There’s probably a friend you’ve been meaning to connect with but, for one reason or another, it just hasn’t worked out. We want you to give them a call, or send a text if that’s more your style. But first, read this post because this is The One With All the Information About How Much Your Friends Add to Your Life (and we promise that’s the only reference to the tv show that we’re going to make).
We value our friends. We’re there for each other through thick and thin, the good and the bad, the belly laughs and tears. Friendships are important, but you may not know exactly how measurable their influence is. Researchers have been quantifying how significant your best buddies are; and how vital you are to them! For instance, in a huge survey the AARP found that being lonely was significantly correlated with poor health. Other studies have also found that the number and quality of your close relationships affects both your mental and physical health. There’s even evidence that shows a correlation between close social relationships and living longer. In that AARP survey we mentioned, those who reported feeling close to their friends and family were twice as likely to report being in good or great health.
There’s an argument to be made that these results could be due to the greater difficulty in sustaining a strong social network when ill, so that the cause of better health isn’t good friends but instead good friends are the result of better health. This argument is explored more in depth by Carlos F Mendes de Leon in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. However, these findings between friendships and well-being crop up again and again. Mendes de Leon concludes that the prominence of the effects from study to study can’t be ignored: we may not know exactly how it works, but friendships contribute real benefits to our lives. The science backing you and your bff is strong enough that even the Mayo Clinic has a page dedicated to praising the importance of maintaining that relationship. It’s good news all around: having good friends helps to keep you happy and healthy! And keeping you nearby is adding years to their lives too!
Does this all sound too good to be true? Maybe a little too easy? The hard part comes in with making and prioritizing time to keep up with your pals. To reap all these awesome benefits, the trick is that you have to actually stay friends. Or you can make new friends, but one way or another you’ve got to keep some of them around.
So, go call that friend you’ve been missing. Thank them for the value they add to your life and make plans to do something. Go for a hike, get in touch with your creative side, or grab some drinks and a good meal. If you’re in the Kansas City area, check out our list of ideas for things to do. Whatever you choose, do it together.
-Apple Pie Painting