10 Studies About the Benefits of Life With Friends

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Photo: Adina Voicu

In 1979, a popular study grabbed the world’s attention by reporting that people who had only a few friends were TWICE as likely to die.

Yes, die.

While it may be hard to believe that friendship can extend your life, there’s no denying the wealth of research that has connected friendship to health since. And these more recent studies continue to offer great reasons to build and maintain those friendships (or even recover friendships you’ve lost).

Benefits with Friends

  1. Friendship spreads happiness. Not feeling happy? Your friend’s optimistic outlook for the day might just be contagious.
  2.  Friendship lowers your health risks. Believe it or not, being tied into a support system decreases your likelihood of having many health problems.
  3. Friendship strengthens your heart. Really. Having friends has a positive impact on one’s cardiovascular health.
  4. Conversations with friends help you feel your best. Research has shown that having deep, honest, heart-to-heart conversations with those who love you promotes your well being.
  5. Friendship helps you be resilient in hard times. Friends tend to help cushion you when something goes wrong.
  6. Friendship makes you less likely to succumb to serious illness. Having a sufficient number of friends, as well as having quality friends, is linked to your mortality.
  7. Friendship might make you achieve more. Social connections provide needed support in identifying and reaching goals.
  8. Friendship boosts your immune system. Being sociable actually decreases your likelihood of catching a cold. (We can’t make this stuff up, people.)
  9. Your physical health is tied to having confidants. You know how bad it feels to store up fears or negativity inside? Turns out having trusted friends to dialogue with actually impacts your physical well-being.
  10. Friendships make you mentally strong. While friends in adolescence positively affect the mental health of both males and females, check this link for important differences in how friendships impact both genders.

So is it overstating it to say that maintaining friendship can keep a person from dying? It depends on the case, obviously. While having friends won’t make you immortal or give you super powers, it may give you the will to hang on or persevere against illness, it may help you value your life (and therefore make safer choices), and it may help protect you from harm (because you have some extra voices to raise red flags).

In short, make and keep friends. It’s good for you.



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