In your early teens, having as many friends as possible seems like the most important thing in the world but as you get older, you realize you only need a handful of close people. With friends, it’s about quality rather than quantity.
An article by the Mayo Clinic staff in 2016 explained how friendship can increase your sense of belonging, boost happiness, reduce stress, improve self-confidence and self-worth, help cope with traumas and can encourage people to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits. By doing all this, friendship plays a huge role in your health, both mental and physical, and happiness.
Friendship works both ways. You can’t constantly depend on someone and do nothing in return. The Mayo Clinic staff say that friendship needs to be “nurtured.” You have to be kind, caring, considerate and supportive if you wish to receive the same treatment in return.
However, in saying that, some people are most content when having alone time. Some people, known as introverts, recharge their energy levels from being alone. Some people are the opposite and thrive off socializing, but ultimately everyone needs to be alone sometimes. A healthy person has the right balance between making time for friends and maintain healthy solitude when needed.
Being alone helps you to unwind and concentrate, but in my opinion, it is better to have some close friends in which you can confide in when things get too overwhelming to cope with on your own.
“I used to feel like having the biggest social circle and getting the most ‘likes’ on Facebook was the most self-validating and important lifestyle but now I am much happier with my small group of friends,” Arts student Michelle Connolly says. “I try and support my friends the best I can, and I hope they would do the same for me.”
You can talk to your friends about issues or concerns that you might not feel comfortable talking about with your parents, siblings or teachers, and you can repay them with encouragement and support when they need it.
If you or your friends have any serious issues, courage can be gained from talking about it with close friends, and you can support each other, encourage one another to seek help if needed. Friendship can arise in unexpected situations, and it is important to reach out to people, get to know them and always treat others as you would like them to treat you.