Here are the 5 Greatest Benefits of a True Friendship
Most of the time, we consider our friends to be the most important people in our lives. Unfortunately, not all friends are good friends.
For example, good friends communicate openly. They’re usually quick to tell the truth, even if they think you won’t like it.
Yet they accept you as you are, just as you accept them. You can trust them to respect your boundaries, even when you disagree.
Healthy friendships also involve mutual support, so a good friend won’t just expect you to help her. Indeed, she also supports you when she can, even if she can only offer you an attentive ear.
The icing on the cake ? A strong friendship is also good for your health. Here’s why :
1. With your friends you create a sense of belonging
We all want to know that we matter to others, that our life has a purpose. In fact, belonging needs rank third in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, just after basic needs (food and shelter) and security needs.
Developing and maintaining close friendships promotes a sense of belonging.
Caring about others gives more meaning to life. When you care for others, you take responsibility for offering compassion and emotional support. It can make you a stronger and better person.
At the same time, knowing that you have a support network can help you feel more secure in your own life.
2. A good friendship allows you to have emotional support
Emotional support is an important benefit of relationships. Your friends can support you by listening to you, validating your emotions, and so on.
If you’re in a relationship, you may go to your partner first. And that’s completely normal, and romantic partners can totally comfort and reassure you.
However, he shouldn’t be your only source of emotional support. Indeed, it is important to maintain friendships with people other than your partner, as it can be beneficial for emotional health and the health of the relationship.
When you and your partner disagree or want to spend time on different hobbies, friends who share your interests can help you maintain your sense of identity.
3. Friendship reduces stress
Everyone faces some stress. It can occur in small or large doses, but even if it seems minor at first, it can quickly build up and overwhelm you.
You may notice symptoms of mood swings, such as anxiety, depression, or irritability, but stress can affect you in other ways too.
Prolonged stress can contribute to poor immune health, digestive and heart problems, and diabetes, among others.
But nurturing strong friendships can help you handle stress better and reduce your chances of experiencing certain types of stress.
If you know you have friends who care about you and want to help you, potential stressors often don’t have the opportunity to build up and cause significant distress.
4. Less loneliness and social isolation
Loneliness and social isolation can affect mental and physical well-being. And more and more people feel lonely these days.
To understand the difference between these concerns, think about it this way: friends help you avoid isolation, but good friends help prevent loneliness.
Have you ever heard the expression “feeling alone in the crowd”? You may have lots of friends and feel lonely, even if you are not isolated.
It’s the quality of the relationship that really matters. Casual or superficial friendships often don’t provide much emotional support.
On the other hand, even a few close friends can help you avoid loneliness. And when you feel lonely, you know you can remedy it by reaching out to talk, joke, or hang out with a friend.
5. With a true friendship, you are sure to always have support in case of difficulties
Life is not always easy. Sometimes it can even get downright awful.
At any time, without warning, you may be faced with traumatic or difficult events that affect your emotional well-being, such as a breakup, unemployment or family problems, etc.
Each of these difficulties can have a significant impact on long-term mental health outcomes. However, if you have strong friendships, you’ll likely have an easier time dealing with whatever life throws your way.
Indeed, friendship may prove particularly beneficial in managing the distress associated with family problems, including neglect and abuse.