Friends are important. They are the ‘family’ you get to choose and they can often end up being consistent assets in your life. I know I have been guilty of letting friendships become less of a priority when I am in a relationship with a man but friends really are where it’s at.
Some of my happiest times have been with my friends. When I was younger, I was a big flirt and enjoyed male company but it didn’t take me long to realise how valuable female friendships can be. Women are great nurturers and can be a fantastic support network during life’s trials and tribulations. Friendships in general can be a crucial element in protecting mental health. The stronger our support network, the better off we are in the mental health stakes.
Friendships create a solid foundation that helps create positive barriers against stress, anxiety and depression. Spending time nurturing relationships releases a hormone called Oxytocin – this hormone releases happy feelings. Friendships really can increase our levels of happiness, improve our immune systems and generally improve overall contentment.
5 reasons why friendships matter
- In friendships people share and check out their perceptions of what is going on for them. This can help them get any problems in proportion and to develop a stronger sense of meaning and direction in their lives.
- Knowing that support is available from a friend increases feelings of security and helps to protect against stress.
- Sharing difficulties with a friend can help reduce their emotional impact and can lead to new ideas about how to tackle those difficulties.
- Then there is the simple pleasure of being in company with other people that you like. This can often lead to laughter and to taking part in activities that raise the spirits and provide a distraction from the more serious side of life.
- The give and take between partners in a friendship is an important element in its pleasure. People enjoy doing something for someone they like and the reciprocity that exists in a relationship seems to be an important part of sustaining it.
Characteristics of good friendships
Good friends are those that you don’t have to see every day. You can pick as you were even if you haven’t seen each other for ages. These friends love you as you are and aren’t possessive over your time. Good friends do keep in touch though and that’s easy to do these days with the internet, texting and emailing.
Good friends listen and don’t judge. Ultimately they want what is best for you. They will give advice but still support you when you make your own decisions.
Good friends keep your secrets.
Good friends have always got your back.
I love all my friends, cherish them. If you look after your friendships those people will be a consistent supportive feature throughout your life.