It certainly wouldn’t be a mind-blowing statement to point out that people enjoy catching up with their friends. However, there is now scientific proof that hanging out with your friends actually helps to improve your mental and emotional health. Specifically, Robin Dunbar, an Oxford psychology professor, studied the effects of friendship for a Guinness campaign.
There is some consensus about how much you should be connecting with friends and family. Dunbar points out that hanging out twice a week might be enough to have actual positive physical effects. Believe it or not, those who associate with larger friend groups actually recover faster from surgery and are less likely to get sick, as well.
Supporting You Through The Bad Times
One of the best aspects of friendships is that they can help you cope with various situations in your life. If you have just experienced a traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one, or are stressing because you can’t find a job – friends can help you relieve stress and have a little fun in the moment.
The fact that friends are willing to support you through tough times is also what makes the good times that you have together that much more meaningful. Friends can also help you see things from another perspective, which might help you evaluate your life in a more unbiased manner.
A New Sense Of Meaning
Friendships can often last through many various stages of your life. There’s a good chance that you have probably had friends for several years, but friendships can last several decades.
One of the great things about friendships that last this long is that you can celebrate your milestones and achievements together. Whether it’s a job promotion, a 30th birthday, or simply relocating to a new city – old friends can help you appreciate just how far you – and your friend – have come.
For example, you may have traveled to a different continent from where you are from and started a family. A friend visiting you in your new home can provide a deep connection to your past, and it can be a great way to experience a new sense of joy and meaning in your life.
Of course, friendships often begin in strange ways. For example, you might befriend someone, only to find that THEIR friend is closer to you several years later.
Similarly, your friends might have introduced you to various romantic partners that have taught you important lessons about love and loss. Either way, hanging out with friends can help you with your overall social skills.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living – social skills can certainly help you in the professional world. You might be able to empathize more with a client or negotiate terms better as a result of interacting with more people.
Friends often lead to more friends, which can lead to a larger and more lucrative network. That’s one of the great things about friends – they can make your life richer, whether it’s professionally, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.