Friends are not just important for children and adolescents to have. The emotional and social benefits of having supportive friends in adulthood is often overlooked, or discounted in some way. It’s easy to place friends on a lesser level once you have the responsibilities of a spouse and parent. However, friends are instrumental to people being secure with their own identity and place in life, raising self-esteem, providing emotional support and providing joy. Here are some reasons why friends can be so influential in people’s lives.
Friends are Identity Shapers
Friends – whether past or present – shape your identity and influence your personality. In childhood, they are the first teachers of social skills. Those children who are not over-scheduled, have time to work issues out themselves with their friends, which leads to superior problem-solving skills and the ability to work out relationship issues as adults. A person’s own sense of belonging in society and their community can be influenced greatly by the friends they keep.
Friends Through Thick and Thin
Life is full of ups and downs, and good friends will be there no matter what, to both celebrate and commiserate throughout it all. Good times are happier when the people one cares about can share in life’s joys, while rough times and even traumatic losses can be weathered better when people have the support of their friends to see them through.
Bringing out the Best in Us
Dedicated, loyal friends will want the best for their companions. They will encourage habits that they believe will help their friends, and help them steer clear of negative tendencies or lifestyles. They can often be that partner in crime people need to shake a bad habit, or to make positive changes in their lives. The best ones can act as role models, or coaches, providing the motivation and encouragement to achieve personal and professional goals that lead to more fulfilling, happier lives.
When major decisions need to be made, friends can often give sound advice knowing how a potential outcome might affect a well-known companion. At the very least having someone other than family to bounce ideas off of, or get perspective from, is very beneficial when trying to decide what the best course of action is.
The bottom line is, having trustworthy people outside of family enriches people’s lives and strengthens their support network.