As human beings, we can have our moments of insecurity and self-doubt. When we are immersed in a difficult situation or we need to make a difficult decision, we normally seek support through our friendships; advice or a second opinion make us feel more secure about the decisions we make. Friendships give us emotional and practical support and can make us feel cared for and valued. 

Good social support and relationships positively contribute to health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO states that we embrace healthier behaviors when we are surrounded by supportive relationships; therefore, “people who get less social and emotional support from others are more likely to experience less wellbeing, more depression, a greater risk of pregnancy complications and higher levels of disability from chronic diseases. In addition, bad close relationships can lead to poor mental and physical health.”

The importance of quality friendships


One study has found that having at least one close friendship helps teenagers develop the strength necessary to succeed during difficult situations. According to some researchers, having friends leads to more social trust, less stress, better health, and more social support. These benefits are very important during adolescence, a very delicate phase in which friendships play an especially important role.


Cigna’s 2020 Loneliness Index states that three in five adults (61%) in America report that they are lonely. In addition, younger people (18-22) are lonelier than older people (72+). Social isolation and loneliness are linked to physical and mental health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, and depression, among others. 

Elderly people

Dementia can be more likely to develop in cases where older people feel lonely and do not have close and quality relationships. According to several studies, the quantity and the quality of social interaction can vary the risk of late-life dementia. In addition, the quality of social connections can be used to predict the risk of mortality among older adults.

The benefits of friendships

What can you do to create and maintain quality friendships?

Social and productive activities have the same effect as fitness activities in decreasing the risk of certain diseases. According to one study, “enhanced social activities may help to increase the quality and length of life.” These activities can include:

In order to nurture your friendships, it is important to listen, open up, and share your feelings and concerns. Most importantly, a one-sided friendship won’t last long: show that you are there for your friends just as they are there for you.