Healthy Happy Friends


Being in the company of a good friend is my favourite thing. I love the sharing and the caring. Often, we walk while we talk, laughing, playing, and sometimes crying, but always supporting each other. We give each other space, but we are always there for each other. I value my friends dearly and, whether they live in the next street or the furthest continent, I take care to maintain our relationships at all times,

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
– Walter Winchell

I’m sure that spending quality time with friends helps to keep me healthy and happy, so it comes as no surprise to me to find that research backs this up. Here are four ways in which the ‘friend bonus’ works.

  1. It reduces loneliness. Changes in the structure of society have led to more and more people feeling lonely, even when they are with others. The quality of relationships is key – casual or superficial friendships don’t provide much in the way of emotional support.  Solid friends are ones you can confide in, the ones that make you feel less alone, even when you are not physically hanging out together.
  2. It reduces stress. Symptoms of stress, expressed by moods such as anxiety, depression or irritability, can lead to poor health (insomnia, high blood pressure etc.). However, maintaining strong friendships can help you cope.  Sharing your concerns and being able to work out solutions reduces the chance of stress building up and compounding your problems.
  3. It bestows a feeling of belonging. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs belonging comes third (after food and shelter).  Developing and maintaining close friends helps foster feelings of belonging.  Caring about others, offering compassion and emotional support, makes life more meaningful and can make you a stronger and better person.
  4. It improves personal resilience. A study of resilience in young people found that surrounding yourself with good, supportive friends predicted greater resilience in life – while family support did not.  Possibly because friendships are particularly beneficial for managing distress associated with family problems such as neglect and abuse.

And don’t forget, even though you might have the most wonderfully supportive, full-time partner, experts still recommend that you foster your friendships, as these undoubtedly benefit your emotional health and promote and maintain your vital sense of ‘self’. Here’s to happy, healthy times with friends.

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”– Winnie the Pooh