Why Friends Matter
This news comes from a study that included more than 400 participants who were asked to rate how they felt after spending time with friends or family. Study leader Nathan Hudson, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Southern Methodist University, reported that this is because people tend to spend more of their time with friends doing enjoyable activities than with family members with whom they often find themselves doing chores, housework or caretaking duties. He noted that 65 percent of experiences with friends involved socializing, but this occurs only during 28 percent of the time spent with partners. The remedy? Creating opportunities for positive experiences with romantic partners and children – and to mentally savor those positive times, Hudson wrote.
My take? This study supports the notion that the older we get, the more important our friends become to our health and happiness. That conclusion came from an investigation by a Michigan State researcher who analyzed information on relationships with friends and family from more than 270,000 people of all ages from nearly 100 countries. Results showed that maintaining meaningful ties with family members and friends were associated with better health and happiness and that as we age friendships become more important to health and happiness than family relationships. Researcher William Chopik also found that among 7,500 older adults when friends were the source of strain, survey respondents reported more chronic illnesses, but when friends were supportive, the respondents were happier.
Nathan W. Hudson et al, “Are we happier with others? An investigation of the links between spending time with others and subjective well-being.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2020. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000290
More current health news:
- Sleep & Your Emotions
- Another Risk Of Smoking: Bleeding In The Brain
- A slightly spicy recipe to try: Hot & Sour Cabbage Slaw
Sign up for more Dr. Weil newsletters: