Importance of Friends: A Buddy in Need is a Buddy Indeed
Plenty of money and time has gone toward the Human Genome Project, nonetheless, it appears that human beings are pretty smart at DNA sequencing without the help of any devices at all. A recent study found that individuals who are buddies have more identical DNA than strangers do. As people typically choose their friends, it means that when someone is forming friendships, that person is actually looking for genetically similar peers.
One researcher told in an interview that humans are unique in a sense that they forge long-term bonds with others. Furthermore, people tend to appreciate the presence of such individuals that they resemble. They observed that the olfactory gene, which is responsible for the sense of smell, happened to be the commonly-distributed gene between friends. And it is pretty apparent, as a significant part of a friendship, boils down to enjoying and eating many things together, and one’s sense of smell can be found related to how that person perceives flavor and taste.
However, it is just the opening chapters of the comprehensive friendship essay waiting to be told. Over the past few decades, various studies have thrown a light on the significance of friendship in people’s lives.
Top benefits of friendship
Friends make you less stressed
It is long said that human beings when confronted with intense stress or impending danger, trigger a fight or flight responsive defense mechanism. However, one UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) study challenged that conventional wisdom. The researchers observed that fight or flight does not happen to be as intense as tend and befriend when it boils down to females. It means women have more propensity to respond to threat perceptions by longing for social contacts and nurturing their near and dear ones. It helps to release oxytocin that plays the role of a de-stressor in females and less so when it comes to men.
And there is more to happen when the tend and befriend stimulus acting in a woman is successful, her body liberates more oxytocin, and thus the biochemical process keeps iterating. Hence, females who spend a significant amount of leisure time with their friends are less likely to be stressed consistently on a daily basis than the guys. Some scientists also believe that it satisfactorily explains why females live longer than males.
Friends affect your weight
In an even extended study, which commenced in 1971 and continued till 2003, researchers thoroughly examined how prevalent obesity is in a social network of twelve thousand and sixty-seven people. They witnessed that, as a rule of thumb, individuals were more likely to suffer from obesity, provided someone close to those people happened to be obese too. The effect was more visible and dominant, though pretty surprisingly when the relationship was a friendship. The study inferred that someone is 57% more likely to suffer from obesity, as long as the friend of that person does. The effect was not restricted to weight, either; and in a separate research study, people were 500% more likely to ingest a healthy diet in general, when their buddies were eating responsibly too.
Friends make you live longer
A group of Australian researchers studied people who are seventy years old or more for over ten years to find how their social networks influence their longevity. The study observed that the likelihood of seniors having large groups of friends surviving the decade was around 22% more than that of those people with no or fewer number of buddies. Perhaps, even more, astonishing is that, having children and relatives did not affect their lifespan substantially.
Friends make you more optimistic
In a unique experiment performed in 2008, subjects were made to stand facing a hill and were then asked to guesstimate its steepness. The study noted that the experimental group which performed the activity in the presence of their good friends said that the hill question was less steep than the control group that did the task all alone. And what is even more surprising, just thinking about a genuine friend while gazing at the hill, made people perceive a shallower incline. The researchers concluded that when an individual is looking in the direction of a mountain, the subconscious mind of that persons imagines climbing it, and thus having a friend at an arm’s throw, or even barely thinking about one, makes one less pessimistic about the odds of an unsuccessful ascent.
Even your Friends’ friends make you happier
People will more likely be satisfied when they spend time with other happy people, and a 2008 study found this correlation can be held true for as far as three degrees of separation. For instance; one (W) can think of a close buddy (X), then think of one (Y) of those people who are friends of that person (X), and finally think of one (Z) of those individuals who are friends of Y. If Z is the person whom W has never hear about or met, is found to be happy, then W has a better likelihood of finding merriment and joy.
Maintaining a group of genuine friends is undoubtedly one of the most critical aspects of embracing a healthy and happy life. Unlike blood relationships, friendships are created by personal choice, sans the formality of ceremonies or legal ties. However, similar to family relationships, friendships can also last an entire lifetime.
There are various types of friends. Some are pretty casual and may identify with a common pastime or hobby. Other friendships blossom because of one’s membership in a club or an organization but never happen to extend beyond those boundaries. People have best friends, childhood pals, close friends, good friends, schoolmates, and workplace friends.
Most often, the friendships people make during the hay days of youth, gradually fade into oblivion as they mature and move to new places. New friends begin to occupy the vacant places created by old ones, and the cycle continues.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves