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Friendships in adulthood – why is it important?

We are social beings.

We are beings who need to feel emotionally and physically connected. Who doesn't remember the difficulty we felt globally when we were unable to do so during the pandemic period? We were quick to adapt, but the need we felt to connect with others was clear, even if it was through digital platforms, online games or through sharing emotional experiences that connected us in some way, that made us feel that we belonged to a community.

When we think about friendship we think about relationships of emotional support, validation, understanding and active listening. Someone who shares common interests and is willing to be part of our lives, whether in good or bad times. We feel that we have a community to celebrate or mourn and a sense of purpose is installed.

We can see, then, that creating friendly relationships is beneficial on different levels:

  • Creating friendships in adulthood helps us create meaningful social connections. It helps us combat loneliness and social isolation.

  • When we have a support network, the negative effects of stress are mitigated. And the positive events in our daily lives are enhanced and have a long-term effect.

  • Friendships in adulthood have a positive impact on our physical health: when we feel that we have a supportive community we are more resistant to stress, we have more tools to deal with it and this has a positive impact on our physical body.

  • Feeling that there is a support network gives us a sense of connection, belonging and purpose.

  • Friends can increase our confidence levels. Friends help us remember that we have things to offer others. Listening to friends who admire us builds confidence in us, especially in times of doubt and uncertainty.

  • Friendships enrich our lives. Friendship not only support us, they help us feel accepted and encourage exploration of the world and ourselves. Different friends will challenge us in different ways. Friends encourage us to be better and braver in our daily lives.

We can see all the benefits of establishing friendships, however, we continue to experience difficulties in taking the first steps. Why? Because often in adulthood we prioritize other areas of our lives: romantic relationships, children, career, family. We get into a routine that seems difficult to stop and we put this need in third or fourth place, without realizing how much it is affecting us and how much we miss it.

Friendship relationships are fundamental: they are our support system, our confidants, our supporters. Sharing stories and experiences with others is intense. The more quality time we spend with someone, the more connected we feel, the more vulnerable we feel we can be. It is also important to remember that just one type of relationship cannot meet all of our needs. It's challenging to be with the same person all the time, even if the relationship is healthy and full of love. So having a variety of people to spend time with can help us meet our different needs. We may have a friend who helps us nurture our creativity and another who gives us good advice. Different types of friendships can respond to different needs.

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