Friendship. It’s a word that we hear tossed around very often. But have you ever wondered why friendship is so important in our life?
Friendship is important in our lives because it provides emotional support, companionship, and a sense of belonging. Friends offer understanding, empathy, and encouragement, enhancing our overall well-being and happiness. They also provide opportunities for personal growth, fun experiences, and shared memories, enriching our lives in countless ways.
What do you think about, or should I say who do you think about when you hear the word friendship?
Does anyone remember the song “Friends” by the group Whodini? Only me? Oh, ok. Well, let me just sing a little bit of it to you. Okay, okay, I’m kidding.
When I hear that song, I smile (and dance a little). I smile because I can proudly boast that I have the most awesome friends in the world!
In fact, I want to take a moment to say thanks to my girlfriends for being their wonderful selves and for influencing my life in such a positive way.
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What is the value of friendship
BetterUp says that friendships are good for our mental health and overall happiness.
Since I was a young girl, I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by the best girl crews ever.
I watched them love, support, and encourage each other through all of life’s ups and downs.
For years, I watched them be there for each other with no expectation of anything in return. Because of my mom and her friends, I have been able to develop and maintain lasting friendships of my own.
And because of that, I’ve been able to experience the reasons why friendship is important in life. It goes far beyond moral support and encouragement.
In fact, having good friends can positively affect almost every area in our lives.
Let’s look at a few…
12 Benefits of Friendship
1. Friends Help Improve Your Social Skills
Having a good friend group is a way to improve your social skills. Friends communicate with each other regularly and each time you talk to your friends, you get an opportunity to grow as a better communicator. Friends have conversations about a variety of topics. With each conversation, you are developing your listening skills and your nonverbal communication skills. Depending on the topic of conversation, you might also be improving your cooperation skills.
When you’re friends with someone, you share all types of information with each other. My friends are amongst the first people I call when I have good news, when I have bad news, and when I have no news at all. Those interactions help you learn appropriate ways to respond. Those skills can be transferred to other life situations.
These conversation starters for friends are a great addition to a fun girls’ night!
2. Friendships Act as Natural Stress Relievers
As previously stated, I call my friends when I have bad news. Why? I call my friends because I know that they are going to help me feel better (instantly) about whatever is not going so well in my life. Friends are natural stress relievers. We turn to them when we feel overwhelmed and when we need to vent.
3. Friends Provide Mental and Emotional Support
Sometimes, it’s nice to know that you have someone in your corner when you need mental and emotional support. Having friends pretty much guarantees that you’ll have that when you need it. It’s not always about your friend giving advice or having the answer to life’s problems. It’s just nice to know that you have someone encouraging, accepting, and loving you when you need it.
4. Good Friends Help You Feel More Confident
I don’t know about your friends, but my friends are my personal cheerleaders! If I’m ever feeling down or unsure about something, my gal pals are the ones to help me to be more confident and courageous.
5. They Often Keep Us Active
Friends can help keep you active. When you have a good friendship, you’re usually doing things together or encouraging each other to do things. One way I stay active with my friends (even though we’re not always together) is by challenging each other on our Apple Watches.
6. Friends Keep Us in Check
I can definitely count on my friends to keep me in check. Not only do my friends celebrate my successes, but they also let me know when I’m out of line or when I may not be putting forth my best effort. Friends should be able to give constructive criticism to each other without worrying about damaging the relationship. I’m thankful for the friends in my life who put me in check when needed.
7. Friendships Provide Security
There is no feeling like knowing that you can depend on someone. The security of knowing that someone has your back, no matter what, is a feeling that is unmatched. It’s important to have one or two friends in your life that can provide that security. If you have more than that, you can consider yourself extremely blessed. Don’t take it for granted.
8. Trusted Friends Provide an Outlet to Express Ourselves
Having friends is having a guaranteed sounding board for your dreams and ideas. Good friends serve as an outlet for you to express yourself. One of my favorite things to do is to share my new ideas with my friends and listen to them tell me their thoughts. You have to make sure that you are only sharing your ideas and expressing yourself to trusted friends.
9. Good Friends Encourage Us to Step Out of Our Comfort Zones
If you don’t have friends who are constantly pushing you to try new things and be a better you, you need new friends. Good friends encourage us to step out of our comfort zones.
10. Friends Help Prevent Loneliness and “The Blues”
Having a good friend reduces loneliness. Even if you don’t live close to your friend, technology makes it super easy to talk to or video chat with your friend.
11. Solid Friendships Help You Cope in Hard Times
When life gets tough, good friends can help you cope. I experienced this firsthand when both of my parents passed away. My friends were there for me to help me cope with hard times. Whenever I am faced with an obstacle in life, my friends are there. True friends are always there to help you through tough times.
12. Friendships Can Even Make Us Healthier
Having friends helps to increase your sense of purpose. Healthy friendships can even improve your self-confidence. When you are surrounded by friends, you tend to be happier, which keeps feelings of depression at bay.
Why Friendships Are So Important
Besides the benefits mentioned above, we need friends in our lives for so much more. It’s hard to put into words a friend’s true value.
When I think back on the forty-something years of my existence, many of the good (and bad) moments of my life include my friends. They have helped me to celebrate numerous occasions and milestones in my life.
They have also helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life as well. I can’t count the number of birthdays, graduations, weddings, childbirths, new jobs, new homes, moves, and unfortunately deaths my girlfriends and I have helped each other through.
I know, without a doubt, that my life is richer because of my girlfriends.
My favorite thing about my girlfriends is that there is no magic formula for making our friendship work.
It’s almost like somewhere along the way, we made secret vows and then spent our lives making sure that those vows remained unbroken.
For example, right before the pandemic, I had dinner with two of my high school girlfriends after having gone without seeing them for quite some time.
We texted each other to set up a time and location. We met up at the location, gave each other the biggest hugs possible, then dined, laughed and talked way longer than I’m sure the waitress would have wanted us to (don’t worry, we tipped her well).
There was no awkwardness and no need to set rules and boundaries for our conversations.
Characteristics of true friends
Do your friendships have the characteristics of a good friendship? Look at this list of qualities of good friendship and see how many of them your relationships possess:
- Trustworthiness: They are honest, reliable, and keep your confidences.
- Loyalty: They stand by your side through thick and thin, supporting you in good times and bad.
- Empathy: They understand your feelings and perspectives, offering support and compassion.
- Acceptance: They embrace you for who you are, without judgment or trying to change you.
- Respect: They value your opinions, boundaries, and individuality.
- Supportiveness: They encourage and cheer you on in your endeavors, celebrating your successes and offering a shoulder during challenges.
- Communication: They are open and honest in their communication, willing to listen and share their thoughts and feelings.
- Shared interests and values: While not necessary for all friendships, having common interests and values can deepen the bond between friends.
- Forgiveness: They are willing to forgive mistakes and overlook shortcomings, understanding that nobody is perfect.
- Time and effort: They invest time and effort into the friendship, making an effort to stay connected and maintain the relationship.
Thankful for My Friends
So why do we need friends in our life?
It’s simple – they are there for you when no one else is.
I honestly cannot recall a moment in my life that I’ve needed my friends and they haven’t been there for me.
Even though we are spread far and wide, I can still count on them to do what friends do. For that, I am thankful.
If you have true friends that you can always count on, consider yourself blessed. Take some time today to tell them thanks.
Even the strongest person can benefit from having true friends. I cannot say enough about why friendship is so important in our lives. Just know that having friends is important for the benefits mentioned above and for so many other reasons. There’s nothing like true friendship!
What Do Experts Say About Friendship?
Experts highlight the profound impact of friendships on various aspects of our lives, including physical health and mental well-being. According to science journalist Lydia Denworth, strong friendships contribute significantly to our overall health and life satisfaction. In this interview with Greater Good Magazine, Denworth talks more about the importance of friendship. Close relationships, particularly with a best friend or reliable friends, can positively influence physical well-being, such as lowering blood pressure and strengthening the immune system.
Social isolation, on the other hand, poses risks to both physical and mental health, potentially leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and feelings of loneliness. Older adults, in particular, benefit from strong social connections as they age, with close friendships playing a significant role in maintaining cognitive functions and overall quality of life.
Strong social ties also serve as a buffer against mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Having a supportive friend who is a good listener can provide much-needed emotional support during challenging times. Additionally, spending time with friends engaged in activities that align with our interests can foster a sense of belonging and fulfillment.
Friendships are a two-way street, requiring mutual support and understanding. Toxic friendships, characterized by ambivalent relationships or lack of trust, can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. It’s crucial to prioritize quality friendships over the sheer number of friends, as reliable friends who share common ground and values are more likely to withstand the test of time.
In today’s digital age, social media can facilitate new connections and maintain old friendships, but it’s essential to balance online interactions with real-life social interactions. Face-to-face interactions, with eye contact and personal engagement, have a more significant positive impact on our well-being than virtual interactions alone.
Overall, the importance of friendship cannot be overstated. It’s one of the most important things we can invest in for a healthier, happier life. By nurturing strong social connections and cultivating healthy habits within our social circle, we can experience the positive benefits of friendships across all areas of our lives.
What are Some Tips for Being a Good Friend?
Being a good friend is essential for maintaining strong and meaningful relationships. Here are some tips for being a good friend:
- Listen attentively: Practice active listening when your friend is talking. Show genuine interest in what they have to say, and refrain from interrupting or judging.
- Be supportive: Offer your support and encouragement during both good times and bad. Show empathy and understanding, and be there for your friend when they need someone to lean on.
- Communicate openly: Foster open and honest communication in your friendship. Be willing to express your thoughts and feelings respectfully, and encourage your friend to do the same.
- Respect boundaries: Respect your friend’s boundaries and privacy. Avoid prying into their personal affairs or pressuring them to share more than they’re comfortable with.
- Be reliable: Be someone your friend can depend on. Follow through on your promises and commitments, and be there for them when they need you, even if it’s just to lend a listening ear.
- Be nonjudgmental: Accept your friends for who they are. Don’t try to change or criticize them. Offer support and understanding, even if you don’t always agree with their choices.
- Celebrate their successes: Celebrate your friend’s achievements and milestones, no matter how big or small. Show genuine happiness for their successes and offer your congratulations.
- Be forgiving: Understand that everyone makes mistakes, including your friend. Practice forgiveness and let go of any grudges or resentments that may arise in your friendship.
- Be inclusive: Include your friend in your plans and activities whenever possible. Make an effort to involve them in your life and introduce them to new people and experiences.
- Respect their time and priorities: Understand that your friend may have other commitments and priorities in their life. Be respectful of their time and avoid putting pressure on them to always be available.
By following these tips, you can cultivate strong and lasting friendships built on trust, respect, and mutual support.
What Are Some Tips for Nurturing Positive Relationships?
Maintaining healthy friendships is crucial for fostering lasting connections and mutual support.
- Regular communication: Make an effort to communicate regularly with your friends, whether through calls, texts, or in-person meetups. Keeping in touch helps strengthen your social network and prevents feelings of loneliness.
- Quality time: Spend quality time together engaging in activities that you both enjoy. Whether it’s joining a sports team, attending cultural events, or simply having coffee and catching up, shared experiences help solidify your bond.
- Open communication: Foster open and honest communication in your friendships, where you feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. This creates a supportive environment where you can address any issues that may arise.
- Respect boundaries: Respect your friends’ boundaries and personal space. Understand that everyone has different priorities and commitments, so it’s essential to be understanding and flexible when making plans.
- Supportive friend: Be a supportive friend by offering encouragement and assistance when needed. Whether it’s celebrating their successes or being there for them during tough times, showing empathy and understanding strengthens your bond.
- Reliability: Be a reliable friend by following through on your promises and commitments. This builds trust and confidence in your friendship, knowing that you can depend on each other when it matters most.
- Mutual interests: Share common interests and hobbies with your friends, as this provides opportunities for bonding and creating new memories together. Finding common ground strengthens your connection and fosters a sense of camaraderie.
- Healthy habits: Encourage each other to maintain healthy habits, whether it’s exercising together, cooking nutritious meals, or practicing self-care. Supporting each other’s well-being promotes a healthier lifestyle and strengthens your friendship.
- Positive relationships: Surround yourself with positive influences and cultivate friendships that uplift and inspire you. Avoid toxic relationships that drain your energy and focus on nurturing healthy, fulfilling connections instead.
- Social circle: Expand your social circle by introducing your friends to new people and experiences. Embrace diversity and inclusivity within your friendship group, as this enriches your interactions and broadens your perspective.
By incorporating these tips into your friendships, you can maintain healthy and fulfilling connections that stand the test of time.
Quotes About Friendship
Here are some quotes about friendship from various authors, philosophers, and notable figures:
- “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” – C.S. Lewis
- “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell
- “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow Wilson
- “True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.” – David Tyson
- “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” – Muhammad Ali
- “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” – Unknown
- “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” – Jim Morrison
- “A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.” – Len Wein
- “Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.” – John Evelyn
- “A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” – Elbert Hubbard
These quotes beautifully capture the essence and importance of friendship in our lives.
Here’s the True Value of Friendship – The value and importance of friendship; it’s as important to our wellbeing as eating right and exercising. (liveabout.com)
The Top 6 Reasons Friends Are Important – Friendships are important in many ways. Good friends can support you in tough times, help you beat stress, make you healthier, and more. (verywellmind.com)
The Importance of Friendship – Good friends enhance the quality, the pleasure, and the health of each other (psychologytoday.com)
Why Healthy Friendships are Important for Mental Health – Mental Health First Aid – When Ethan Call’s usually reliable friend didn’t come to church services, he was worried and texted her. She responded that she was having a bad time and wanted to stay home. Knowing that she struggled with anxiety and depression, Ethan (mentalhealthfirstaid.org)
This post was originally published in July 2021. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.