The statement ‘one’s friends circle defines who you are’ is spot on for it reflects what kind of companionship you prefer. Have you encountered a close friend who is continuously hurling negative comments your way? Do you feel you are overruled or bossed around by your best friend’s aggressive nature? Do you go out of the way to acquire approval of your beloved friend? If you are lost in affirmative thoughts now then you are suffering the company of a toxic friend.  Real friendship is formed on the institution of mutual trust and understanding and the leverage of rights between you should never be allowed to lose its equilibrium.

Friends are a lifelong source of support and motivation. Whether it be the death of a loved one or a high-school boyfriend break up, you will always find a friend’s shoulder to sob your heart out. However, a recent study by Australian Psychologist Society in 2011 found that 12% of the Australian population is facing severe stress. The study also revealed that the most effective strategy for tackling as ranked by 60% of the sample population is spending time with friends. This clearly highlights the significance of a strong friendship relationship in one’s life.

People often find themselves troubled by thoughts like ‘Is my friendship fake?’ or ‘My friend is never there for me when I need them’. Such persistent thoughts should not be left ignored. It is better to go and communicate with your friends and share how you feel about their behaviour. Conflicts with friends is a natural part of your relationship. Do not shut yourself out from friends just because one friend deceived you. Always look for new companionship as the art of socialising will help you build up a stronger personality. However, studies reveal that women find it more difficult to make friends than men.

Friendship divorce is a new phenomena more commonly known as friendship break up. Many of us are trapped in a guilty cycle of letting go of a toxic friend. Ending friendships that cause more stress than a pleasure is the right decision. You should know that surrounding yourself with friends who make you happy has various health benefits.

According to a study by Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, good friends help you in extending your life. The study consisted of 1500 old people and lasted for nearly 10 years and gave an interesting insight that people who possess an extended network of friends outlive people with fewer friends by 22%. The study was supported on the belief that good friends help to develop good habits over one’s life time.

Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University stated, “People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol — a stress hormone. Why? The evolutionary argument maintains that humans are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups. We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to better health.

How important are your friends to you in your life? Do they support your emotional and physical health? Please share your comments below.

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