Nurturing Your Friendships

3 May 2021

Why are friendships important?

Friendship strengthens mental health by:

  • Increasing sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boosting happiness and reducing stress
  • Improving self-worth and self-confidence
  • Reducing risk of depression
  • Providing support during difficult times

Friendships change and grow. Healthy friendship should be mutually beneficial and positively contribute to your well-being.

A healthy friendship should value:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Compromise
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Understanding
  • Individuality
  • Self-confidence

Nurturing Your Friendships Guide

Ways to show appreciation:

  1. Pay attention to what is happening in your friend’s life, their interests, and those close to them: Put your phones away during meals, ask questions, and be an active listener.
  2. Prioritize time to spend together: If your schedules don’t align, try texting or a quick Facetime. Remember, it’s about flexibility.
  3. Give a gift of gratitude. Showing gratitude not only benefits your own wellbeing, but it shows your friend that you took time to make them something.

References

Balconi, M., Fronda, G., & Vanutelli, M. E. (2019). A gift for gratitude and cooperative behavior: brain and cognitive effects. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 14(12), 1317–1327. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa003

Friendship and mental health. Mental Health Foundation. (2018, August 14). https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/f/friendship-and-mental-health.

Mayo Clinic staff. (2019, August 24). The health benefits of good friends. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860#:~:text=Friends%20can%20help%20you%20celebrate,sense%20of%20belonging%20and%20purpose.

Newman, K. M. (2020, July 7). Why your friends are more important than you think. Greater Good Science Center. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_your_friends_are_more_important_than_you_think.

Downloadable PDF version