Most of us enjoy having friends for the general reason that they make us feel good.
They provide a sounding board when we need to vent about our day or our significant other. And they like us no matter how odd we might sometimes feel.
But what are the psychological reasons behind having friends? What’s actually happening in our brains when we hang out with these people who bring out the best in us?
Here Are 5 Benefits of Having True Friends:
Friends Build Confidence:
We’re all a little odd in our own way and these oddities can sometimes get in the way of our confidence. Having people who understand and support you no matter what is exactly the confidence boost we need in this life. Confidence breeds success in our relationships, our jobs, and our hobbies. This increased social identity has a ripple effect that impacts many corners of our lives.
Friends Help Us Through Emotional Times:
Some days you need a shoulder to cry on. Whether you’re facing loneliness, a change in relationships, or the death of a loved one, it’s helpful to have someone to lean on. Maybe you were let go from a job, someone offended you, or you feel you were wronged in one way or another.
On the opposite extreme, having someone to share in the concerts, conferences, births of our children and grandchildren, promotions, and exciting life moments is equally as important. Friends celebrate us, encourage us, and support us. Friends stick by us as we work through all of these big emotions.
Friends Build Memories:
On a related note, think back to some of the happiest times in your life. Were you alone? Most likely not. As we go through big life events and emotional moments, long-term memories are formed. One important aspect of creating those memories is having people to share them with. The relationships we have with our friends cement our memories of events big and small, everything from weddings, roller coaster rides, dinners out, and holidays, so they last a lifetime.
Friends Keep Your Mind Sharp:
Who can you disagree with, discuss your inner thoughts with, and work out your unpopular viewpoints with? Friends. They are there to keep you thinking, to discuss –sometimes argue- the opposing viewpoint, and to keep you thinking. You keep each other current on local and global news and make sure personal politics are kept in check. While you may not always agree, you do communicate. And that interaction is good for your mental stamina.
Friends Extend Your Life:
Study after study shows that people who have strong social relationships are less likely to die prematurely. It’s thought that these relationships could be more beneficial to your health than exercising and quitting smoking. This most likely tied to the reduction of chronic stress and anxiety that happens when you have a network of caring people to lean on. But there are also links that show social support from friends increases your immune system leading to reduced illness and quicker recovery time.
It’s also worth mentioning that because friends can be more honest with each other, they are often the ones who call us out on our bad habits. Friends lose weight together, stop smoking together, eat better together, and exercise together. Friends help us stick with the healthy habits that extend our lives.
In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds. – Aristotle
As our world changes and digital interaction increases, be aware of the impact it has on your friendships. These people-to-people connections have a huge impact on our lives and if we reduce them, there will be a negative impact on our emotional health in a very big way.
Make it a point to recognize and appreciate your true friends.
Your future self will thank you!
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