7 Reasons to Keep Your Friends Close
Friends are the Family We Choose
Research involving millions finds the importance of keeping your friends close.
It's 8 PM. You may be deciding between watching another episode of Breaking Bad, doing the laundry, scrolling aimlessly on social media, or going to bed early.
What about calling your friend back?
Even better, meeting them for late coffee?
The effects of friendships on our quality and duration of life are astounding.
However, it's easy to let those relationships slide as our busy lives crowd out everything else.
And the first way to keep our friends connected with us is just call them back. Here’s why:
1. Relationships Persist based on Reciprocity
For many of us, some friendships are short & fleeting, and others may last many years.
Physicists at the University of Notre Dame and Sociologists at the University of Chile studied 8 million phone calls made by 2 million people over the course of a year and found that the leading cause of continued & persistent relationships is reciprocity – basically returning a friends call. In fact, the researchers could look at two people's phone patterns in a 15 day period and predict what their social network would look like in the future. Not surprisingly, the people who had greater amount of contact during these time periods had longer lasting friendships.
Additionally, the strongest factor was if they returned calls to each other. This reciprocity also leads to longer lasting friendships.
2. Investing Time Predicts Friendship Longevity
Another 19-year study by the University of Kansas proves the case for the second thing to do to make your friendships thrrive: make time for them. Investing time in friendships is a key predictor of friendship longevity.
Participants in another study described the top function of friendship as “companionship” which we can define as “the good feeling that comes with being with someone else."
Beyond the pleasure derived from hanging out with a good friend, there is ample research touting the additional, stunning benefits of friendships:
3. Friends help you Live Longer
A summary of 148 independent studies found a 50% increase in longevity for participants who had stronger social relationships. Basically you live longer if you have stronger friendships. This remained consistent across age, sex, health status, cause of death and follow-up. Both the quality and the quantity of your social relationships (friendships) affected longevity.
4. Friends help you get through tough challenges
More research suggests that friends help you not only survive but thrive through adversity, buffer you from stress, and help you flourish in spite of tough circumstances.
5. Friends help you pursue personal growth
Even without facing adversity, research finds that deep and meaningful relationships help people explore, grow, and achieve more. They enable them to embrace and pursue opportunities that enhance positive well-being, broaden and build resources, and foster a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
6. Friends Help You Have More "Life Satisfaction"
Friendships also satisfy important needs including:
- the need to bond with someone like us in some ways and unlike us in others
- having someone to call on for comfort
- someone with whom we can share memorable experiences.
Friendship satisfaction - not just the number of friends - has shown to be one of the two strongest predictors of life satisfaction, along with job satisfaction.
7. Friends Protect Your Mental Health
More research shows - friendship is a “crucial element in protecting mental health.” Whether providing total acceptance, laughter, or a positive spin on things, friends help preserve a positive state of mind.
We need to talk to our true friends and we want to listen to them
The next time you're facing that crucial decision about what to do with your evening, let it be in favor of your friends.
Bottom Line: Nurture Your Friendships because your life depends on it – really!
Be Well, Be Joyful, Be Inspired…
Have a Beautiful Day…