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Most people count good friends among the most important people in their lives. Not all friends are good, though. Good friends communicate openly. Still, they accept you for you — just as you accept them. You can trust them to respect your boundaries , even when you disagree with one another. They also support you when they can — even if all they can offer is a listening ear. Loneliness and social isolation can affect mental and physical well-being, and more and more people are feeling lonely these days.
To understand the difference between these concerns, think of it this way: Friends help you avoid isolation , but good friends help prevent loneliness. On the other hand, even a few close friends can help you avoid loneliness. And when you do feel lonely, you know you can address it by reaching out to talk, joke, or spend time with a friend. Distance and other factors might prevent you from physically hanging out, but simply knowing you share a strong connection can help you feel less alone. Everyone faces some stress.
It can come in large or small doses, but no matter how minor it seems at first, it can quickly pile up and overwhelm you. You might notice mood symptoms, such as anxiety , depression , or irritability , but stress can affect you in other ways, too. Research suggests maintaining strong friendships can help you cope with stress more effectively and help lower your chances of facing some types of stress in the first place.
Think back to the last time you felt upset or worried about something. Maybe you mentioned your concerns to a friend who listened to you vent and helped you brainstorm solutions. Emotional support is an important benefit of relationships. If you have a romantic relationship, you might go to your partner first.
This is perfectly normal, and romantic partners can absolutely offer comfort and reassurance. Relationship experts generally recommend maintaining friendships with people besides your partner, as this can benefit emotional health alongside relationship health. When you and your partner disagree or want to spend time on different hobbies, friends who share your interests can help you maintain your sense of self.
If you want to create positive change in your life or have a habit you want to break , friends can help you maintain your resolve to practice healthier habits. This may be one reason why strong friendships can lengthen your life. One way friends can help you change for the better is by providing good examples. Your friends might also support your choices by making changes with you.
If you want to a gym or start running, for example, having an exercise buddy can encourage you to stick with it until it becomes part of your routine. This encouragement can boost your self-confidence, increasing your chances of success with your goals. We all want to know we matter to others — that our life has purpose. Caring about others makes life more meaningful. When you care for others, you take on the responsibility of offering compassion and emotional support.
This can make you a stronger, better person. At the same time, knowing you have a support network can help you feel more secure in your own life. Even when your friends are scattered over several cities, states, or even countries, you still have those connections to trusted friends who have your back.
At any given time, without warning, you might face traumatic or difficult events that affect emotional well-being, such as:. Any of these challenges can have a ificant impact on long-term mental health outcomes. This study, which looked at resilience in more than 2, adolescents between the ages of 14 and 24, found evidence to suggest friendship strongly predicted resilience, or the ability to recover after distressing experiences. Study authors noted that while family support also helped boost immediate resilience, friendship predicted greater resilience later in life, while family support did not.
Now that you know more about the benefits of strong friendships, you might wonder how to go about finding and keeping good friends. Developing and maintaining friendships is often easier said than done, especially in adulthood when the demands of daily life keep you busy. These tips can help.
Consider your recent interactions with others. Extending an invitation can feel a little scary, especially if you fear rejection. But if they feel nervous, too, your friendship may never get off the ground. Keep your invitation simple and casual. Find more tips on getting to know people here.
Find tips on improving communication in friendships and other relationships here. If you find it difficult to keep up multiple friendships, consider focusing on the ones that really matter to you. Many people lack the time and emotional energy to nurture numerous close friendships. At the end of the day, the of friends you have matters far less than the quality of those relationships. Even a few close friendships can make plenty of difference in your well-being.
Unhealthy or toxic friendships can cause stress and bring you down just as easily as healthy friendships lift you up. Find more s of toxic friendships and tips on how to cope here. But strong friendships will continue to strengthen you, year in and year out, because the important things — trust , respect, forgiveness , and support — will always stay the same.
Crystal Raypole has ly worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. Americans are increasingly reporting feelings of loneliness. Experts say it may have something to do with aging, according to research recently…. It's not just about having someone to get coffee with.
Read why the social support you get from having strong, female friendships can be one of a kind. An invisible illness can change how I act around friends. We often talk about toxicity in terms of romantic partners, but certain types of friends can be just as toxic. Here are 6 techniques that can help people living with social anxiety feel more comfortable in social situations and make friends. Interpersonal relationships range from those with your family and friends to romantic partners and acquaintances.
Maintaining good relationships is…. It sounds simple, but getting to know people can be seriously hard. We've got some tips to help you ease the process and get to know people on a…. When you stand, you burn anywhere from to calories an hour. It all depends on your sex, age, height, and weight. Sitting, by comparison, only…. Medically reviewed by Marney A. Less loneliness and social isolation. Reduced stress. Emotional support. Personal development. A sense of belonging.
Support through challenges. Tips and tricks. The bottom line. Read this next. A Loneliness Epidemic? In a Toxic Friendship? Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph. Medically reviewed by Vara Saripalli, Psy. Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph. How to Maintain Your Interpersonal Relationships. Medically reviewed by Dillon Browne, Ph. How to Really Get to Know Someone.Need a friend maybe more
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