Friendship is among the most fundamental of human needs, and nothing is going to change this. Friends keep us sane. They make us laugh. They surprise us with their generosity. They have the courage to tell us the truth even if we might not like it and enough tact to know when to stop giving advice and just let us make our own mistakes.
Friendship is a rare gift, we all know that. But there are a few things that you might not know about friendship.
Here are 10 of them:
1. Having a true friend at work is worth more than a raise.
When asked if people would rather have a best friend at work or a 10% raise, having a friend clearly won.
2. Having friends affects how good you feel about yourself.
Studies show that if you feel close to other people, you are four times more likely to feel good about yourself and life in general.
3. Friendship makes you more productive.
People, who work with a best friend at work, are 7 times more likely to be engaged in their work and satisfied with it.
4. Friendship is good for your health.
If you have been reluctant about making new friends – here is another fact that may change your mind. Having a strong friendship network seemed to significantly decrease the risk of a heart attack, stave off memory loss, boost immunity and even prevent cancer. The bottom line is: having friends is good for your mind, body and soul.
5. Friendship helps women cope with stress.
This seems pretty obvious without research, however, there is a twist. Until a recent study, conducted by UCLA, it was always considered that stress triggers the same “fight or flight” hormonal cascade that has helped us to escape danger for thousands of years. This is true for men. Women however, cope with stress by bonding with other women, neutralizing the effect of the stress hormone – oxytocin.
6. Friends can affect your weight gain (or weight loss).
32 years of research data demonstrates that your chances of becoming obese increase by 57% if a close friend becomes obese. Friends seem to influence our weight gain or weight loss the most. Even siblings and spouse seem to have less power over our eating habits and lifestyle.
7. Friendship can help you live longer. An Australian study found that people with the most friends lived 22% longer than those with fewer friends. Something to think about…
8. 5 Friends is the magic happiness number.
People, who say they have five or more true friends are 60% more likely to say that they are “very happy” with their life.
9. Your friends have more friends than you do.
It may sound odd, but it’s true. Dubbed as the “friendship paradox”, it was first discovered by Scott Feld and you can read the entire explanation of this phenomenon here.
10. People with ‘bigger brains have more friends’.
Oxford University researchers found a link between the number of friends people had and the size of their orbital prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain found just above the eyes, responsible for cognitive skills and emotional intelligence. It turns out that having more friends requires a bigger brain! This, however, is not the case for “online” friends. A pity, considering that I have over 5,000 friends on Facebook.