The science behind friendships and why they matter


As promised, I did some research into the evidence supporting the importance of friendship, and there was no shortage.  Studies have been done showing how vital strong friendships are to things like mental health, maintaining a healthy weight, staying happy, keeping an aging brain sharp, and much more.

Of course, we didn’t need research to tell us how valuable friends are.  What was interesting to read was that despite how big some people’s online social networks are, they don’t necessarily have any more close friends than others with smaller networks.

Studies show Americans have fewer close friends today – in the age of Facebook, Twitter, email, and smart phones! – than a decade or two ago.  They socialize less, discuss important life events less, engage in their community less.  Sites exist to help find old friends, make new ones, chat with random people, etc, and yet, it doesn’t seem to be working!

Research tells us that people with close friends live longer, happier lives than their lonely counterparts, but it ain’t easy to make and keep close friends.

Especially for adults, making new friends and maintaining or developing older friendships takes work (and time!).  It takes effort, putting ourselves out there, taking a personal emotional risk with the hopes of achieving a happiness and fulfillment we couldn’t have without friends.

Despite the work this is going to take, I think it’s worth it.  And I’m going to make a plan to get my own Forever Friends.

I hope you’ll join me!

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I’m not the only one worried about making friends!


How many friends does it take…?.  Meet my attempt at linking to a site that is also concerned about making friends, keeping them, and reaching a level of friendly intimacy with them.  I will also add this to the blogroll.

 

Who needs friends anyway?


So I realized that this whole project would only be for personal satisfaction unless I could gather some tangible evidence that indeed, my mental and physical health would benefit from finding some super-duper friends.

I read about a billion magazines, and I know that this topic is featured often, although mostly in passing, but I figured I should drum up some real references to convince at least myself that I did not just imagine that friends are good for you.  (At least I hope I’m not that bad yet!)

So here goes:

Prevention Magazine – 8 Friends Every Woman Needs (and why!)

Woman’s Day Magazine – Lots of reasons to Exercise with a Lady Friend!

Glamour Magazine – 7 Friends Every Woman Needs (a different take on the types – does anybody have all 7 or 8?!)

Elle Magazine – The Importance of Friendship

Allure Magazine – Friends With Benefits (it’s not what you think!)

 

Anyway, this is just a smattering of what women’s magazines tell us about the importance of friends – good friends.  Although reading these types of articles may have made me more acutely aware of my utter lack of a best female friend, I think I already knew deep down that I have been missing out on something great, and that it’s time to change.

Next – to the science.  And after that – to the plan!