THE IMPACT OF FRIENDSHIPS

By Alison Johnson PsyD
Inspired by Happify ™

GOOD FRIENDS, LONG LIFE

Friends help you live a long, happy life:  

  • People with strong social ties are 50% less likely to die early

  • Research shows that it's as good for you as quitting smoking

  • Its even better than getting regular exercise and staying at a healthy weight

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

  • For most of our lives we average around 7-9 close friends

  • As we get into our older years we seem to amass even more good friends, up to 13

FRIENDSHIP 101

A British Study found that REGULAR CONTACT with 10 or more friends significantly increases happiness and lengthens life.  The same study found that people with fewer friends reported lower levels of happiness all around.

  • Send a postcard when you are travelling

  • Text just to say hi

  • Email an old picture of you and an out-of-touch pal

  • Keep a calendar of birthdays and reach out

  • Show up for the good as well as the bad

HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS

  • Your happiness can increase by as much as 25% when a friend who lives less than a mile from you becomes happy

  • The effect is the same if you live near a happy sibling, a joyous spouse or if you live next-door to a particularly happy neighbor

  • Happiness is contagious in the short-term too

TALKING TO A FRIEND

  • A Harvard Business School study showed that an everyday occurrence like a conversation can often hold more meaning for us later than a momentous event

  • To foster a friendship, skip the small talk and get to important topics. Research shows we feel closer to others when we have meaningful conversations

  • People are 12 times more likely to feel happy on days they spend 6-7 hours a day with family and friends

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • College students who reported having strong friendships were HALF as likely to catch the common cold virus as their peers with fewer friends

  • Confiding in good friends brings about better health benefits than does confiding in family members which are apt to contain more "complexity"

STRESS ANTIDOTE

A study showed that people who completed a stressful task showed a faster recovery from its effects when they were reminded of social ties that are important to them.

HOW SOCIAL IS SOCIAL MEDIA?

  • A Western Illinois University study shows that social networks are neither good or bad for friendships

  • Its the WAY we chose to communicate on social media that will have an impact

  • Don't spend too much time clicking around... To feel happier, make sure you spend time with your social connections "IRL" (in real life)

SOCIALIZE IN THE 9-TO-5

Employees who report having a best friend at work were:

  • 43% more likely to report having received praise or recognition for their work in the last 7 days

  • 37% more likely to report that someone at work encourages their development

  • 27% more likely to report that their opinions seem to count at work

  • 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day

YOUR NET WORTH

A survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that doubling your group of friends has the same effect on your well-being as a 50% increase in your income.

"A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth"

-Charles Darwin

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