Friends with other benefits
"Friends are medicine for a wounded heart and vitamins for a hopeful soul."
- Steve Maraboli
We should all be aware of how valuable our friendships can be. There is an endless list of benefits we get developing and maintaining authentic and meaningful relationships with others. Whether it's neighbors, coworkers, childhood friends or even family members, our closest relationships can provide us with support, encouragement, comfort and validation, among so many other things. Our friends can be our cheering section and support group all at once. Nobody should have to do it alone. That's what friends are for, and so much more.
Among all of the psychological benefits of friendships, they give us a sense of security and belonging. We form our own little tribes among parents, coworkers, volunteers and hobbyists. We feel like there are people who get us. We feel like we are a part of something, even if it's just bond between two people. This is why we end up feeling more confident and less stressed when we are interacting with our friends. I will make a distinction that I am referring to healthy relationships where there is a give and take and mutual respect for each other.
Photo by Luke Lung on Unsplash
If you feel like you have friendships that are draining your energy, it may be time for a check-in. Not all friendships are equal, but no one should have to endure the negative effects of toxic friendships. It is our responsibility to be there for our friends when they could use someone to lean on, but they should also be there for us when we could use their support. No one should expect to have to pull all of the weight in a relationship and not receive that same support in return. No one should have to feel taken advantage of in a relationship.
When we identify who our true friends are, we can see how they treat us with the respect we deserve and provide us with support we would expect from a genuine friend. These are the friendships we should continue to grow and maintain. It's those healthy lifelong friendships that can help make life more enjoyable and rewarding. Not only are we able to support our friends and celebrate their milestones and accomplishments, they are there to help us celebrate our big moments and victories too. Life is much sweeter with great friends.
Everyday Health: Why Friendships Are So Important for Health and Well-Being
Happiful: The positive effects of friendship on mental health
Healthline: In a Toxic Friendship? Here’s What to Look For (and How to Handle It)