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Why Do We Need Friends? Six Benefits of Healthy Friendships

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."

Kristen Fuller
Source: Kristen Fuller

As human beings, we become so busy with our jobs, family, household chores, daily activities that we often neglect one of the most important aspects of life; friendships, the relationships that develop over time that hold a very special place in our heart and that society continues to ignore. Friends are family members that we choose to allow and keep in our lives. From our first childhood friend to those lifelong friends we have known for decades; friends are treasures that can bring so much positivity into our lives but yet we often become too busy and neglect these important people. I am guilty of this as well!

The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.” Growing up, my mother always used to tell me “your friends are a reflection of you”. I did not quite understand this until I started meeting individuals who kept, not so healthy friends in their lives and suddenly, as a young teenager, I learned to understand that the friends I keep in my life reflect who I am and desire to be as a person and therefore I have learned to choose my friends wisely over the years. I do not care about the superficial attributes such as looks, money, success or status but rather I emulate those who bring laughter, joy, honesty and who can be there for me and also give me a firm kick in the butt when I need it. I always find it intriguing to meet friends of people I know because I can really get a sense of that person by the company they choose to keep in their life.

Kristen Fuller
Source: Kristen Fuller

Friends are there to lift you up in joy and comfort you in sorrow

Good friends can be and will be your backbone. Whether you are celebrating a great life event they will show up with a bottle of wine, or two, and celebrate with you. If you are going through a rough patch in life, they are there to listen, give you advice and try to get you out of that slump. True friends show up, no matter what. True friends do not make excuses, do not flake on you and do not bring you down.

Friends help you develop social skills

I am a true introvert. I love people, but only in small doses. When someone invites me to a party or to a wedding, I cringe on the inside because I know I will have to be around a lot of people, which gives me anxiety. However, my friends definitely push me out of my comfort zone and always get me into social gatherings. From childhood, friends are there to invite you to birthday parties, have play dates and as we get older we grab drinks and dinners with our cherished friends to catch up on the week or the past month. Life is so much better socializing with friends and getting out to experience new places and meet new people.

True friends will give you a reality check

We have all been there and we all have that friend; that instance where he or she is being completely inappropriate whether they are throwing a fit, copping an attitude or just being downright rude and nasty. We as friends need to give each other a reality check. It could be the ridiculous outfit we are wearing or the boyfriend cheating on us. True friends bring the harsh truth in front of us. It is always important to be honest with our friends however it is just as important to approach these touchy issues with kindness and to address these matters in the appropriate setting and time, ideally behind closed doors. The beauty of true friends is they will tell you like it is, but from a good place in their heart.

Friendships at a young age can help you develop healthy romantic relationships

Having friends early in childhood and throughout your teenage years can help you learn how to compromise in relationships, which fights to go to battle and how to communicate. Friendships are very similar to romantic relationships (without the sex) and healthy friendships can allow you to develop boundaries and skills that can help you navigate successful and healthy romantic relationships in the future,

Kristen Fuller
Source: Kristen Fuller

Couple friendships can help your own relationship

We all have that friend, he or she becomes romantically involved and POOF, off they disappear. Some couples withdraw from their friendships when their relationship turns serious. This can be hurtful in many ways but instead of waiting for that friend to reappear, try to get to know their significant other. Go on double dates, ask to hang out with your friend and his or her partner, make an effort to get to know this important person. This can mean the world to your friend and by embracing couple friendships; you can go through life transitions together such as engagements, marriage and raising children.

Friends can improve our health and longevity

Studies have shown that older people with friends are more likely to live a healthier happier life than those who do not have many close friends. Older people without close friends are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and depression than their counterparts. Although family members are usually the caretakers to the elderly, they often do so out of obligation whereas lifelong friends provide endless joy with no strings attached.

Go on, get out there and rekindle old friendships, strengthen weakened friendships and develop new friendships. We are living on borrowed time and we will not be remembered for what we did in life but rather whom we touched throughout our journey in life.

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