The importance of maintaining strong friendships in life

Maintaining your friendships can often seem like an afterthought in the hustle and bustle of modern life. This is understandable, as if you’re busy working or caring for your family, spending your precious evenings with friends can seem somewhat taxing. 

Yet, aside from the joys of companionship, friends can offer many physical and mental health benefits.

In fact, a study available through the American Psychological Association reveals that social connections are one of the most reliable predictors of a long and healthy life. 

Continue reading to discover other fascinating benefits of maintaining strong friendships in your life, and how you could nurture your existing relationships. 

Aside from companionship, strong friendships offer several benefits

Strong friendships extend beyond pleasant company, as they can also benefit your physical and mental wellbeing. 

Indeed, they can serve as a vital buffer against isolation and loneliness, which the British Medical Association states is associated with depression, coronary heart disease, and even stroke.

Moreover, friends can foster a sense of belonging and purpose in your life, which could, in turn, contribute to your happiness and self-confidence, and help you deal with stress. 

In fact, if you’re going through a difficult period of your life, friends could support you during challenging times and help you deal with your issues. 

Perhaps surprisingly, strong friendships can have tangible benefits for your health and even boost your immune system. According to research highlighted by the BBC, when you’re lonely, your white blood cells change their behaviour, often leading to more inflammation and a weakened immune system. 

Conversely, socially connected people tend to have better immune functions, improved sleep quality, and faster recovery from illnesses. Collectively, these many health benefits could help you live a longer, happier life. 

There are some ways you can strengthen your existing relationships

The above source from the BBC demonstrates just how damaging social isolation can be, showing that strained friendships can be significant predicators of chronic illness. 

In some cases, social disconnection is a greater mobility risk than smoking and high cholesterol. 

As such, it’s vital to maintain your existing friendships and keep them going strong in order to take care of your wellbeing – read on to discover some ways to do so. 

Make sure to invest plenty of time in your friends

Perhaps the best and easiest way to deepen your existing relationships is to simply spend time with your friends and be with them whenever possible. 

Consistency is key when it comes to investing time with your friends. If you always refuse to make the effort with them, your relationships may quickly deteriorate. Even if you miss the odd birthday party or catch-up, this could make your friends think that you don’t have time for them. 

It may be worth incorporating nice gestures into your daily or weekly routine to ensure your friends know you’re thinking about them.

For instance, you could add a daily reminder to reach out to your friends, such as a quick text to check in with them, or a phone call to make plans to catch up over coffee. 

Even remembering to wish your friend a happy birthday could make all the difference in strengthening your bond!

Don’t be afraid of getting vulnerable

In the UK, people tend to be far more emotionally reserved compared to other nations – the “stiff upper lip” and the phrase “keep calm and carry on” come to mind. 

Despite this, it’s vital to note that emotional openness and vulnerability are essential to fostering genuine connections with your friends. 

While this may be challenging, especially in a particularly stoic country, allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your friends can be a terrific way to deepen your relationships and encourage meaningful interactions. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to immediately reveal any past traumas to your friends in hopes of striking up a deep relationship with them. Even simply sharing small opinions first and then advancing to deeper feelings can foster trust between both parties. 

Remember: you aren’t burdening people by sharing your feelings and being vulnerable. You’re instead conveying trust to your friends and letting them know exactly who you are and how you think about things.

Express gratitude often

Everyone likes being told they’re appreciated, and your friends are likely no different. As such, regularly expressing gratitude is a helpful way to reinforce bonds with your friends. 

In fact, a study on Science Direct found that gratitude plays an important role in growing friendships, as it facilitates the development of “reciprocal relationships”, which is when two people mutually exchange energy and support. 

As such, it may be worth making an effort to appreciate your friends’ presence in your life – don’t just celebrate the things they do for you, but also who they are at their core and all the little considerate actions along the way. 

Doing so could foster mutual appreciation and deepen the bond between you. Better yet, they may even reciprocate the gratitude, further benefiting your mental wellbeing. 

Get in touch

While we can’t strengthen your friendships for you, we can help you manage your finances.

Please call 01992 500261 or fill in our online contact form to organise a meeting and we’ll be in touch. As a Top Rated firm in VouchedFor’s 2024 guide, you can be sure that we provide an excellent level of advice and service.

Please note

This article is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

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