Why Friends Are Important For Your Well-Being

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Why Friends Are Important For Your Well-Being

When we think about our friends, we usually do not consider that they are an important aspect of our health. However, it is true: friendships can help us live a healthy lifestyle, both emotionally and physically. Let’s take a look at friendships and why they are so critical for our well-being.

Friends Boost Confidence and Self-Worth

Friendships help us increase our sense of confidence and self-worth. When we have friends, we have a community of people that we belong to. We have people around us that make us feel good about ourselves. Having friends lets us know that we are accepted and appreciated by others.

Our friends are there to support us when times get difficult or when we need advice. People with friends often have higher self-confidence. Vice versa, people with high self-confidence usually have a very easy time making friends. They assume that they are likeable and that people want to be friends with them. They easily go up to strangers and start conversations.

People with few friendships tend to lack a sense of confidence. They tend to believe that people do not want to be around them or enjoy their company. They often are very lonely are yearn for friendships in their lives. They may believe that they are unworthy of these friendships, however.

Friends Give Us a Sense of Belonging

We tend to make friends with people based on mutual interests or common values. When we have friends, we have people in our lives that we can share these interests with. Whether it is:

  • Going to a concert together
  • Going out to eat at a restaurant
  • Hanging out at a sports game
  • Exercising together
  • Some other interest

Our friends are a group of like-minded people. Around them, we feel like we belong. We feel like we are accepted and appreciated for who we are. It is important to have friends who you can share your interests with.

Friends Reduce Stress

Our friends boost our levels of happiness and reduce our stress. When we are stressed out, what is one of the first things most of us do? Get in contact with our friends. Our friends are an important support network for when times get tough. We may talk to our friends about our problems, which relieves stress. Or we may go out and hang out with our friends in order to forget about other sources of stress in our lives.

When we spend time with our friends, this boosts our happiness about ourselves and our personal situation. Often when people do not have a strong social network, they do not feel happy. They feel like something is missing from their lives. They may feel depressed or lonely.

Friends Help Us Cope with Hardships

Friendships can help us cope with serious hardships in our lives. Some of us may be going through such difficulties as the loss of a job, the death of somebody we love, a breakup, a serious illness or injury, or more. Friends provide a support network to fall back on when we have difficulties such as these.

Some people may want friends who will just listen about their issues. Other friends may help through acts, such as attending a funeral with you, helping you find a new job, visiting you at the hospital, or other acts of service. Friendships are important because they help us realize how supported we are in life.

When we go through such tragedies, it helps to have friends by our side. Those people who go through hardships but do not have quality friendships may suffer even more. They may not have people to talk to about what is going on, or to help them practically with their situation. This can lead to a sense of hopelessness and loneliness. They may even experience more grief as a result.

Friends Improve Our Health

It is obvious the multitude of ways that friendships are important for our social well-being. But the truth is that friendships also can benefit your physical health. Studies have shown that adults who consider themselves to have strong social support systems and friendships have a reduced risk of many common health problems. These include:

  • A reduced risk of mental illnesses such as depression
  • Lower blood pressure compared to other adults
  • A lower body mass index (BMI)

People with more friendships, and higher quality friendships, tend to report feeling better about themselves, tend to report getting sick less often, and report feeling a better quality of life, than those without these support systems.

Quality or Quantity?

Studies show that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to friendships. You may only have one or two close friends that you can depend on, while somebody else may have a rather large social network. Both are perfectly fine. Friendships tend to fade away over time. People grow apart. What is important is the people who have stuck around throughout the years. These are the people that you can rely on, and that is what is important.

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