Why True Friendship Matters
Why True Friendship Matters

Scientists have found that the quality of our relationships with people can affect our health and our ability to forge close friendships. Tell me if you have good friends and I will tell you if you are healthy.

Why True Friendship Matters
Why True Friendship Matters

Sociological research has led to disappointing conclusions: only half of friendly feelings are mutual. This problem has attracted psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, and organizational behavior specialists.

The opinions of scientists were divided: some believe that the main reason for weak ties is optimism and egocentrism, while others note the change in the meaning of the word "friend". In the modern world of technology, we “add as friends” or “remove from friends” with a simple movement or by tapping on the screen of a smartphone. This behavior raises fair concerns, because our health depends on the authenticity of the relationship.

Treating friends as an investment or a commodity is a betrayal of the very idea of friendship. Its essence is not about what someone is ready to do for you, but about who you become in the presence of each other.

Ronald Sharp Professor at Vassar College

According to Professor Ronald Sharpe, we take time to understand friends and open ourselves up to them so that they recognize us. The idea that it is not necessary to do something, but rather simply to spend time together, is today somewhat lost. People strive for the most effective relationships and have forgotten how to be true friends.

Real friendship
Real friendship

In our lifetime, we can only make friends with a small number of people. The British anthropologist and psychologist Robin Dunbar, known for the study of social connections, offers R. I. M. Dunbar in his works. … divide friendships into levels or layers. He refers to the first level one or two people. This can be a spouse and one best friend with whom you communicate almost every day and are in the most open relationship.

At the next level, there can be a maximum of four people with whom you have developed a strong friendship. You are attached to these people and are in contact on a weekly basis. All subsequent levels include acquaintances: connections are weak, meetings are rare.

Time and emotions are limited, so only five people will become our close friends. People may claim more, but rest assured they don't have that many good friends.

Robin Dunbar Professor of Anthropology and Evolutionary Psychology

In modern culture, relying on someone is to show weakness, and strength lies in being independent and not allowing others to influence you. But friendship implies caring and openness - things that have little to do with a polished social media page or Instagram photos. Many do not want to take risks and believe in strengthening friendship in the future, but notice only shortcomings and awkward moments. As a result, such people are left without real friends.

According to physicians Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, J. Bradley Layton. …, superficial or non-reciprocal feelings have a physical effect on the human body. Isolation and loneliness increase the risk of death in the same way as smoking, alcoholism and obesity. In addition, a person can lose the ability for empathy, intimacy, support and reciprocity due to the shutdown of the corresponding function in the vagus nerve of the brain.

Psychiatrist and interpersonal neuroscientist Amy Banks explains that in the presence of a true friend, the special function of the vagus nerve makes us feel safe and secure. It is the work of this nerve that helps us sincerely share our experiences and be attentive to the feelings of another person during a conflict.

Therefore, it is important to decide which of the large number of people you meet can be called true friends. Who gives you time, who inspires you, enlightens and soothes you in difficult times. Decide who you would not want to lose, who wants to always stay in touch with you.

There is no precise definition of friendship, but true relationships are united by the effect of influence: friendship shapes our behavior and our views of the world. Depending on our choice, the effect can be either positive or extremely negative. But without friends, we lose a lot, including years of life.

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