Friendships may change throughout the years as you develop your career, build your family or move to a new location. However, studies show it’s essential for your health and overall well-being to maintain good friendships throughout life.
What friends do for you
A good friend can boost your happiness, improve your self-confidence by providing a sense of belonging, and reduce stress as they help you deal with adversity. Basically, a truly good friend celebrates the good times and provides support during the bad times.
What studies show about friendship
- Those who have a large network of friends outlived those with few friends by 22%. Why? Good friends discourage unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and heavy drinking. The companionship of friends also fends off depression, boosts self-esteem and provides comfort. Study by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University
- Women with ovarian cancer saw increased effectiveness of chemotherapy when they had strong support of friends. Those with ample social support had much lower levels of the cancer protein interleukin 6, or IL-6, and therefore, saw increased effectiveness of chemotherapy. Women with weak social support had levels of IL-6 that were 70% higher in general.
Study by the journal, Cancer
- Having lots of friends reduces your risk of catching a cold. Yes, that’s true. People with social support have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and therefore, fewer immune problems. Scientists say humans are social animals that need others for survival. It's in our genes. People with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace.
Study by Humboldt State University