Every relationship has its challenges – maybe you and your loved one just want to spend more time together while also being mindful of your priorities, or perhaps you’re in love and want to show your partner how much they mean to you. Whatever your situation, strengthening your bond with your friends is something to aim for.
For those of you in a committed relationship, you may have noticed that your friends’ lifestyles reflect your own. Whether you both love spending your time in the city or country, indulging in decadent food or drink, shopping or socialising, you know exactly what your friends want and you can bet that they’ll keep your relationship fresh.
What’s more, having close friends is good for your mental health. Studies show that having a support network is crucial for staying positive and comfortable in your own skin, especially when faced with challenges.
While maintaining romantic chemistry and a healthy sex life are important, what’s more important is that you feel comfortable enough in your own company to be your best self. When you can genuinely be your best self, shared friendships can flourish.
Here’s an example of how being in a stable, loving relationship can make you a better person: let’s say your partner gets a new job opportunity abroad and you’re struggling to understand why they’d leave you and the family you’ve already built. Even though you think you’ll miss them, you may feel comforted in the knowledge that they’ve got friends they can rely on, who will help them make the transition easier. Your relationship may even be strengthened by the friends they make along the way.
In other words, your relationships with your friends can either enhance or detract from your relationship with your romantic partner. Which one it will be depends on how you choose to interact with it.
Why Are Friends Important?
Having friends is crucial for a mature, stable person. Studies show that having a support network is important not only for your mental health but also for your physical health. Strong social ties have been linked to a longer life span and greater resilience. While your romantic partner may get you drunk on a daily basis, your friends can bring you back to your senses when you’re in over your head.
When you’re feeling down or vulnerable, reaching out to a trusted friend can help you get back on your feet. According to a study from the United Kingdom, experiencing emotional crises is common in both genders and often begins in adolescence. During these times, having friends to confide in and rely on can make all the difference in the world.
However, relying on friends to solve your problems can cause you to become less independent. The key is to find the right balance between giving and taking – be there for your friends but also know when it’s time for you to step in and take charge.
How Can Friends Help?
Let’s say you’re an independent woman working long hours on your own, developing your own career and forging your own path in life. You may be used to climbing the corporate ladder, getting praised for your tenacity and drive, and being the best at what you do. But now that you’re in a committed relationship with a man you love, you may be seeking a change in pace – to bring more balance and harmony into your life. Your friends can help with this transition by providing you with a support network. They may also be able to introduce you to new opportunities and challenges that will stretch and strengthen your relationship.
If you’re looking for ways to spend your time and be a more relaxed, balanced person, consider exploring the city you live in or the area you’ve relocated to. There are so many attractions, festivals, and events that are entirely worth your while and will enable you to decompress and reconnect with your loved one.
If you need someone to bounce ideas off of, to vent to, or to simply share a drink with, your friends will always be there for you.
Making Friends Work For You
If you’re looking for a way to improve your life, consider ways to make new friendships work for you. You don’t necessarily need to find a group of friends with whom you share the same interests and hobbies, but you can find individuals that challenge and inspire you. The key is to actively seek out these friendships and be open to making new connections with people.
For example, let’s say you’ve developed an interest in cooking. You might decide that it would be beneficial to meet other people who enjoy cooking as much as you do. Meetup groups can be a great way to find people who share your interests, whether it’s hiking, reading, or cooking. You may even find that taking an interest in something that your friend is passionate about will draw you closer together. This may be a good option for those of you who want to improve your romantic life as well as your friendship with your partner.
Adolescence sees us grapple with so many changes. Independence is a big one. Some of us want to be strong and assertive, while others want to be cherished and protected. Friends can help with this transition by allowing you to grow and develop as an individual while also being responsible for your own happiness. As mentioned before, having friends is good for your mental health. One of the ways in which it does this is by fostering independence. A study from the United Kingdom found that teenagers who reported close friendships were least likely to be in need of help from social services.
This illustrates how having friends can help give you a better sense of security. Whether you’re at home, at school, or even at a social gathering with your friends, you’ll have someone to rely on when things feel perilous. This may be a young adult living with depression or an anxiety disorder who feels comfortable enough to open up to you, or it may be one of your own friends who you can call on when you need someone to talk to. Regardless, having friends gives you a better chance of reaching out for help when you need it.
While it’s important to have friends, it’s also important to remember that they can sometimes be a pain in the ass. Some of us want to spend our time alone, pursuing our interests and hobbies, whereas others want to be swept off to the parties and events that their social circle finds fun. If you want to be with people you love, consider ways to make your existing friendships work for you. Explore alternative routes to friendship – be open to making new connections with people who can enrich your life and support you in a time of need. Remember: you don’t need to be best friends with everyone – try meeting people where you can share interests and hobbies, but also be respectful of their space. Make sure you’re aware of how much your friends mean to you – whether you tell them or not, they’ll always have your back.