Living a long life means being healthy, and by that, it means you should also have healthy relationships with people, especially your friends. In the world’s Blue Zones, where people often live to be 100 or more, having good friends is a common thing. Throughout the years, it has become more important to invest in it than family relationships.
According to Dr. Marisa G. Franco, author of ‘Platonic: How The Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends,’ friendships offer numerous health benefits that contribute to your overall well-being.
She said, “Friendships can help decrease our blood pressure and cholesterol and there’s a study that says having a confidant is the number-one thing that is preventive against depression. So your friends can literally save your life.”
Also, Franco mentioned that as we grow older, we naturally shift our attention from having a lot of friends to valuing high-quality connections.
“By quality, I mean relationships where you feel like you matter, you feel authentic and there’s reciprocity,” Franco explained. “Both people are considering their needs and the other person’s needs at the same time. As people focus on more quality connections, they end up being happier.”
If you want to be happier in your friendships, be careful about who you spend time with and make sure you both bring out the best in each other. These are the friendships where you feel most like yourself because together, you and your true friend keep the friendship stronger.
Meanwhile, in many instances of friendship, relationships come to an end due to our reluctance to say what we truly feel, allowing unresolved issues to linger and cast a shadow over us.
“A lot of times in friendship, it ends because we don’t make the unsaid said and it tends to hover over us to where this issue that may have seemed small makes us more disengaged or withdrawn around friends,” Franco stated.
When it comes to confronting your friend about all your issues, it’s not just about listing and pointing them out; it’s about addressing them in a thoughtful way in order to fix what is broken.
“You always need to be kind toward your friend, even when you’re in conflict,” she said. “So you could frame it as, ‘hey, you mean a lot to me and this has been on my mind. I didn’t want it to create distance between us, so that’s why I’m bringing this up.’”
In maintaining lasting and meaningful friendships, it is always best to be open and respectful to what the other one has to say, but also remember that you should not hesitate in giving and receiving affection, as it strengthens the bond.
“Sharing with our friends how much we love and value them is actually good for us and when we’re affectionate and vulnerable with our friends, that helps us feel closer, too,” Franco added.
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