Remember when making friends was as easy as sharing your juice box or passing a note in class? There’s no doubt about it, making friends is an important skill we begin acquiring at a young age and continue honing throughout life. But as we begin building families, our friendships can take a backseat.
According to Michigan State University social-personality psychologist William Chopik, “Friendships become even more important as we age… keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our well-being. So it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.” Although a quality family life is important, there’s no denying that great friendships enrich our lives, no matter our age. Why are friendships so important?
Remember the friends you leaned on most in high school? For many of us, our friends are what got us through our awkward pre-teen and teenage years. Although the drama-filled high school years eventually come to an end, our need for peer support does not. When you’re passed over for a promotion at work, or you and your spouse have a fight, you’ll need someone to lean on. A good friend can help you put things back into perspective, offer a shoulder to cry on, and tough love when necessary.
Milestones and accomplishments in themselves are fantastic, but they can feel really empty if we don’t have anyone to help you celebrate them. Great friends are not only there to see you through your lowest of lows, but also to help you celebrate the highs. Birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, new jobs, retirements, graduations, vacations, you name it; they’re all better when celebrated with friends. Nothing can replace the feeling you get when you’re surrounded by people who are truly invested in your success and happiness.
Shaping our identity
You may have heard that you become most like the 5 people you spend the most time with, yet another reason that choosing great friends is so important. We are drawn to people who are like ourselves, so it’s important to consider what kind of vibes we’re putting out into the world. Great friends elevate us, motivate us, and celebrate us. When we have positive relationships, we set the wheels in motion for a positive life.
We begin learning from our peers at a very young age, and that process never really stops. We each bring our own strengths, opinions, and points of view to our relationships. Working together to make a friendship successful requires an open mind and a healthy dose of empathy. When we listen and learn from our friends we broaden our horizons, benefiting not only ourselves and our friends, but the world around us as well.
Maintaining strong friendships can be a really great form of self-care. Setting aside time to be with people you enjoy, sharing a laugh, or even just making a random phone call to catch up is a good way to release stress and keep our emotions in balance.
Join us in celebrating International Day of Friendship on July 30th! Share a picture of you and your best friend on our facebook page and tell us about what makes your relationship special.
This blog is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.