Only One Right Person? How Can That Be?

Funemployed Gal AUTHOR
Today is the first day of the rest of your life..make it a good one! :)
Relationships

Jul 22,2017

Friends have a huge impact on your happiness. Good friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, prevent loneliness and isolation, and even strengthen your health. But close friendships don’t just happen. Many of us struggle to meet new people and develop quality connections. Whatever your age or circumstances, though, it’s never too late to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and improve your social life.

Why are friends important?

Our society tends to place an emphasis on romantic relationships. We think that if we can just find that right person, we’ll be happy and fulfilled. But research shows that friends are even more important to psychological well-being. Friends bring more happiness into our lives than virtually anything else.

What’s more, friendships have a powerful impact on our physical health. Lack of social connection can be as damaging as smoking, drinking too much, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. Friends are even tied to longevity. A recent Swedish study found that, along with physical activity, maintaining a rich network of friends can add significant years to your life.

The life-enhancing, mood boosting benefits of friends

While developing and maintaining a friendship takes time and effort, the many benefits of having close friends make it a valuable investment. Good friends can:

Improve your mood. Spending time with happy and positive friends can elevate your mood and boost your outlook.

Help you to reach your goals. Whether you’re trying to get fit, give up smoking, or otherwise improve your life, encouragement from a friend can really boost your willpower and increase your chances of success.

Reduce your stress and depression. Having an active social life can bolster your immune system and help reduce isolation, a major contributing factor for depression.

Support you through tough times. Even if it’s just having someone to share your problems with, friends can help you cope with serious illness, the loss of a job or loved one, the breakup of a relationship, or any other challenges in life.

Support you as you age. As you age, retirement, illness, and the death of loved ones can often leave you isolated. Having people you can turn to for company and support can provide purpose as you age and be a buffer against depression, disability, hardship and loss.

Boost your self-worth. Friendship is a two-way street, and the “give” side of the give-and-take contributes to your own sense of self-worth. Being there for your friends makes you feel needed and adds purpose to your life.

Know what to look for in a friend

A friend is someone you trust and share a deep level of understanding and communication. A good friend will: 

  • Show a genuine interest in what’s going on in your life, what you have to say, and how you think and feel about things
  • Accept you for who you are
  •  Listen to you attentively without judging you, telling your how to think or feel, or trying to change the subject
  • Feel comfortable sharing things about themselves with you

As friendship works both ways, a friend is also someone you feel comfortable supporting and accepting, and someone with whom you share a bond of trust and loyalty. 

Focus on the way a friendship feels, not what it looks like

The most important thing in a friendship is how the relationship makes you feel—not how it looks on paper, how many things you have in common, or what others think. Ask yourself:

  • Do I feel better after spending time with this person?
  • Am I myself around this person?
  • Do I feel safe, or do I feel like I have to watch what I say and do?
  • Is the person supportive and treat me with respect?
  • Is this a person I can trust?

The bottom line: if the friendship feels good, it is good. But if a person tries to control you, criticizes you, abuses your generosity, or brings unwanted drama or negative influences into your life, it’s time to re-evaluate the friendship. A good friend does not require you to compromise your values, always agree with them, or disregard your own needs.

An excerpt from an article by

Authors: Lawrence Robinson, Greg Boose, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: April 2017

Making Good Friends: Tips for Meeting People and Making Meaningful Connectionus

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