By Renee Castro

I have been lucky enough to have the same group of best friends for most of my life. While I have had a number of friendships and I know a large number of people from my experiences, I was also very blessed with childhood best friends who helped me form a small and unique sisterhood that I so often refer to as my “second family.”

As an aging adult, I can vouch for the fact that there are days I want to go home, lay underneath the covers and binge Net ix until dawn. However, I can also attest to the fact that there are days in which all I want to do is spend every minute with my best gals. Over our 15 years together, I have to say that friendship is really important.

Some of us will make excuses as to why we can’t hang out with friends, the old “too much work,” “date night,” or “no sitter” can get you out of everything, but at the end of the day, some quality time with your friends can improve your overall health. According to Mayo Clinic, spending time with friends can, “increase your sense of belonging and purpose,” and “boost your happiness and reduce your stress.”

Studies have shown that healthy relationships practically make our lives
easier by making aging enjoyable, providing support to help you achieve your goals and help lessen grief through tough times. The best part about having a group of friends is that you will always have a support system aside from your family. Group chats praising your best work or your new out t can help boost your self esteem and add some ‘oomph’ to your life!

Happiness is contagious, and spending time with people who make you laugh is a great way to add a little bit of positivity in your life. It’s easy to talk to your friends about the things that make you happy and make you smile, and the same can often be said about the opposite. Friends are the people that we can trust and whom we know will absolutely be there for us in a time of need. For me, my friends know something is wrong before I am even aware of it, and they also know the exact remedy I need to feel better!

It is true that women friendships differ from men friendships in numerous ways. The biggest difference, as seen in a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information is that women friendships are more “face to face” and men are more “side by side.” The research also concludes that women’s friendships are more intimate, where men’s friendships are more focused on shared activities, and it has to do with the social norms that we grew up around.

While both men and women friendships can be different, having friendships in general might actually increase how long you stay on earth! According to a study done in Australia, having a large friend base could save your life. The conclusions of the study found that a person’s “survival time may be enhanced by strong social networks.” So gather up your friends and hit up brunch on the weekend to enjoy each other’s company and add a few years to your life!