Welcome to edition #28 of our news series, where we share with you the latest resources we’ve found on social skills, making friends, and more. In this edition, we’ll look at research that further proves the importance of friendship in the advancement of all cultures, and how friends affect physical and mental health even more so than family. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss any future editions!
Importance of Friendship: What The Few Remaining Hunter-Gatherer Communities Can Tell Us
Current hunter-gatherer societies are the closest examples of past social interactions. A recent study of these societies showed that the relationship between friends is as strong as those with family. Many of these friendships were formed in early childhood.
The article on Science Daily further states that having a friendship network is an important human adaptation. Research illustrates how friendship is one of the secrets to human evolution and success as a species.
Paul Sanders’ commentary:
This research is amazing! It’s not everyday that we have insights from the remaining Hunter-Gatherer societies (definition here).
This project consisted of giving electronic bracelets (sensors) to the Hunter-Gatherer population, to see who they interact with and how that affects their lives.
What they’ve found is so relevant to today’s world, and how friendship works:
- Groups of people become more effective and efficient, thanks to the friends they have. They accomplish more and access a better life condition depending on the relationships they’ve built, beyond their family.
- Critical knowledge and culture gets exchanged between friends very often. In other words, key information that can greatly affect your life, is likely to come from a friend, instead of a family member.
From my experience, people tend to already know what their family members know. It’s the friends you have who give you important information, cultural wealth, and access to people people.
It goes beyond just “knowing.” Friends share information and stories in an experiential way. It’s as if you were there. That makes you accumulate “life lessons” and “privileged information” from a variety of people.
As I shared in an article about developing your personality, having that cumulative knowledge and culture makes it easy for you to connect with a variety of people.
Friends May Be More Important Than Family
New research suggests that quality friendships are much more important for physical and mental health than family support. According to new research on the Personal Relationships journal, one of the reasons friendships make us happier than family is because we choose our friends.
The benefit of having long-time friends is even more evident among seniors. While family may provide care from a place of obligation, people that receive support from true friends are often happier.
Paul Sanders’ commentary:
Friends have an effect on happiness that may surpass that of family members. This is because we tend to have fun with friends, while family gatherings can be more serious, and sometimes even monotonous.
From my experience, people who have strong family ties are generally more grounded, and feel content overall. But, the effect of having good friends with whom you can spend some leisure time, is a game changer. Even people who are in a happy marriage with wonderful kids, still long for spending time with friends.
What we really need to get from these studies, is how seriously we should take our friendship building. There is nothing in society that’ll just come out and say it: having friends is not a disposable option, it’s a necessity. Every few days, there is a new study or a research that further proves the importance of friendship.
So get out there and make some new friends, you deserve it!
– Paul Sanders