Question

Friendship

Why is having friends so important?

A Answers (3)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    2 106 2-1 3 Things You Should Be Talking About Copy

    Good friends can be more important to talk to than doctors. In this video, Dr. Oz explains to his slumber party audience why talking to their girlfriends is so good for their lives.

  • Relatives may be an important part of your life, but you can't choose them. Therefore, often these people you are bonded to by blood are very different from you. You may clash with them and feel uncomfortable revealing you true self to them. 

    On the other hand, friends are chosen. We choose friends based on common interests. You may have a hobby in common such as reading or refurbishing classic cars. Or you may share a love of travel or a certain philosophy. So, through those shared conversations, activities and outings you learn more about each other; you learn to trust more fully than you may have with a relative you have nothing in common with other than family ties.

    Close friendships give us comfort and stability that not even a spouse may be able to provide. You may have to watch your language around your mother or have a hotbed issue that causes tension between you and your spouse, but close friends are usually pretty resilient. You can tell a him/her anything without having to worry about offending anyone or censoring yourself. They can serve as a much needed sounding board in today's hectic world. 

    Unfortunately, with people moving around more than they used to, following jobs rather than staying in close-knit communities, it's sometimes hard to find and keep friends. You may not even know your neighbors let alone call them friends.

    The best way to make friends is to open yourself up to your community. Get involved in clubs and activities that you enjoy and you will be more likely to make friends you have something in common with. And hopefully you'll be able to build on that friendship over time. It does take time, so hang in there. If you feel the friendship is a healthy one that has potential, stick with it and let it grow in its own time. And if you do have close friends, whether they are next-door or on the other side of the world, do your best to keep in touch and keep that feeling of closeness. Text, email, write, call, visit--often. The support of friends is vital for your physical, emotional and mental health.   

  • AInga Gerard, RN, Nursing, answered on behalf of Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)

    Friendship and intimacy are needed for mental and emotional well-being as we age. Studies have shown that those with poor relationship skills have

    • more isolation depression
    • weakness or debility and
    • increased rates of illness in old age

     On the other hand, folks who get more involved in supportive and meaningful relationships have

    • better health
    • more social capital and
    • positive sense of well-being even if they are physically frail and elderly 

    Quality of our friendships has more positive impact on health than quantity. The quality of our relationships really does have an impact on our life choices, our behavior, and ultimately, our emotional health. Too much isolation with poor social intimacy can lead to anxiety or a reduced ability to trust others - which are common factors among those who have committed destructive acts like suicide or bullying. Having loads of loose friendships or acquaintances physically present is not enough to satisfy us either. If we don’t feel a sense of secure intimacy and emotional attachment in any of our relationships we suffer greatly no matter how many people we surround ourselves with. Building a balance of both loose and closely related friendships seems to help us meet our overall health needs a lot better than having either extremes. If you want to live your best life, be sure to seek out and nurture diverse high quality friendships that encourage, support, and spur you on.

Did You See?  Close
How can my dysfunctional friendships drive me to eat?