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The 5 Benefits of Friendship

Quality friendships are those that stand the test of time. No matter if distance, disagreements, or the occasional argument gets in the way of two friends, the healthiest, most understanding friendships have a way of prevailing through it all.

Good friends communicate openly, they allow and respect boundaries, and will stick through the good and the bad times. With good friends, you’ll feel more confident, loved, and celebrated for the unique and wonderful person that you are.

Read on as we explore the most important benefits of friendship and making new friends and what sets these types of relationships apart from the rest.

What Qualifies Someone as Being a “True Friend”?

In its simplest form, a true friend is someone who is able to accept and value you for person that you are. A true friend never looks to betray your trust; they keep your secrets, consider your feelings in challenging situations, and will defend you in conversations even without you being present. They will encourage you to challenge yourself, achieve your goals, and fulfill your life’s purpose. They build you up, making you a more confident, happy, and well-rounded human.

As we progress through our many different life stages, from school and sports, to work and recreational activities, our lifestyle and hobbies lead us to meet all kinds of new people. What we may not realize at a younger age is that true friends come in all shapes and sizes. Oftentimes, some of our most faithful, loyal, and empathetic friends are those that look, sound, or act nothing like us whatsoever!

Some true friends have been a part of your life since elementary school, whereas others come into your lives much later than this. Nonetheless, true friendships are unconditional.

Top 5 Benefits of Friendship & Making New Friends

Many of the best friendships can bring a ton of beneficial qualities into our lives. Here are the top 5 most important benefits that new and long-term friendships can offer.

1.   Friendships can bring you more happiness and fulfillment

Having friends or making new friends can fill your days with happiness, adventure, and enjoyment. They join you when you want to explore new activities, they can share a lazy Sunday afternoon with you, or they can even force you out of the house when they know it’s best for you.

A recent study looking at the role of friendship quality and happiness revealed that friendship quality was the main significant predictor of happiness. Another study explained that though quality and quantity of friendships are both important features to our levels of happiness, individuals who rate the quality of their relationships higher are generally happier!

2.   Friendships prevent loneliness and isolation

Loneliness and social isolation can both negatively affect our mental and physical well-being. Though we may have a ton of friendships, having low-quality friends can make us feel lonely even in a room full of people.

Studies have shown that strong friendships can help protect us from experiencing loneliness or social isolation. The reason for this is that true friends are oftentimes the ones who we feel safest with, are able to open up to, never feel judged by, and can share the strongest connection with.

3.   Friendships minimize stress and anxiety

Stress is a very common part of our lives. However, our experience with stress depends on our levels of psychological resilience. In other words, people who express greater psychological resilience tend to be more willing to cope productively during challenging times, express more calmness and focus, and are more capable of moving past crises without any potentially harmful negative consequences, such as anxiety or depression.

Studies have shown that subjects who perceive higher levels of social support expressed lower stress levels, experienced higher levels of confidence, and were more adaptive during seemingly ‘overwhelming’ situations such as public speaking.

4.   Friendships improve confidence and overall self-worth

Having confidence in ourselves can help pull us out of difficult situations, elevate our motivation and energy to take action on our goals, and help us live life more authentically.

Good friends bring out the best in us; they recognize our talent, our kindness, and our many unique attributes – even if we don’t see it in ourselves. For this reason, friends have the ability to build up our levels of confidence and self-worth. According to a recent study, satisfying friendships are shown to be closely associated with a greater sense of well-being, higher levels of self-worth, and improved social competence and self-esteem.

5.   Friendships help you cope with loss or trauma

Experiencing loss or trauma on our own can be incredibly isolating. Friends are some of the most influential people in our lives during these difficult moments.

Quality friendships help protect our mental health in many ways. They can help keep us grounded, provide us with greater perspective, improve our coping skills, and offer support to help us work through loss, trauma, or other life-changing, painful situations. Whether it’s one good friend you feel comfortable confiding in or a small group of close friends, it’s important to have people that can empathize with you and know how to pull you out of a dark place when you’re in need of it the most.

The Bottom Line

Good friends are beneficial at all stages of our lives. As we grow older, our friend circle may change ever so slightly. However, it’s always important to recognize and hold onto the friends who bring you the most value in your life.

If you’re struggling to build quality friendships, here are some tips to help you out:

  • Spend time working on yourself (i.e. practice self-compassion, value and celebrate yourself for who you are, and become happier and more confident in your own skin)
  • Be open to listening to others as they share their personal stories with you
  • Be kind and friendly to people who walk into your life
  • Spend quality time with new friends by exploring mutual hobbies, shared interests, or new adventures together
  • Be there for the people who look to you for guidance, advice, and support
  • Give your friends space and respect their boundaries when they request it from you

Remember that it takes mutual effort to build and maintain quality friendships. If you’re someone who wants to improve your friend-making skills, gain more confidence to meet new people, or work through mental health concerns caused by broken friendships, reach out for support today by booking a free 30-minute consultation.

Written by Tori Mudie, BA, MA, RP, CCC

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