Do friends make you happy? My best friend makes me happy, but sometimes friends argue. Other times, they are envious of one another and yes, as bad as we hate to admit it, they even say questionable things behind their backs, more so in anger though. With this said, why is making friends important?
On a positive note, friends make us laugh and we need a good gut-buster when we’re having a bad day or week even. Above all, true friends will celebrate the good times and your accomplishments and grieve with you during the bad times.
If two people have been friends for a while, they’ve probably changed their kid’s diapers and shared important holidays together. At the same time, they may have one another with the death of a family member. For those reasons, I’d say friendships are extremely important to us.
How Do Friends Boost Your Happiness?
Granted, you can’t put a price on solid friendships. They round us out in a way that friends complete our life. Friendships impact our health, too, hopefully, in a good way. Socializing with friends means we have companionship and preventing loneliness is critical to our happiness and mental health. The psychological benefits of friendship are tremendous:
- Heighten your sense of purpose and belonging
- Increase their chances of happiness
- Lowers stress
- Boost self-confidence and increase self—worth
- Gives you a confidant in times of need
- Supports positive change and encourages healthy lifestyles
When speaking about married couples, their degree of happiness greatly depends on their level of friendships. Conversely, happy single people are happier than married people if they believe friends are significant, according to an AARP survey.
Of those who regard friendships as very important, they were more satisfied with their lives overall. As we grow older, friends become more important to us. With this in mind, we shouldn’t go through the aging process without friends. We should be living our best life and relaxing, not stressing. Avoid risk factors and get plenty of rest and exercise.
Happiness is Having Friends
Ed Diener and Martin Seligman are prominent experts who study happiness. The two have some persuasive evidence of this process called ‘happiness.’ In a comparison between the happy people to people who weren’t so happy, they found prosperous people to be highly social individuals. They also have the strongest ties to relationships.
As a matter of fact, it’s necessary for people to experience positive social relations. The need to be happy and to belong is a fundamental need, so says psychologists.
How Can Your Friends Make You Feel Happy?
As much as a smile is contagious, so is happiness. Being that your bestie is happy, you’re likely going to be in a good mood as well. The Harvard Medical School completed research involving 5,000 participants over the age of 20. The group found that just one person can infect others. Having a good friend only increases your chances of finding happiness by 15%.
Happiness can spread to others and can have lasting effects. But you must take the bad with the good. Gloom is just as contagious. We all have our problems, but if your friend is always unhappy, you lower your chances of being happy by 7%. That number may not sound like a big deal, but it is.
Researchers at UCLA verify women turn to their friends when they are stressed more so than men. Men would rather hold their feelings than seek social support. This lack of communication could contribute to health issues in men. For now, let’s take a look at the positive effects of friendship.
Friends Keep Our Spirits Up
We need constant support from our friends, researchers say. Friends help other friends stay optimistic. When we’re feeling hopeful, we feel better about life in general. At this rate, who can be depressed?
You can see evidence of another study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology of how our perspective change when we have optimistic support from our friends.
How Friendships Impact Our Health
Those who have had emotional support before know how important it was to a friend. Social support is what motivates us to keep running or to keep digging. Friends help our memory, believe it or not. Isolated people experience a decline in their memory faster than those who are social butterflies.
Is friendships necessary for happiness? Having someone to confide in helps us to stay sane sometimes. In other words, without someone to talk to or to make us laugh, it’s pretty easy to fall in depression.
Studies show almost 30% of adults 65 years old and older live alone. That’s got to be lonesome if you have no friends or family. Some people even take their own lives because they are so lonely. If not that, then they generally suffer from high blood pressure and are at a higher risk of heart disease.
It’s Difficult to Form New Friends
It’s a surprise to find out 70% of the people in the AARP survey of 1500 adults aren’t comfortable meeting new people or making new friends. Depending on where you live, you may want to learn how to conversate with a Jamaican woman.
At the same time, some people may also have trouble keeping the friends they do have. When this happens, it could be because of work, family, and allowing other projects to come before your friends.
Maybe your interests changed and you’re growing apart. Perhaps a move put a strain on maintaining current relationships. What’s sad is a 10-year or 20-year friendship is over, but every relationship has its expiration date.
To Grow Friendships, You Must Nurture Them
Had a fight? The most basic step you can take is to forgive and be kind to one another. When on the receiving end of a rant or confrontation, refrain from offering your advice or hurtful words. In this case, you should empathize with your friends when they are going through difficult times.
When nurturing friendships, keep your word and keep your mouth closed when nothing needs to be said. Another key point to remember is when your friend shares confidential information with you, it should remain private property. Don’t tell a soul what she or he said.
So, you tell me; are friendships necessary for happiness? There’s no doubt, maintaining positive friendships is hard, although worth the investment. Think about joining a social site or dating site for new friendships. Often, starting a relationship online is easier than face-to-face connections. Just remember, it’s a bad idea to share your personal information with people you meet online.