By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
True friends can improve your life.
Having good long-term friends in your life can be even more beneficial than being in a good relationship. With today’s high rates of breakups and divorces, you’re more likely to have one of your school friends in your life than your ex when you grow older. Studies have shown that friends are even more critical to your happiness than your romantic partner.
Humans are inherently social animals, and we don’t do well when we don’t feel we belong in the herd. The strong sense of connection positive friends provide can improve both your physical and your mental health.
People with close mutual friendships are healthier and live longer.
Being connected with friends and spending time with them reduces stress. It makes you less likely to be lonely or to feel isolated. Being lonely and isolated is just as damaging to your physical health as smoking, drinking, or being seriously overweight. People with networks of positive friendships tend to live longer. Spending time with friends can brighten your day and improve your mood.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Have you ever noticed that some people start to look like their dogs? People also begin to act like their friends. Hang out with the winners, and you’re likely to be a winner. Hang out with losers – will you know what will happen. Positive friends help motivate you to do things. Negative friends suck all the energy out of you.
One of the things people in recovery from drugs and alcohol learn quickly is that they begin to act like the people they hang out with. If you want to stop smoking, don’t spend a lot of time around smokers. You won’t get sober spending a lot of time in a bar. If all your friends go to college, you’re more likely to go there, and even if you don’t, you’re likely to learn a lot from those friends.
Friends can provide emotional support.
Whatever the goals you are trying to accomplish, friends can support you. People with positive friends are more productive and more likely to take the actions needed to take you where you’re going. Whether it’s writing your book or losing that weight, telling your friends what you’re working on can engage them in supporting you. Having someone cheering you on can motivate you to keep going when things get tough.
There’s a difference between friends and acquaintances.
I wish social media had never started calling those links to your profile “friends.” While you may connect with one or two real friends on any social media platform, the bulk of the people you’re calling friends are electronic imposters. Those are pixels, not people. Real friendships are reciprocal. They would do something for you, and you would do something for them. And I don’t mean just push the like button on their latest post.
Beware of friends who are only around when they need something from you. When you’re going through the tough times in life, look around and see who still considers themselves your friend.
Developing genuine friendships can be challenging.
Making friends can be a struggle. As our lives progress, it’s harder to put yourself out there and meet new people. If you are an introvert, or high in anxiety, making new friends may seem impossible. Despite all the challenges in making new friends, the benefits of friendship are well worth the effort. Remember, there are others out there who would like to make a new friend just as much as you do.
Another way to increase the quality of your friendships is to reconnect with old friends you’ve lost touch with. Life gets busy, and sometimes we forget to stay in contact. Some of those friends you haven’t talked to for a while would love to hear from you again.
You make friends through shared activities.
Most friendships develop around something you do together. Lifelong friends are often someone you met in elementary school or high school. Old school friends are likely to be in your life come what may. If you engage in an activity, have a hobby or other interest, your involvement in that activity is a great way to create new friends.
If you want to make new friends, do more positive activities.
Whatever your interests, stop being passive and become involved. People who garden and join the gardening club frequently make lifelong friends. People who are active in sports develop friends who play the same sports.
Be careful about having your entire social circle revolve around your work. If the only thing you have in common is where you work, that friendship may not outlast your employment. People whose only friends are work friends may find themselves alone once they retire or leave the company. The people you enjoy spending time with are the ones who will contribute the most to having a happy life.
How satisfied are you with the quality of your friendships?
If friendships are an important part of your life, please leave a comment below. If you’d like to learn more about improving the quality of your friendships, please look at the other posts in the category – friends.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track, and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.
What if your family secrets put you in danger?
Letters from the Dead. The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
Books are now available on Amazon.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.