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5 Reasons to Have Healthy Friendship in Your Life

Updated on March 4, 2014
Healthy friendships mean benefits that last a lifetime
Healthy friendships mean benefits that last a lifetime | Source

Human beings are social creatures. We need interaction of some sort. We need someone to vent to, laugh at our corny jokes, and provide a shoulder to lean on in tough times. Some of the greatest feelings a person can ever experience in their life comes from the formation of a good friendship. In turn, it feels great to be able to do these same things for people we care about. The values of friendship are priceless and it's important that we nurture this aspect of our lives properly in order to enjoy happiness and be in a position to receive and give love. At the end of the day we reap meaningful benefits that will add to our enjoyment of life.

Good friendships have their fair share of laughs.
Good friendships have their fair share of laughs. | Source
Vent to your friends and make sure you're available to reverse the role and be a good listener.
Vent to your friends and make sure you're available to reverse the role and be a good listener. | Source

You get to be yourself

Dealing with the everyday ins and outs of life - working, prioritizing, dealing with stressful situations, at the end of the day you want a moment where you can relax...and just be you. No worries about putting up a front or worrying about the reaction you'll get, you can just be you. If you have someone in your life who doesn't mind you yacking away, take advantage. They understand your need to have the outlet and just talk about anything. If there's a problem you're dealing with, you will definitely feel less stressed about the situation after you get to talk to a friend about it. In fact, you will feel more empowered to handle the problem after you've had a chat with a friend about it. This has happened to me many times. I not only feel better about the situation once I've talked about it to a friend that will listen, I'm also able to think more clearly about the issue and handle it better. Venting helps!

If you're not able to be comfortable around someone you call your friend, you may need to re-examine that relationship. You shouldn't have to think twice about being yourself around someone you call a friend.

Boost it up!

If you usually wait until the weekend to catch up with each other and talk, try doing something different that will be more enjoyable. If your schedule permits you to do something during the week, meet up for happy hour somewhere and have a moment to laugh, cry, or talk trash about your boss. Have a random game night, movie night, or go out for a bite to eat. Come up with an activity that can be a nice change of scenery and enjoyable atmosphere for you and your friends to talk about life - and be yourselves.

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Source

There's someone to put you in check

This point can be a serious test of a friendship. Everyone needs to be put in check every now and then. In other words we need to be nudged to face the truth about different situations. Sometimes it's easy to point fingers about how you were treated or how something made you feel. A real friend will point out your role in the situation. Are you in a position to receive the truth about yourself in a situation? Or is everything always someone else's fault? It's not always pretty to hear the truth. In fact, it hurts. But if your friend knows and respects you, they will know how to talk to you about yourself. Trust me, I get it all the time, what roll I played and what I need to do to resolve the situation. There are times when I really hate hearing that. There are times when I don't even want to bring up a certain topic because I know what I will be told (and I don't want to hear it!), but the truth is the truth.

There are times when friends can go too far in giving "constructive criticism". It's not very constructive once it turns into a hypercritical situation - they are criticising everything about you and there is usually something else behind that. Make sure your friend is not deflecting whatever is going on with him/her to get on your case about something.

At the end of the day, it is golden to have someone in your corner that is not afraid to tell you about yourself. You should get yourself to a point to receive and filter what they say about you, meaning know that they mean well and take the good part of the advice that they're giving you. It may not always come out the "right" way, but they do care.



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You gain a better outlook on life

Good social support can never be underestimated. A person is always ready to take on life's daily challenges when they have strong social support. Studies have been conducted which show the strong connection between mental health and social support. People who lack social support tend to suffer mentally - they have an increased risk of depression or some other type of mental illness.

Additionally, being able to hear other perspectives and takes on life can be a mind-broadening experience. Even though you and your friends have similarities, there are different things about them that you can learn from. They could come from a different background, culture, or have different beliefs. For example a lot of my friends have different backgrounds from me; they come from different countries and have various customs and beliefs that are not familiar to me. Things like this enhance the friendship since you have an increased awareness on the different walks of life. Barriers in your mindset can be broken down in a healthy way if you have friends with different backgrounds and perspectives on things. The open your mind is, the better your outlook on life can be.


Boost it up!

If you have friends (or even associates/co-workers) with different cultural backgrounds, go to a function they may have. Going to a cultural event such as a wedding will be such an insightful experience. Learning about different customs and beliefs can be exciting.

Your body will handle disease better

There have been many studies done to shed light on the connection between good friendships and health. I mentioned earlier how social support can help prevent depression, but there is also information on how the body will fight off other diseases better when we have healthy friendships in our lives. Here are some of the medical benefits for the body:

  • Lowered hypertention
  • Lower risk of diabetes
  • Better stress management (better "fight or flight response)
  • Less abdominal fat
  • Better survival chance with diseases such as breast cancer and heart disease

Boost it up!

Take an exercise class together. It can be spin, zumba, or whatever will be comfortable for you and your friend(s). You can even organize a "zumba outing" where you can use a room (or your home) to hold a zumba session for you and your friends. You can prepare healthy snacks and even network by inviting associates and/or co-workers. Besides, these types of activities can counter the calories you built up during happy hour and restaurant sessions.

Physicians really emphasize being well-rounded these days. They don't just talk about eating right and exercising. It's also important to have good friendship as a part of your everyday life.

Remember...

  • The heart of friendship is give and take. You shouldn't just expect to receive these benefits of friendship, you should be able to give them as well. It feels just as good or even better when you give love to a good friend.Nurture your friendship, don't just take from it.
  • You will have your vulnerable moments - and that is okay. That's part of the reason why friendship exists, to be able to be yourself in moments of weakness.
  • Make sure there's a healthy balance between criticism and encouragement. Don't be afraid to say the truth, be honest, and supportive.
  • Because of work, raising a family, or other life changes, you may have lost touch with some good friends. Try to reach out and see what's going on with them. It's good to keep in touch with your friends because you don't know what the future holds.
  • You can make friends just about anywhere. Work, church, on the bus, wherever you are

Poll: How would you describe your best friend?

What word comes to mind when you think of your best friend?

See results

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    • profile image

      Jobson 2 years ago

      This piece was cogent, weetiwr-ltln, and pithy.

    • profile image

      Jessica 2 years ago

      I think you've just captured the answer peetlcfry

    • Zainab Tarawali profile image
      Author

      Musu Bangura 3 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Glenn - I'm glad the information will be useful to someone who's thinking about getting married. I've always believed a healthy friendship should be in place first before going down that path with someone you care about. Thanks for commenting.

      knowledge-seeker - Thank you for the feedback and sharing your thoughts on healthy friendship. Friendships are necessary and beneficial!

    • knowledge-seeker profile image

      knowledge-seeker 3 years ago

      very well written post covering almost all aspects of a healthy friendship and conveying great message and advice as well. healthy friendship is really a very valuable asset of our life. nice article. thanks for sharing, stay blessed!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I think you covered all the points that are really important and represent what a good friend really is. Sometimes we tend to take it for granted when we have someone good in our lives -- Someone who is beneficial to our health and our well-being.

      The things you discussed make all this clear and really give someone something to think about. When I look back on previous relationships I recognize who were the good friends and who would have made a great significant other.

      Your hub is actually very useful for someone thinking about marriage. It helps one recognize the good qualities in a potential spouse.

    • Zainab Tarawali profile image
      Author

      Musu Bangura 3 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Thank you, teaches12345. It does pay to have real friends in life. I'm learning that more everyday! Thanks for commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Having a few good friends is worth gold. I love your advice on friendships. I agree that having trustworthy friendships can help keep you in check.

    • Zainab Tarawali profile image
      Author

      Musu Bangura 3 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Hello, thank you for sharing your perspective on friendship! Sometimes having that social support system has a more profound effect than family. Not that your relationship with your family is any less important, but given the different dynamics of life, friends are sometimes there before family. I hope you continue to enjoy the outings with your friends. They really go a long way!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      When my children were young, I didn't think that I had time for friends. Now that my children are grown and gone, I find friendship to be a valuable part of my life. I try to plan lunch dates, shopping sprees, and other outings with friends, and it has really helped to ward off the empty nest loneliness.

    • Zainab Tarawali profile image
      Author

      Musu Bangura 3 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      It makes a world of difference when you have certain people in your life - those that will support you and those who aren't afraid to tell you the truth. A good friend consists of both these characteristics. Wow, your grandmother must know a lot about friendship to have had one for 55 years! That is amazing and what I look forward to. Friendships that last a lifetime. And yes, attending cultural events are awesome! I think it actually helps the friendship.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very true. Friends can pull you through even when your world seems to be crumbling. My grandmother recently lost a friend she had for 55 years -- through multiple husbands, financial ups and downs, the deaths of parents and babies. That's an amazing connection. I like your suggestion about attending a cultural event if you have a friend from another culture. It can be a very eye-opening experience.