You picked them, and they picked you! Friendship is something very special, and there are many benefits to spending time with your friends that actually contribute to your overall well-being! We’ve listed a few of the most important ones.
Get you out of your comfort zone
The friends that you have, though they may be very similar to you when it comes to interests and personality, are still... not quite you. And that’s a good thing in a healthy friendship. That means that they will likely introduce you to new interests and hobbies that you may not have been exposed to if it wasn’t for your friendship. They might encourage you to try new foods, explore new places, or help you try something new that might turn into a regular hobby! In addition, when you have a close friend in your life, it’s inevitable that you will meet new people along the way, which will likely include your friend’s family and other friends. Meeting new people and making new friends have a whole list of benefits on their own, such as being exposed to new ideas and new adventures, further expanding your horizons. The comfort zone, though very comfortable, is a mediocre place to be, and your friends will be sure to get you out of it and live an exciting life!
Keep you laughing
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but is that really true? In a way, yes! According to Mayo Clinic, it is one of the best medicines for relieving stress and physical pain. In addition, they claim that it can also strengthen your immune system. High-stress levels weaken the immune system, but when you laugh more and soak in positivity, it will reduce stress and the possibility of developing future illnesses. And it’s just plain FUN to laugh! We all know that we frown less and laugh more when we’re around the people we love. When it comes to your friends, you chose each other as friends, so you’re probably the most comfortable and open when you’re with each other. From corny jokes to silly (but well-meaning) shenanigans, your friends will keep those big belly laughs rolling.
There for you in times of need
Though laughing is a wonderful thing, sometimes things happen in life that aren’t so laughable. Friends aren’t therapists (unless you actually do have a licensed therapist for a friend), but they are certainly great for helping you through tough times. Your friends are likely to lack judgment when you come to them with a problem that you’re going through, and they provide emotional support. They’re a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on when you need to let it all out, and they’ll know exactly how to cheer you up when you need a pick-me-up. Strong friendships are built on not only being there for each other during the highest highs, but also on helping each other through the lowest lows in each other's lives. Like the Beatles said many times, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Help you reach your goals (And celebrate your achievements!)
Good friends give you the social support that you need when it comes to the positive things you want out of life. Have you had a long run with an unhealthy lifestyle and you have a goal to improve your health by sticking with healthy habits? Do you want to make a major career change that’s going to take a lot of work and self-discipline? True friends will back you up and help you improve! (Not to be confused with someone who is just being agreeable to your actions to avoid conflict even though those actions don’t benefit your goal.) Your friends will help you in ways that are loving and give you honest and constructive criticism. They provide a listening ear and an insightful perspective when you want to talk about your goals, and they aren’t afraid to tell you when you might be partaking in something unhealthy or holding yourself back. Most importantly, they will stray away from doing anything or bringing anything into your space that will hinder you from accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. And especially when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, that’s something that most people can get behind! When you and your friend both have the same goal, you can work together to hold each other accountable, like going to the gym together 4 times a week and helping each other decide on healthier food options. When you have someone to work hard toward the same goal with, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to stick to it. And when the exciting time has arrived when you’ve achieved the goal that you’ve worked so hard to accomplish, your friends will be filled with joy and celebrate your success!
Give you a sense of belonging
Introvert or extrovert, we all need in-person social connections to boost our physical health and mental health. Your friends are a group of people who you connect with on a very open level, and consist of some of your strongest social relationships. They have similar interests as you and, most importantly, a similar idea of what’s meaningful in life. They enjoy spending time with you, and you enjoy spending time with them, which is the perfect formula for keeping away feelings of loneliness and boosting self-esteem.
Your friends love you for you. You connected as friends because you liked each other as-is, not just because you work with each other and not because you’re related through family. The more laughs, the more deep conversations, and the more life you experience together, your friendships will continue to grow.
Taking photos with your friends is a wonderful way to always be able to look back on and be reminded of all of the laughs and adventures you’ve shared together. And when there’s cause for celebration of your friends, you can gift them a special photo print so they can always have a keepsake to cherish and forever be reminded of that special time and place with their best friends.