Friendship is vital to our mental well-being. While we often prioritize our romantic relationships, it has been scientifically proven that strong friendships are majorly important for a well-rounded, happy life.
Good friendships lift you up, support you and inspire you. In fact, the Health Coach Institute was started when two women—Stacey Morgenstern and Carey Peters—met while training to become health coaches and decided to go into business together.
Why Are Friendships Important?
As social beings, we humans are wired for a connection. Here are some other important reasons you need friends in your life:
Friends are good for our health. According to a 2006 study on social ties and health, having strong social ties can improve mental health. They can also help lower your BMI and prolong your life. They make us feel happier and less alone in the world—like we’ve got someone in our corner.
Friends offer support and encouragement. Friends offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, share in our celebrations, and make the tough times a lot lighter.
Friends teach us important skills. Our relationships with our friends help us develop a wealth of life skills like loyalty, respect, openness and good communication.
Friends can make us better people. Having friends who are a positive influence can actually motivate you to make favorable strides in your own life. Friends can encourage you to think bigger, stretch yourself, and inspire you to reach your goals.
Friends can keep you accountable. Having people in your life you can check in with when you want to make progress in your life can encourage you to follow through with your goals.
Friends make life more enjoyable. Playwright Tennessee Williams said it pretty well when he said, “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose.” Quite simply, friends make life more vibrant and exciting—they help us live our better-than-ever lives.
8 Habits to Keep Your Friendships Strong
Now that the case has been made for why those friendships of yours are so important, let’s talk about how to keep ‘em strong. Because let’s face it: in this fast-paced, online world, it can be hard to tend to friendships.
It all comes down to habits. Healthy habits are the foundation upon which healthy lives are created. Without further ado, here are eight habits you can embrace to help your friendships thrive.
1. Touch Base Weekly
Even if it’s a simple text conversation, make a point to reach out to your closest friends once a week to find out how they’re doing and let them know you’re thinking of them. A simple “How’s your week going?” can go a long way toward making someone feel thought of and appreciated.
2. Schedule Regular Hangouts
The best way to make things happen is to plan for them, so try planning your next few get-togethers in advance. Compare calendars and try to nail down your next three to four get-togethers (or more, if you’re feeling super motivated!). You don’t need to know what you’ll be doing, but getting it on the calendar will ensure you’ve booked the time. If your friend lives out of state, this still applies! Schedule some FaceTime dates to have a virtual coffee or happy hour together.
3. Experience Something New Together
Been dying to visit that new museum in town, see that live band or join a book club? Ask your friend to do it with you! If you can’t do it in person, find a virtual experience you can do together (training to become a Health Coach, perhaps?) and then compare notes.
4. Embrace Their Interests
Does your friend love horror movies? Relish a sumptuous meal? Harbor a seahorse obsession? Plan an outing or send them a gift that shows them you know them and see them.
5. Be Vulnerable With Them
Is there something you’ve been struggling with? A challenge you’re not sure how to tackle? Opening up to your friends about your personal challenges and struggles can deepen your friendship, help you work through problems you’re facing, establish trust, and offer a different perspective on whatever issue you’re faced with. So go ahead and let your friend see the perfect imperfectness that is you.
6. Do Something Special “Just Because”
Commemorating birthdays is great and something you should definitely do, but doing something special for a friend on an average day is an unexpected surprise your friend will remember forever. How about sending a care package with your friend’s favorite things in it? It doesn’t have to be anything crazy expensive for it to mean a lot. You could go old school and make a mix of their favorite music. Or you could pick up a few odds and ends from super affordable stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s or Dollar Tree, and create a meaningful package of goodies on the cheap that’s sure to put a big ole smile on your friend’s face.
7. Tackle a Health Challenge Together
If you and your friend have similar health goals, buddy up and tackle them together. If you both want to work on your mindfulness, for instance, you might commit to a 30-day meditation series. If you want to cleanse your body and tone up, consider doing a detox or workout challenge together. Having an accountability partner will make the process a lot more fun while giving you the motivation you need to see it through to the end.
8. Send Them Snail Mail
Who doesn’t love getting mail? No one. The answer is no one. Pick up a card or grab a sheet of notebook paper and let your friend know how much they mean to you and why you’re grateful for their friendship. Bonus points if you share some of your favorite memories and hopes for the future.
Dual Health and Life Coach Certification With HCI
Coaching is a great career in which you can help others, while also learning how to help your own personal growth. Health Coach Institute’s dual health and life coaching certification program is designed to accommodate your schedule. Join our Become a Health Coach program and begin coaching in as early as six month. If you are already a coach and want to advance your skills, check out HCI’s Coach Mastery program. Feel free to get in touch with one of our clarity coaches directly, by calling 1-800-303-2399.