6 Reasons Why a Circle of Friends Can Improve Your Life

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Three girls embrace each other forming a close circle of friends
You can always rely on good friends for understanding and support in times of need. [photo: Becca Tapert | Unsplash.com]

Whether you’re talking about new friends, old friends, or best friends, they all have one thing in common: friends make life richer. Not only because they bring their unique personality and experience to the relationship. But also because of the many benefits friendship offers and how those can change us.

I can’t imagine life without my circle of friends. They’re all very special in their own way and it’s a joy to see them. We can talk for hours about work, fashion, family, or get best girlfriend advice about a personal matter. They make me laugh, they console me, they share their lives.

And while I’m constantly making new friends, some of my oldest friendships go back to grade school days. Those relationships are among the ones I treasure most.

Time and changing personal circumstances can really test the strength of a friendship, but the ones that survive have deep roots.

What is a friend then? I like this straightforward definition by thefreedictionary.com: a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts. I’d have to add that a friend is also a person who shares at least one common interest.

Those, to me, are the basic bonds of true friendship.

Circle of Friends with Benefits

How important are friends? Novelist Anaïs Nin wrote: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.”

Think about – and celebrate – how your friends have contributed to your own personal journey using this checklist. A circle of friends gives us:

1. Sense of belonging. Being social animals, we all feel a need to fit in and connect to others. Friendship is a way to reach out to those who understand us and allow us to express our truest selves.

2. Support in times of need. Friends lend an genuinely empathetic ear when we’re sidelined by a personal trauma, whether the loss of a job or serious illness. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to really listen.

3. Fresh perspective. It’s not always easy to stand back and think clearly when confronted by a challenging situation. That’s when a friend’s ‘outside’ perspective can help us see things in a different, more balanced way.

TV series Friends

4. A boost to self-esteem. We can all benefit from having a cheerleader (or three) when our confidence is taking a beating. Friends who really care help us overcome those temporary setbacks with words of wisdom and praise.

5. Strength to change. Best friends, especially, can serve as role models. They can inspire by showing us how even seemingly impossible things can be accomplished through the power of positive attitude and action.

6. Positive health effects. An Australian study on aging shows that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with fewest friends by 22 percent. It’s a testament to how friendship can help reduce stress and depression.

Best of Friends

And that’s how true friendship works. All it takes is a little help from your circle of friends.

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