It is a common misconception that a person needs to have a large number of friends to be happy. However, studies have proven that the number of friends is not important, but their quality (or honesty). According to an American study, the average healthy social circle is to have 3-5 close friends, 10-15 people in your social circle, and 100-150 acquaintances and colleagues.
Statistics also showed that half of adults have 3 very close friends, 30-25% have 4-5 very close friends, while the remaining few have 6 or more close friends.
Life Coach Nadia Abdullah Naim explained: Greek philosophers spoke of the importance of friendship and its role in human life, as they considered the facts and theories of friendship as important as the facts and theories. scientists. They defined it as a relationship between two people whose basis is affection, love, mercy and honesty. For Socrates, friendship is an indication of a person’s deepest being, hence the saying: “Tell me who your friend is, and I will tell you who you are.” He repeatedly indicated that the good in a person attracts good friends, and the bad in itself attracts bad friends. He explained the attraction of friends as a force and attraction of the universe that pulls a person towards what he wants and is within him.
An alternative to the psychiatrist
On the definition of a friend, Nadia explained: Friendship is a relationship between two strangers (outside the family) through the bond of affection, compassion, trust and honesty. However, there are family relationships (such as brothers or parents) that also turn into a strong friendship. What distinguishes a healthy friendship relationship is that it is a sincere relationship that allows a person to comfortably express their opinion and circumstances without fear of being judged or revealing secrets. It also provides the person with feelings of confidence, support, pleasure and positivity. Thus, a friend can be likened to a substitute for a psychiatrist.
Don’t despair of friendship
And Naim continued: Some who have been subjected to harsh experience (such as betrayal, betrayal, or repeated negative criticism) from former friends, hold the belief that friendship is a pointless or unreal relationship. , or they suffer from a phobia of trusting others. This led them to detail the loneliness and superficial relationships that bring them closer to people, just for fun and enjoyment. But just as a person shouldn’t give up on marriage after a failed marriage, they should continue to make friends.
She added: There are friendships that continued through adolescence and youth, but then disintegrated, and there are new and strong friendships although they were formed during the labor phase or old age. A friend is a beautiful addition to life, providing support in difficulties and sharing joys.
Scientifically Proven Benefits
Life Coach Nadia referenced several studies confirming the benefits of friendship and mentioned 7 of them:
1- Make you physically healthier
Friendships improve your health on all levels, which research shows is just as important as diet and exercise. They help lower blood pressure, body mass index, inflammation and diabetes risk in all age groups. But that only applies to good friendships with people who inspire you to be a better version of yourself. Toxic friendships have the opposite effect. Friends in poor health or with mental disorders negatively affect your health, leading to an increased risk of depression, obesity, smoking, substance abuse, and suicide.
2 makes you happier
Fame and wealth do not buy happiness, but friendship does, as one of the longest human studies on happiness has shown that relationships are the main indicator of the level of joy and happiness, as the Harvard College study went on to follow more than a thousand people for 80 years, to reveal “what are the psychological variables and biological factors that predict health and well-being at the end of life.” The results were astonishing that the only factor that can be linked to happiness is the quality of human relationships, as the role of close friendships, family ties and marriage overtook the role of social class, IQ, fame or wealth.
According to the study, those who were most satisfied with their friendships at age 50 were the healthiest and happiest at age 80. Loneliness was also strongly linked to early death and life-threatening illnesses at age 60, as was smoking. or addiction.
3- It prolongs life
Studies have shown that human instinct and even their brains are activated for social communication in a way that is instinctive and essential for survival. Social bonding can be said to be a survival mechanism, as children who do not receive human hugs and caresses are at risk of death. A study also concluded that older people who are socially connected are 50% more likely to survive the next ten years of their lives.
In other words, poor social relationships or a lack of friends increases the risk of death, regardless of age, gender or health status.
4- It increases immunity and reduces diseases
Research evidence has confirmed that strong social connections play a role in boosting immunity. In one study, researchers found that social contact reduced the risk of catching a cold even when exposed to the cold virus. In other words, people who like to have friends are less likely to catch a cold and a viral infection, regardless of their lifestyle decisions.
On the other hand, social isolation and loneliness are associated with low immunity and can even lead to immune system defect, cognitive decline, and increased risk of chronic diseases with age.
5- Increase financial success
You may have heard the saying “Your network is your net worth”. Financial success is linked to social competence, especially among entrepreneurs, where social competence is a major determinant of wealth, in all areas of commerce and industry. The most successful people in life and in business are the most confident, they have significant and strong family and social support, and they develop the ability to interact comfortably and effectively with people.
6- Improve your mental health
Good friendships reduce stress, boost self-esteem and create a sense of belonging. In order to know the effect of not having a friend, a 2020 study indicated that 3 out of 5 Americans suffer from loneliness, and that this feeling of loneliness and isolation is strongly linked to early death and the risk of depression and mental illness, and even cognitive and mental deterioration.
7- It reduces the sensation of pain
Some prefer actual physical hurt to rejection or betrayal by a friend. The reason could be, according to a study conducted by neuroscientists, that “social pain” activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.
In other words, social pain causes palpable pain, which can be likened to a “broken heart” or a “hurt of feelings”.
On the other hand, several studies have indicated that maintaining strong social bonds and healthy friendships are among the factors that reduce and may even mask feelings of pain in people with disc, bone and muscle pain and joint pain. other diseases.
A healthy friendship is an honest relationship that gives a person feelings of trust, support, fun and positivity.
Research has shown that friendships are just as important as diet and exercise
Friendship helps reduce blood pressure, inflammation and diabetes risk
Those who were most satisfied with their friendships at 50 were healthier at 80
Social contact reduces the risk of catching a cold, even when exposed to the virus that causes it
On the other hand, friends in poor health or suffering from mental disorders negatively affect your health.
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