Two female friends laughing

The importance of friendship

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Friends are important. Find out why maintaining a close bond with your friends delivers a genuine health kick.

The changing nature of friendships

Friendships have the universal function of being supportive, caring and enriching, whilst being emotionally and spiritually rewarding in our lives.

However, as we move through our life and focus on careers, relationships, families or simply moving away we can start to drift apart and lose contact with those that we once seemingly couldn’t live without.

The benefits of friendships

While the ‘good old days’ of road trips, music festivals and just hanging out for the whole day may have evolved into a coffee catch-up, group chat and the odd long lunch, it pays to nurture your friendships for your wellbeing. 

Having good friends:

  • Creates a sense of belonging and purpose
  • Reduces stress
  • Increases happiness
  • Provides a support network during difficult times
Plus, it seems that a strong social network not only contributes to our wellbeing and better quality of life, but they can also improve longevity. 

According to an Australian study, people who had a healthy social network had a lower incidence of mortality over a 10-year period. Surprisingly, those in the study who had relatives, including children did not seem to incur the same protective health properties as the group who had a greater friend pool, which goes to show the importance of our buddies.

How to nurture your friendships

A good friendship, like any relationship is one that involves give-and-take. Being there for a friend in need and leaning on them when the tables are turned are key to a healthy friendship – as is a good belly laugh.

To look after your friendship:
  • Be available - life is busy for everyone and it takes time and effort to grow and nurture your friendships, and it’s time worth taking. Book in a regular catch up with your friends whether that’s in person or by a video chat
  • Listen well – take the time to ask your friends what’s happening with them and listen up. Good listening begins with caring about what your friends have to say and is how to foster trust
  • Open up – trust is a two-way street and by being open and venerable with you friends builds intimacy and strengthens connections