Why It’s Important to Have Healthy Friendships - Humantold
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Why It’s Important to Have Healthy Friendships

Nayera Elsayed August 2, 2021

Our friends are the "family members" that we have both the option (and privilege) of choosing. Here's why these social connections are essential for our mental health.

Our friends are the "family members" that we have both the option (and privilege) of choosing. Here's why these social connections are essential for our mental health.

The world can be a frightening place, and life is full of hurdles and major obstacles. But, luckily, our friends help us get through it. 

Humans are social beings that need to be connected to the rest of society. Friends are the "family members" that we have both the option (and privilege) of choosing. They are present in all aspects of our lives as we face some of life's most difficult challenges as cheerleaders, confidants, and support. 

At some point in your life, you have probably heard someone proclaim the infamous quote, "I don't need anyone but myself to survive?" Cute sentiment, but there is far more to survival than food, water, and oxygen.  

Imagine living a life that has brought us to our knees, only to glance around and discover that we are alone on the battlefield. We are more prone to slow down, tire out, or even quit if we do not have friends to remind us that being alone on the battlefield does not have to be what we succumb to. 

It is not in our nature to solve every problem, every circumstance, and every conundrum we come across on our own. It makes no difference how powerful, intelligent, capable, confident, or successful we are. We rely on one another. We were created to collaborate, fight together, assist one another in finding answers, and emerge on the other side unified. We need friends, and our friends need us. Also, life would lack flavor and depth without friends.  

Friendship is characterized by being open, sincere, and honest with one another. It is a relationship founded upon mutual trust and a sense of safety. Friends accept each other's flaws, value each other's differences, and critique each other lovingly and honestly. Most healthy, successful connections in our world are built upon the bedrock of friendship. Whether we are in a romantic partnership, business partnership, or have developed a neighborhood network, friendship provides a solid foundation for all these relationships. 

We desire friendships with those that we feel the most at ease. People in our immediate circle have the power to affect our perceptions of ourselves and the world. Quality friendships can aid in the reduction of health issues like anxiety and depression. These people and our relationships with them are critical for our emotional well-being. These quality friendships reduce stress, bring comfort and delight, and keep us from feeling lonely and alone. 

It is the quality of your friendships, not the quantity, that counts.

Here are a few reasons why friendships are vital:

  1. They give us the push we need. Friends encourage us to step outside of our comfort zones and try new things. They teach us that fear is only a voice in our heads.
  2. They promote mental development. Friends can assist us in gaining a better understanding of situations that are roadblocks in our lives. They show us the positive aspects of our issues. It is impossible to deal with our difficulties on our own all the time.
  3. They support us amidst difficult situations. At some point, we all pass through some horrific times. Those are the times when we need someone to weep on. Friends can provide just that.
  4. They help us reach our goals. Encouragement from a friend may greatly enhance your motivation and chances of success. Whether you are attempting to start a business, go to the gym, give up a bad habit, or otherwise improve your life, our friends can help keep us on track. 
  5. They love us unconditionally. A shared bloodline does not constitute unconditional love. It is very possible for friends to love us unconditionally without asking for anything in return.

As we reflect upon and celebrate friendship, I have a challenge for you: Take a minute, close your eyes, and consider your closest friends. 

Why did you become friends?

What kind of discussions do you have?

Does this friend uplift your spirit? 

Is reciprocity present in this friendship?

Do you feel unconditionally supported in this friendship?

Consider the instances when you had a friend at your side through a difficult period; the value of these friendships in our lives cannot be overstated.

Make a list of the friend(s) that fall under these categories, call them, and express your gratitude for their friendship. They will undoubtedly be shocked but also grateful that you did. Be yourself and seek out friends who see and support you. Find your people who not only celebrate you but inspire and challenge you. And finally, celebrate your friends, learn to mourn with them, and grow together.

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