Want to live Longer? Make Real Friends

I just had a reunion weekend with my college room mates, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years and it was amazing! It got me thinking about friendship and its effect on us. First, I think it’s important to clarify what a real or true friendship is. In todays world of social media, casual acquaintances, remote coworkers and various community relationships defining a real friendship can be challenging.

Ways to identify a “true” friendship:

  1. When you talk or see each other, even after years, you feel like you saw each other yesterday.
  2. You know each others dreams, likes/dislikes and habits.
  3. You know each others values and history.
  4. You really care about them and that they are safe, healthy and happy.
  5. You tell each other the truth, even when it’s hard to.

Note: if you think you have more than 5 really close friends your either very devoted to your friendship relationships or need to reevaluate. Like any good relationship, it requires work. Personally, I’d rather have a handful of true friendships than thousands of acquantances.

Now, lets turn to the scientific benefits of real friendship. Harvard Women’s Health Watch released a study revealing that strong social connections can improve health and increase longevity. It turns out that real friendships are just as important to your health as choosing not to smoke, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep. Having real friendships can actually help you to live longer. Researchers found that people who had authentic friendships were happier, better adjusted, had fewer health problems and indeed lived longer.

Some of the benefits of real friendships that will help you to live longer include:

  • Boosting your happiness and reducing your stress
  • Helping you to cope with negative life changes like divorce, illness, job loss, death and other trauma
  • Improving your self confidence and sense of belonging/purpose
  • Provides encouragement relative to healthy lifestyles like regular exercise and minimal drinking/smoking

The measured results appear as a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

We like this post from mayo clinic about the health benefits of friendships because they not only highlight the scientific details but they make recommendations for keeping and building friendships.

In summary, with COVID, I think we have all taken a good look at ourselves and our lives. If something its missing for you one of the best things you can do is to reach out to a true friend. Wether you have spoken recently or not for years reestablishing that relationship can help you and your bestie live happier and longer.

Gentle Reminders: If you liked this type of content and want to see more, scroll to the top of the page, enter your email in the right hand column, and click “subscribe.” To share with friends, use the social sharing icons below. This blog contains affiliate links; both clicking on and purchasing through links help pay for this content.

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

Leave a Comment