Why You Need Friendship And Love

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated July 8, 2022

To say that we live in a chaotic and eventful world would be the understatement of the millennium. Still, in spite of the darkness and insanity which seemingly surrounds us, there is still light and goodness which exists in various places. Having brightness to balance out darkness, and good times to balance out the bad is what ultimately makes life worth living. This is why you need friendship and love in your life. Healthy, loving connections with other human beings are powerful and can enrich your life in countless ways.

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What Is Friendship?

Friendship is a mutually positive, respectful, and trust-based connection with another human being. When two people are truly friends with one another, they care about one another's feelings, enjoy spending time together, and generally share similar interests and outlooks on matters. They might also share a friendship symbol together, such as a friendship bracelet or special flower. Friends can also be unique and have differences of opinion, but in most cases, friends are more alike than they are different, even if this likeness is not readily apparent.

It goes without saying that friendship is one of the most major components of interpersonal relationships. When you have a strong friendship with someone, you accept one another for who you are. Part of this involves not trying to change a person or mold them into something they are not. The best friends are the ones who cherish and appreciate a person's quirks, instead of resenting them or attempting to alter their personality.

Having the right friendships in life broadens horizons and allows people to learn, grow, and see things from a perspective other than their own. Many people have had certain experiences and exposure due to the friendships which they have maintained throughout their lives. Friends help you believe in yourself, stay positive during tough times, and remember all that you are capable of achieving.

What Is Love?

Love is defined as "one of the most profound emotions known to human beings." Many people who have experienced love with another person have found love to be life-changing and monumental. Individuals in love often enjoy spending time with their significant other, experiencing intimacy, and being part of a union. Countless songs, stories, plays, and songs have been written about love and the power that love can have on a person's life.

There is no denying that like friendship, love is an amazing, powerful, and life-changing feeling. However, it's important for people to understand love, what it's all about, and what it is not. Ultimately, love boils down to caring for someone and wanting what is best for them. Love is very different than lust, infatuation, or obsession. When you love someone, you want them to be happy, safe, and at peace. This is why many people make sacrifices for the ones they love, or go to extraordinary lengths when they believe that person may be in danger or otherwise facing a threat.

Love is not controlled. Love is also not selfish or manipulative. When a person loves someone, they do not intentionally hurt, embarrass, or humiliate them. Far too often, certain individuals are told that if they truly love someone, they should put up with mistreatment from that person. This kind of rhetoric is so very dangerous, and has led people down a path of destruction. The truth of the matter is that if someone truly loves you, they will never subject you to mistreatment. Abuse is not love. Ill-treatment is not love.

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How Can Friendship and Love Change Your Life?

While the merits of friendship and love are very well-documented, many people aren't aware of the associated health benefits. It turns out that having the right individuals in your life makes a difference in more than one area. In a world that can be so crazy and chaotic, having the benefits of friendship and love can quite literally change your life.

Improved Physical Health

When you are around people who love and care for you (and vice versa), a hormone known as oxytocin is released. Oxytocin has been linked to a reduction in blood pressure, energy boosts, and the lessening of negative emotions, such as fear, stress, and anxiety. As you can imagine, experiencing the preceding negative feelings regularly can impede your health over time, not just on a physical level, but also emotionally and psychologically. Oxytocin also improves peoples' abilities to adapt socially and experience general wellness in everyday life.

Lesser Likelihood of Depression

The existence of love and friendship in an individual's life has also been linked to a reduced likelihood of experiencing depression. This is because when we have positive interpersonal relationships in our lives, we tend to feel happier, have more experiences, and enjoy a higher quality of life than our friendless, lonelier counterparts. Healthy friendships and love truly matter, and this is something which everyone should be cognizant of as they determine the people whom they want in their lives.

Support During Challenging Times

Everyone will experience challenging times at one point or another. This is simply an inevitable part of life. Of course, challenges do not always manifest themselves in the same manner for each person. Sometimes, people experience rough times in the form of being laid off from work, losing a loved one, or experiencing a natural disaster. However, having friendship and love in life ensures that you have a support system to fall back on when you are not at your best.

When facing challenging times, it's also important to realize that being willing to accept help from those who care about us matters. So often, people are led to believe that they have to do everything on their own; this isn't always the best course of action, though. There is nothing wrong with being independent and self-sufficient. Still, even in having those traits, allowing the people who love you to be supportive and helpful serves as a healthy balance to independence and self-sufficiency.

How to Find Friendship and Love

Depending on who you are, where you live, and what your lifestyle is, you may or may not have a hard time developing friendships and finding love. If this sounds like you, then the following tips and advice can certainly prove to be of value in your life.

Engage in Recreational Activities You Enjoy

Believe it or not, partaking in recreational activities which you enjoy can help allow you to attract friendships and love into your life. One of the best ways to make this happen is to put yourself in places where you can come into contact with like-minded people. Taking a recreational class can allow you to not only do something which you love for fun, but also meet others with similar interests. This sets the foundations for friendships and amazing, loving relationships to form.

Don't Be Afraid to Be Yourself

So often in life, people believe they have to adopt a certain persona or change who they are to find friendship and love in life. For as common as this misconception may be, it's certainly not accurate. True friendship and love should never cause you to change who you are or become something you're not. Sometimes, it can be tempting to want to fit in with the "in crowd," but authenticity always wins in the end. Having the right people in your life, who are best for you, can only happen when you're being yourself and not trying to change who you are to satisfy others.

Build Relationships of Friendship and Love with Therapy

Have Standards

Believe it or not, the standards which you have in life can determine whether you find real friendship and love in life. Your standards set the tone for everything in life. Standards determine the treatment you accept, whether or not you are willing to put up with manipulation, and so much more. Above all, it's important to understand what friendship and love are all about. Friendly and loving relationships should serve as positive and uplifting contributions in your life. If you feel as though friendship and love are bringing you down, then this is a sign that you are not surrounding yourself with the right people.

Accepting Professional Counsel

Studies show that online therapy can help individuals deal with symptoms of depression or similar mental health issues that may take a toll on friendships. In a study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers examined the effects of online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) on depression and anxiety. The results showed that individuals who completed the online interventions showed a significant reduction in symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely accepted method of counseling that helps participants reframe the negative thought patterns that may be leading to problematic behaviors in friendships.

As discussed above, if you’re having trouble fostering healthy friendships, online therapy can be a beneficial tool. With online therapy through BetterHelp, you’ll have the opportunity to work with one of thousands of therapists throughout (and outside) the US. This means you’re more likely to find someone with whom you can establish a rapport. Also, you’ll be able to message your therapist outside of sessions; so, if you find yourself struggling with a friendship, have a question, or just want to chat, you can send a message to your therapist right away in that moment, and they will get back to you when they’re able. The mental health professionals at BetterHelp can help you establish stronger connections. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have experienced similar issues.  

Counselor Reviews

“Pamela Heyman is outstanding. She listens extremely well, has excellent follow up, recommends constructive feedback with a positive outlook, and she challenges me to strive for my goal of better family/friend/workplace relationships. Thank you Pamela for working with me to understand myself and how my life experiences mold me. This is helping me prosper with interactions successfully I have with personalities/people in my life.”

“Dr. Groble provided a safe environment to talk about all I’ve bottled up inside for months, and it was the relief that I needed to think clearly again. With all the trauma that 2020 brought, coupled with isolation and distance from loved ones, she gave me tools to help me move forward. Processing this with her renewed my energy to find healthy new friendships and activities that can be done safely during the pandemic. She reminded me that when we get overwhelmed, we can refocus away from the negativity, focus on the good, and work to define our own life and path. Often we are stressed because we either expect something from other people (or ourselves) that they’re not. She assured me that my struggles are normal, and helped me accept myself a lot more than I’ve ever done before.”

Conclusion

Friendships can provide you solace and happiness in even the most trying times. But if you are having trouble making new friends or communicating with old ones, therapy is available. No matter what, know that there are people out there who want to help. Take the first step today.

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