“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.” Marcus Tullius Cicero, 63 BC.
This quote still rings true today!
Friends are important for our health
It has been proven that having close relationships with friends contributes to better health, happiness and well-being. Those with friends have a stronger immune system, are more mentally stable and heal more quickly after illness. Unfortunately, according to studies, the number of friendships among Americans has decreased over the last two decades.
So how do we reverse this discouraging trend? We need stable, intense friendships help to prolong life. Because in difficult times it’s friends who will help you and boost your confidence again.
Most of us would rather have a few good friends to rely on than many that might disappear. But there really is no magic number. Some people might be happy with two or three close friends while other need more friendship in order to feel connected.
Loneliness can make you sick
Loneliness, on the other hand, can make you ill – especially physically. Studies from the seventies and eighties already showed how strong this effect is. Even then, researchers observed that people without close relationships were more likely to die earlier than those with close friends.
However, people who cultivate their friendships not only have a survival advantage – they may also be better protected against mental illness. That’s why, in times of crisis, don’t immediately rush to a psychotherapist, but to first speak with friends or family.
Friends- the family you choose
In a study of more than 270,000 adults, researchers found that friendships had a stronger influence on well-being in the elderly, than connections to family members. One strong factor here is that we’re more likely to live in close proximity with friends than family, so we have more opportunity for daily personal encounters. Even when you’re not close to family, staying in touch with them through resources like the FamilyApp, can help to strengthen those friendships.
A second study by the same researchers noted that when friendships were going through difficult times, the participants reported having more illnesses. So we don’t just want to develop strong friendships; we need to maintain them throughout our life!
Unfortunately, many adults find it difficult to both find and keep friendships. Juggling work and caring for children takes time, and friendships are often not given a high priority. In addition, making new friends is not easy. But there are some ways to find friends. Here are a few suggestions:
- Join a club: Do you like to play tennis? Knit? Read books? Go camping? There are so many clubs covering a wide variety of interests. Finding places where people have similar hobbies to yours can be a natural way to find friends.
- Go on a date with potential new friends. If you’re a parent, you might frequently organize play dates for your kids while neglecting your own social life. Why not have their friends’ parents over for dinner, with or without the kids?
- Take a class: You’ll learn something new, and might meet a new friend in the process.
- Volunteer: Not only will you give back to the community, you’ll also meet people with passions similar to yours.
- Go to church: Churches or other places of worship are a fantastic place to meet new people, and they frequently organize social events so you can get to know new faces quickly.
- Go to the gym: Group classes are another way to meet people with similar interests, and working out is another benefit.
No matter which activity you choose, you can do it! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Conclusion – long live friendship
True friendships are hard to come by, but worth fighting for. If you’re feeling lonely, chances are many people around you are too, so don’t feel afraid to reach out to potential new friends. You’ve probably heard that “the best way to make a friend is to be a friend,” and it’s true.
If there are people in your life who are potential new friends, make an effort to get to know them, go out for coffee, or just be kind. They probably need a good friend, too.