark says. “But we are not good at, nor have we typically given much thought to, organizing our friends. What can we do that will allow us to optimize our friendships over the course of our lives?”
Mark offers the following steps in his book for identifying those who would rank as our top 25 friends:
- For those who work outside the home, begin by thinking about relationships with those whom you see most often. Close friends often are found in this group. However, spending a lot of time with someone does not automatically make them a close friend. You might log a lot of hours with a coworker during the day but never connect with that person outside of work. Those types of relationships probably would not qualify as one of your top 25 friendships.
- Think of the friends you turn to when you have a problem and need help or advice. These are probably the people that you feel you can count on. You trust what they have to say and you respect them.
- Think of the people who feel close to you even though they are far away geographically. If you have maintained a friendship with someone who lives several states away, that is a good indicator that they are a close friend.
- Look at the lists of calls and texts on your phone or direct messages in your social media accounts. They provide a great gauge of the people who matter in our lives. That is not to say that your closest friends are those with whom you communicate most often; however, if you rarely place a call or send a text to someone, they probably will not rank among your top 25 friends.
Being intentional about friendships
The digital age has made it easier to have an abundance of friends, though it still hasn’t helped when it comes to authenticity in relationships. To find true happiness in our friendships, it is critical that we identify who our true friends are and focus our time and energy on them.
“There are so many studies that prove the value of having friends,” says Mark. “It isn’t only that they’re good for your health, which they are, and enrich your life, which they do, but also that they help you to become your best self and the person you were meant to be.”
Hardwood Staircase Flooring: Pros, Cons, and Benefits
In the world of home design and aesthetics, stairs play an important but often overlooked role. Unfortunately, many homeowners unknowingly underestimate the untapped potential of stairs as essential design elements. In addition to their practical purpose, stairs can be turned into elements that add elegance and style to a home. Among the various materials used for staircases, hardwood is consistently favoured and versatile. It not only emphasizes visual appeal but also provides practical benefits. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at hardwood flooring on stairs, exploring its many benefits, unique features, and essential factors that deserve close attention.
The Allure of Hardwood: 10 Resounding Reasons to Consider
Before we delve into the particularities that make hardwood a quintessential choice for staircases, it’s significant to preface that every material brings its own set of attributes to the table. However, hardwood stands out as an amalgamation of versatility, enduring grace, and pragmatic efficiency. In the following sections, we dissect the manifold reasons that could make hardwood the pièce de résistance of your home, synthesizing elegance and utility in a singular, memorable way.
1. The Intersection of Aesthetics and Practicality
The material you choose for your staircase isn’t just a matter of function; it’s a declaration of style. Hardwood, with its intrinsic elegance and an array of utilitarian benefits, delivers a package that’s hard to ignore or beat.
2. Refinishing: A Second Life
Think about your staircase as a long-term investment. Over time, the rigours of daily use will manifest in scuffs, dents, and general wear. Hardwood offers an elegant solution—refinishing. This process restores your staircase to its former glory, allowing for a sustainable approach to interior decor.
3. The Majesty of Grain Patterns
Hardwood is not a monolith. The unique grain patterns that distinguish one type of wood from another can add significant nuance to your staircase. They allow for a deeply customized aesthetic that can either complement your existing decor or serve as a contrast to create an entirely new design language within your home.
4. An Investment in Timelessness and Home Value
Hardwood’s timeless appeal is a well-established fact. What’s less discussed is how this quality can translate into a tangible financial benefit. A hardwood staircase can significantly elevate the overall value of your property, making it a wise investment for the future.
5. Maintenance Ease
In the bustle of modern life, who has the time for laborious maintenance routines? Hardwood staircases, with their minimal upkeep requirements, fit comfortably into busy lifestyles. A simple sweep and an occasional mop will keep them shining for yea harbour
6. The Health Dividend
A carpeted staircase might look inviting, but it can be a hotbed for allergens and pathogens. In contrast, the smooth surface of hardwood is less likely to harbour these unwelcome guests, making it a more health-conscious choice, particularly for households with children or those susceptible to allergies.
7. Versatility in Design and Safety
Adding a runner or tread rug can instantly mitigate concerns about noise or slippage on a hardwood staircase. This dual-function approach means that you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for safety.
8. Eco-Friendly Credentials
In an age increasingly defined by environmental consciousness, the natural origins of hardwood make it an environmentally friendly choice. While it’s essential to source responsibly to ensure sustainability, the inherent eco-friendly nature of wood offers a win-win situation.
9. Durability Par Excellence
A well-crafted hardwood staircase can withstand years of heavy traffic without losing its aesthetic or functional edge. Its remarkable durability promises not just longevity, but also sustained quality.
10. Weight and Structural Integrity
While often robust and substantial, specific hardwoods like Douglas fir and pine strike an essential balance between strength and weight, making them ideal for complex staircase structures.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood flooring
No decision, especially one as enduring as the choice of material for your staircase, should be made lightly. While hardwood offers a plethora of advantages, it’s not devoid of its own set of quirks and considerations. Whether you’re enamoured by the visual feast that is a hardwood staircase or you’re still straddling the fence of decision-making, a balanced understanding of both its virtues and limitations can illuminate your path. So, let’s unfurl the tapestry of pros and cons to help you make a well-considered choice.
- Easy Maintenance
One of hardwood’s standout features is its minimal maintenance requirement. Unlike carpeting or other soft flooring materials that may require periodic deep cleaning, hardwood only needs occasional dusting or mopping. This ease of maintenance saves both time and long-term cleaning costs.
- Aesthetic Flexibility
Hardwood is like a chameleon in the design world; it can adapt to almost any setting or aesthetic preference. Whether your home leans more towards a rustic charm or modern minimalism, hardwood can be finished and stained to match the mood.
- Health Benefits
For households with allergy concerns, hardwood is a godsend. Its solid, non-porous surface is hostile to dust mites, allergens, and other pathogens that could cause health problems. It’s much easier to clean and sanitize, ensuring a healthier living environment.
- Long-Term Value Addition
A hardwood staircase is not just a design choice; it’s an investment. Homes with hardwood features often have higher resale values. Over time, as other materials age and deteriorate, hardwood retains its timeless allure, thereby adding to the long-term value of your property.
Provided that you’re sourcing from responsible vendors, hardwood is a renewable resource. Its production has a lower carbon footprint compared to other flooring materials like tiles or carpet. Plus, old hardwood can typically be recycled or repurposed, minimizing waste.
It’s not just about how long something lasts, but also about how well it lasts. Hardwood is inherently durable, capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic and the wear and tear of daily life without losing its aesthetic appeal.
- Wide Range of Stylistic Options
Hardwood comes in various species, grains, and finishes, allowing for an enormous range of stylistic options. From the rich, dark hues of walnut to the lighter tones of birch or oak, you can customize your staircase to match your specific aesthetic tastes and needs.
- May Require Safety Adaptations
Hardwood is a beautiful but slippery material, especially when wet. If you have small children or elderly family members, or if you’re just generally concerned about safety, you may need to invest in additional safety features like anti-slip treads or stair runners.
- Initial Cost Can Be High
The upfront cost of installing a hardwood staircase can be higher than other material options like carpet or laminate. This initial expenditure, however, should be weighed against the long-term benefits, both aesthetic and financial, that hardwood offers.
- Specific Household Conditions May Necessitate Extra Considerations
While hardwood is mostly durable, it can be sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Homes in particularly dry or humid climates may require humidifiers or dehumidifiers to maintain the wood’s integrity over the long term. Also, if you have pets with claws, be prepared for some inevitable scratching.
Choosing a staircase material is not a decision to be taken lightly; it’s an integral element that functions both practically and aesthetically within your home. Hardwood offers an attractive package of aesthetic versatility, long-term value, minimal maintenance, and health benefits. Consult your local specialists to ensure your hardwood staircase not only captures your aesthetic vision but also endures over time.
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