Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being, but it's not always easy to develop or maintain friendships. Understand the importance of social connection in your life and what you can do to develop and nurture lasting friendships.
Many adults find it hard to develop new friendships or keep up existing friendships. Friendships may take a back seat to other priorities, such as work or caring for children or aging parents. You and your friends may have grown apart due to changes in your lives or interests. Or maybe you've moved to a new community and haven't yet found a way to meet people.
Above all, stay positive. You may not become friends with everyone you meet but maintaining a friendly attitude and demeanor can help you improve the relationships in your life. It may also sow the seeds of friendship with new acquaintances.
Developing and maintaining healthy friendships involves give-and-take. Sometimes you're the one giving support, and other times you're on the receiving end. Letting friends know you care about them and appreciate them can help strengthen your bond. It's as important for you to be a good friend as it is to surround yourself with good friends.
Remember, it's never too late to develop new friendships or reconnect with old friends. Investing time in making friends and strengthening your friendships can pay off in better health and a brighter outlook for years to come.
Our society tends to place an emphasis on romantic relationships. We think that just finding that right person will make us happy and fulfilled. But research shows that friends are actually even more important to our psychological welfare. Friends bring more happiness into our lives than virtually anything else.
Friendships have a huge impact on your mental health and happiness. Good friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, and prevent loneliness and isolation. Developing close friendships can also have a powerful impact on your physical health. Lack of social connection may pose as much of a risk as smoking, drinking too much, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. Friends are even tied to longevity. One Swedish study found that, along with physical activity, maintaining a rich network of friends can add significant years to your life.
Technology has shifted the definition of friendship in recent years. With the click of a button, we can add a friend or make a new connection. But having hundreds of online friends is not the same as having a close friend you can spend time with in person.
The bottom line: if the friendship feels good, it is good. But if a person tries to control you, criticizes you, abuses your generosity, or brings unwanted drama or negative influences into your life, it's time to re-evaluate the friendship. A good friend does not require you to compromise your values, always agree with them, or disregard your own needs.
We tend to make friends with people we cross paths with regularly: people we go to school with, work with, or live close to. The more we see someone, the more likely a friendship is to develop. So, look at the places you frequent as you start your search for potential friends.
Another big factor in friendship is common interests. We tend to be drawn to people who are similar, with a shared hobby, cultural background, career path, or kids the same age. Think about activities you enjoy or the causes you care about. Where can you meet people who share the same interests?
Making new friends means putting yourself out there, and that can be scary. It's especially intimidating if you're someone who's been betrayed, traumatized, or abused in the past, or someone with an insecure attachment bond. But by working with the right therapist, you can explore ways to build trust in existing and future friendships.
Don't set too many rules and expectations. Instead, allow your friendship to evolve naturally. You're both unique individuals so your friendship probably won't develop exactly as you expect.
Be forgiving. No one is perfect and every friend will make mistakes. No friendship develops smoothly so when there's a bump in the road, try to find a way to overcome the problem and move on. It will often deepen the bond between you.
If you want to create positive change in your life or have a habit you want to break, friends can help you maintain your resolve to practice healthier habits. This may be one reason why strong friendships can lengthen your life.
This study, which looked at resilience in more than 2,000 adolescents between the ages of 14 and 24, found evidence to suggest friendship strongly predicted resilience, or the ability to recover after distressing experiences.
If you find it difficult to keep up multiple friendships, consider focusing on the ones that really matter to you. Many people lack the time and emotional energy to nurture numerous close friendships.
Having solid friendships is important for two main reasons. First, they make life more enjoyable. We get to share the beautiful aspects of life with people who we love, which can enrich our everyday experiences. Second, our friends help us through the difficult times. Having friends to support us through hard times can make unimaginably difficult situations seem more tolerable.
The most beautiful part about pouring our time and energy into friendships is that not only do friends help enrich our lives, but we enrich theirs too! Friendships get us through the tough times in life, make things more fun and enjoyable, and all-around make our lives better. I urge you to take stock of your friendships and ask yourself if your current friends people build you up and support you, or is the friendship more one-sided?
Unfortunately, the people I had dedicated time to thus far were achievement-oriented and were pouring their time into work and not our friendships. This forced me to seek out other ways to form connections with people. I ended up finding a local hiking group with the hopes of meeting people with similar interests. During one of these hikes, I met Jim, one of my best friends to this day.
Whether you dream of finding the Oprah Winfrey to your Gayle King or crave a hilarious circle of F.R.I.E.N.D.S., friendship is the zest of life. Good friends bring laughter and joy to daily activities and support you during hard times.
Yet, despite all the social media and illusions of online connection, true friendship seems more challenging to find these days. Compared to 1990, Americans are becoming more socially isolated over time.
At the end of the day, the only factor they could correlate with happiness was the quality of their human relationships. Close friendships, familial connections, and marriages surpassed other variables like social class, genetics, I.Q., fame, or fortune.
The people who had the most satisfaction in their friendships at age 50 were the healthiest and happiest at age 80. Moreover, loneliness was as closely linked to early death as smoking or alcoholism!
The evidence is clear: building a robust social circle could help prevent sickness. Perhaps friendship should be at the top of the self-care priority list alongside healthy eating, exercise, and stress management.
You know you have a good friend if you feel good around them and they care about your well-being. Do they lift you up or break you down? Do they put in as much effort as you do? Do they show you that they value your friendship?
You can also use technology to facilitate new friendships IRL. Use one of our 50 Tips to Make New Friends in ANY City if you just moved. Perhaps message someone you enjoy watching on social media and invite them for coffee. You can also try out a Friendship App to Connect with Likeminded People in your area.
According to a 2021 survey, Americans report having fewer friendships than they once did. And the more traditional ways of making friends (like school, church, or through existing friends) are on the decline. Americans are more likely to make new friends at work than any other avenue.
Making friends and keeping those healthy relationships isn't always a walk in the park. It can be hard to recognize why friendship is important, too. But sometimes we need to evaluate how many friendships we have, what we can actively do to strengthen them, and when to let them go.
Friendship is important because it helps us build connections with people who share our values or interests. Friends help us prevent loneliness or isolation and are supportive companions as we work toward living purposeful lives. They can also encourage us to pursue our passions and dreams and offer support or advice in hard times.
Our friendships help our mental health and overall happiness. We build human connections in our professional lives and personal lives. And over time, those connections may grow. We might make friends with people temporarily, depending on where we go to school or work. Some friendships last for life, though, regardless of where you meet these people.
Besides being important, what is the point of having friends? It turns out that friendship can prevent health issues alongside various other emotional or mental health benefits. Take a read through these 10 benefits of friendship:
We all have obstacles that limit us. With BetterUp, a coach can provide the perspective you need to build up your self-confidence and develop skills to put yourself out there and make the solid friendships you deserve.
Learning the importance of friendship is a lesson that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Your self-worth will grow, and so will your well-being. Understanding that friendship is more than a fleeting connection helps us see the value in what our friends can do for us. They help our mental health, keep our physical health in line, and make life more enjoyable.
There comes a point in some unhealthy, unfulfilling relationships where the friendship bubble needs bursting. The lies. The faking it. The pretending everything is fine. It needs to stop. I believe friendship break-ups should be treated EXACTLY like romantic break-ups. Something like: 2b1af7f3a8