The Importance of Friendships
The Importance of Friendships
Having friends around you who love you, support you, and want the best for you is crucial for a happy and healthy life. Research suggests that friendships can have a major impact on your health and overall well-being. Why is that? Well, for starters, any meaningful relationship, whether it is platonic or romantic, provides a sense of comfort and companionship and helps you deal with adversity. BUT, to really convince you about the importance of friendship, let us dive into the science behind it.
Science Behind Friendships
According to research, meaningful and good quality friendships and social relationships can lead to better physiological functioning and lower risks of physical disorders. (1) Additionally, according to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, what keeps people healthy and happy as they go through life IS people - specifically friendships. (2) Not only that but people who are more socially connected also live longer. As it turns out, loneliness truly does kill. This is simply because our brains are wired for social connection. Last but not least, your social connectedness - aka your friendships - plays a role in your financial success. (3)
Friendship Green Flags
- Setting boundaries
- Calling you out on your bull#*!t
- Inspire you to be the best version of yourself
- Provide a non-judgment zone
- They are there for you during your highs and lows
Friendship Red Flags
- Control and manipulation
- Jealousy and envy
- Lack of empathy
Science has shown that social connectedness is a fundamental human need (4), but what happens when we lose a friend?
Whether you have been connected with people through history, context, or proximity, know that it is normal to lose friends. You might outgrow some friends, and some friends might outgrow you. You might move and stop talking to some friends, and some friends might move and stop talking to you. All of that is okay. Instead of basing your friendships on how long you have known that person or geographical proximity, try making friends with people who bring VALUE to your life. It does not matter if you have known them for 2 months or two years. Do they allow you to be yourself around them? Are you able to talk to them about anything? Do they wake up the kid in you whenever you are together? These are just some of the things to consider when choosing your friends.
Developing New Friendships
Developing new friendships can be challenging, especially if you are an adult who is working or taking care of his/her parents, siblings, etc. Nonetheless, here are some ways you can meet people:
- Walking around your neighborhood
- Community events
- Facebook groups
- Bumble BFF
- Fitness/art/dance classes
In order to develop meaningful friendships, however, you must put the effort into them. It takes time but is a worthwhile investment.
Be friends with people who make you feel good about yourself, who don’t judge you, who are there for you during your highs and your lows, who will drop what they are doing if you really need them, and who will push you to become the best version of yourself.