The Lifelong Benefits of
Having Good Friends
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Like flowers in our gardens that return each year to delight and comfort us, close friends are there to deliver laughter and solace when we need them. Whether our friendships are accidental or cultivated, they are essential factors in all our lives. To prove that point, take a moment to think about what your life would be like without the tapestry of friends that surrounds you. It would certainly be less interesting, perhaps less fun, and maybe a little lonely. Let’s take a look at each one of these elements and uncover how friendship improves it.
Friends Make Life More Interesting
In general, our friends come from all walks of life, cultures, and backgrounds. They may also be from other countries and of the opposite sex. Do you see what we’re getting at here? Diversity introduces perspective into our lives. Because our friends represent a collage of humanity, through them we get to know how others think and react to different situations on a personal basis, and we benefit from that education. We may learn from them that there is a better way to do something or that there are two equally viable ways to do it. Friends also share the beauty of their customs and history with us and open our eyes to new interests. What better way is their to enjoy a festival or roam a museum than with a friend?
Friends Are Fun
Think for a moment about when you laugh the most. Of course, we share laughter with our spouses, partners, family members, and colleagues. However, there is nothing quite like the laughter we share with our friends. It can come from something silly that has happened, but that everyone understands. It can be a cleansing emotional release shared after a moment of grief. It can also be a good old-fashioned shared guffaw for a memory everyone participated in. And, it can be a happy response to the moment. Laughter is good for us, so good in fact, it prolongs our lives by strengthening our immune system and lowering our stress levels. It also inspires hope, helps us eschew anger, and encourages us to forgive more easily.
Friends Replace Loneliness
Think back to a time when you were new somewhere. Perhaps it was your first time away from home and you had been at university for only a few days. Your first impressions of your surroundings were probably colored by a tinge or more of loneliness: the dorm room felt too small, the campus wasn’t as nice as you had remembered, the town didn’t have as many interesting nooks and crannies as you had hoped . . . But then you met someone and you became friends and they introduced you to others with whom you also became friends. Suddenly, the dorm felt cozy, the campus was even nicer than you remember, and the town was full of collegial places to gather. Friends fill up the lonely spaces in our lives and can change a negative outlook to a positive one.
Because of the unique nature of friendship, we forge bonds with our friends unlike any others in our lives. They are strong, deep like the roots of trees, and long-lasting. They help see us through difficult times, create fun times, replace loneliness, and enrich our lives in ways that improve and prolong them.