Why Friendships Are More Important Than You Realize

Studies have shown that having quality friendships and staying socially active helps one to sleep better, recover faster from illness, and live a longer, healthier life.

By Ryan Clancy | Published


Everyone knows that friendships bring so much to our lives, but did you know they can also bring health benefits? Having a friend to talk to and share memories with helps both our bodies and minds. In the past, friendships have been treated as lesser relationships to family and romantic ones, but is that really true?

When you are isolated and lonely, like many of us during the pandemic, it has an effect on your immune system. White blood cells change their behavior, and your overall immune system is weakened. Socially active people with many friends have better quality sleep, heal faster, and generally have longer, healthier lives. They are also less a risk of developing high blood pressure. 

In contrast, having a range of strained relationships can put pressure on your body, and you are more a risk of chronic illnesses. In extreme cases, having a low to no social life is worse than smoking or having high cholesterol for the body and mind; if you are not being socially active, there is a greater chance you are not physically active either. 

Most studies have come to the conclusion that it does not matter what relationship love and connection come from. As long as some form of love is conveyed, it will produce positive effects within our bodies. They have shown that neither friendship, family, nor romantic relationships are more significant than the previous one as long as there is genuine love and affection from each. 

One study reveals that friendship may be even better for our health than family or romantic relationships. This analysis showed that family and friends were linked to happiness overall, but friendships were more important as people aged. 

There is a pattern to human friendships that happens regardless of your socio-economical standing. Friendships are crucial in forming your prospects in life during your adolescent years, but by the time you hit middle age, their importance reduces a little but picks up as you move into your golden years. 

Studies show that when people are young, they experiment with different types of friendships, but as they get older, they become more selective with the friends they make and interact with. You begin to cut out friendships that do not suit or benefit you. The friendships that stay with you from adolescence to adulthood are genuinely beneficial to your psychological and physical health. 

As humans get older, they need two different types of friendship. Face-value friendships help to receive a broad amount of information and are full of fun, while strong friendships provide robust support when you need it. Having a large variety of social encounters and relationships really help with keeping away health problems. 

While social encounters help keep you healthy, having many weak relationships with no strong bonds can actually make you feel less lonely and can be associated with adverse health problems such as high blood pressure and accelerated cellular aging. So this weekend, get out for a walk, meal, or a drink with a friend, your body will thank you!