Where would we be without our friends? Turns out we’d be lonely, ill, and set in our ways. Admittedly some people are more sociable with others (there’s nothing at all wrong with being a lone wolf if that’s the way you’re wired!), but most of us don’t just like our friends - we need them. With National Friendship Day upcoming on the 30thJuly, here are some great reasons to show your friends some love:
Friendship combats loneliness
Loneliness is not simply being alone. Plenty of people can live alone quite contentedly and never suffer from loneliness, while others can feel profoundly lonely at the centre of a crowded party. Loneliness is an unfulfilled need for meaningful connection with other people. According to researchers, loneliness rivals smoking and obesityas a threat to human health. If you’re struggling with loneliness, we have some advice. If you’re not lonely, spare a thought for the friends who are keeping your loneliness at bay.
Friends keep you real
Are you prone to flights of fancy? Suffer from delusions of grandeur? Ever had one of those ideas which seemed pure genius in your head but didn’t sound so great out loud? Chances are it was your friends who brought you back down to earth each time. Friends offer fresh perspectives on our ideas and our experiences. They keep us grounded, and they keep us real. That’s really important if we’re not to get too entrenched in the echo chambers of our own heads.
Comfort and support
The ‘keeping it real’ thing works the other way, as well. Sometimes our friends are able to see positives where we may see only despair. A good support network can be invaluable during hard times. The best of our friends boost us, comfort us, and help us through life’s trials.
It’s lovely to have someone to share things with. Whether it’s quoting lines from your favourite films at one another, geeking out over mutual fandoms, or reminiscing about holidays you spent together, sharing (and reliving) an experience with a friend is one of the real joys of life.
Good friends, who treat us with honesty, respect, and care, are brilliant for our self-esteem. Being respected and treated well by somebody else can help to convince us that we are worthy of that same kind of respect from ourselves. This can, however, be a two-way street. Low self-esteem can make it hard to form friendships, and toxic friendships can be bad for self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to cultivate quality friendships with people who are a good fit for you – not merely to surround yourself with any old folk purely for the sake of having ‘friends’.
All in all, our friends are an important bunch of people. Treat them to a round on the 30th. Then, because you’re their friend (and friendship works both ways), they’ll have to get in a round themselves. Everybody wins!