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Why Friends Are Important

Research shows that having friends is good for your emotional and physical health. That’s because friends can help us when we’re down, encourage us to learn new things, and keep us on track to meet our goals.

As you continue to widen your social circle, keep in mind that friendships come in all shapes and sizes, from the best friend who’s always there for you to the friendly neighbor you chat with while doing yard work. You may feel closer to some people and less so with others, and that’s all right.

When reaching out to make new friends or rekindling old relationships, look for people with the following qualities:

Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another ‘What! You too?’

– C.S. Lewis
  • Friends Who Give You Emotional Support

    When you’re feeling down or going through a hard time, talking things over with a supportive friend can make a real difference to your mental health. What does emotional support feel like? Your friend makes you feel heard and acknowledges your point of view. Often referred to as a good listener, someone to lean on, or a sounding board, friends who express empathy are invaluable to our emotional well-being.

  • Friends Who Give You Helpful Advice

    Having a buddy you can talk to when making a big decision or need some practical pointers on say, using video chat, can help you stay sharp. That’s because it’s so easy to get stuck in our own heads when making decisions. Checking in with someone whose opinion you trust helps broaden your view and identify different approaches to solving problems. Friends who are always there with a helpful word can also help you feel motivated to stick with developing healthy habits.

  • Friends Who Give You a Sense of Belonging

    There’s nothing like finding someone who shares your love of animals or gets your sense of humor. Humans, by our very nature, crave feeling accepted. Friends who share similar interests are wonderful for satisfying our need to feel connected to others. Join a new group or go back to one you’ve tried in the past to find friends you have something in common with.

Now take a few moments to think about what kind of friends you’d like to have in your life.

Can you think of someone you’ve known in your life who fits any of the descriptions below? It can be someone from your childhood or even a character from a TV show you admire.

Supportive Friends Are… Helpful Friends Are… Similar Interest Friends Are…
Good listeners Willing to offer assistance Interested in the same things as me
Non-Judgmental Knowledgeable and open-minded Easy to talk with
People I can count on People I can ask for advice People who “get” me

Supportive Friends Are…

  • Good listeners
  • Non-Judgmental
  • People I can count on

Helpful Friends Are…

  • Willing to offer assistance
  • Knowledgeable and open-minded
  • People I can ask for advice

Similar Interest Friends Are…

  • Interested in the same things as me
  • Easy to talk with
  • People who “get” me

Next, keeping these three types of friends in mind, think about how you would make or build a connection with someone with these qualities. On a piece of paper or in your journal, answer the following questions.

questions about friends

Now that you understand the different qualities of friends you’re looking for, it’s easier to know what to talk about when you reach out.

This is a valuable step toward building the connections you need to thrive. Keep up the good work!

How to Be an Active Listener

If you’ve ever felt afraid to start a conversation or like you don’t know what to say to people, sharpening your active listening skills can be a helpful first step.

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