How Friendships Benefit Our Mental Health.

How do healthy friendships benefit our mental health? Why do we need friends in our lives, and how can they help us become a better version of ourselves?

Friendships and mental health.

How do healthy friendships benefit our mental health? Why do we need friends in our lives, and how can they help us become a better version of ourselves?

I’m the first to admit that I like my own company, but I don’t like to be lonely. The worst thing about living in the country is being so far away from the majority of my friends. When I lived in the city I always had friends around the corner, or it was always simple to meet up for coffee because of how close everything was. Now it’s a twenty-minute journey to see any life outside my neighbors.

My friendships have shaped who I am.

Alex and I have been friends for over 10 years now. That’s right, we’ve officially passed the 7-year rule! We’ve been together through thick and thin. Even during my first run-in with anorexia, Alex was there.

Alex is what all good friends should be. He’s supportive, and motivating, provides a listening ear when needed and we often get together for self-confessed ‘bitching’ sessions. When we were younger it was always great to get up to his house for a sneaky cigarette and some much-loved video games.

Nothing could ever come between us, not even those few months of radio silence that we all slip into thanks to adult life. No matter the trouble we both know that we’re only a phone call away!

International Friendship day is not just about my friendship with Alex, it’s about the love and loyalty we have for each other, the comfort we provide, and the lifelong brother that I have in him.


Benefits of healthy friendships.

1. Our friends provide supporters and motivators.

Speaking from personal experience my best friend has always been my biggest supporter. No matter what I want to do with my life, even if it’s the most farfetched thing you’ve ever heard of, Alex has been right there to tell me to go for it! But he’s also the first to tell me when I need to reign it in.

2. Reality Check!

Not only is Alex there to motivate and support me, but when life hits me with no motivation, pessimistic thinking, and mental fatigue, Alex has always been there to kick my ass!

As he puts it: You can trust me to give you a kick up the ass when you need it!”

As friends, we need to be able to give each other a swift reality check when needed. If you’re wearing a terrible outfit or your makeup isn’t blended, you’d want to know, right? True friends are able to give us the harsh facts that we don’t necessarily want to hear, and vice versa. Honesty is the best policy with friendship, even if it stings.

3. Free therapy.

Whenever we need a shoulder to cry on, our friends are there, and vice versa. As friends we should be there for each other in times of need should this be for small, mini breakdowns or during harder times such as the death of a loved one. Friendships are built on a solid foundation of listening to each other, having empathy for someone else’s struggles, and allowing them to talk it out.

Not everyone is capable of having a private therapist, but sometimes friends can do just as good a job as any.

Schedule a coffee date or a night out with your friends. Take the time to ask them how they are and offer a shoulder to cry on if they need it. Yes, they may already know this but it never hurts to give them a friendly reminder.

(I should note I am not suggesting that you forego a professional therapist should you need one, I am simply stating that friends can act as one in times of need).

4. Self esteem boosters.

If you ever want someone to praise you for all the little things you do, trust your friends. Personally speaking, Alex has been there for me throughout my blogging journey. He sees the work I put in, and even feeds into that with words of encouragement and, on occasion, brainstorms with me to help boost my creativity.

5. Sometimes, they’re the only ones who understand us.

More times than not my friends have been the only ones to ever understand me. This was especially true when I was growing up. For a long time, my friends understood me in a way my parents and family members didn’t. In fact, that’s still going on today, with a lot of my friends reassuring and listening to me about things my family just doesn’t get.

Friendship means being able to empathise with someone else’s situation, or at least being able to understand to some degree. Although Alex has never had an eating disorder, he is able to understand where I must be coming from and reassure me when things take a dark turn.

6. They keep us socially active.

This one doesn’t really need much explanation. Having friends to go and talk to keeps us socially active. You don’t necessarily have to leave your house to talk to them, but it helps in reducing the feelings of loneliness.

7. They can help us grow.

As I mentioned above, Alex and I have been through thick and thin together. We’ve grown from little babies doing our GCSEs to fully fledged adults, waddling around with no idea what we’re doing!

For years we have watched each other make stupid decisions and bad, we’ve been there through bad jobs, horrible family situations, house malfunctions, etc.

Growing up is part of life and it’s one we can’t get away from, but it’s much nicer with someone beside you, laughing when you fall.

8. A helping hand.

How many times have you needed moral support or even physical support in your life? Surely the first people you think of are your friends and family (arguably, our family can be like our friends to a certain extent. It’s different for everyone). Friendship is about being there for one another with both a listening ear (as mentioned above) and a lift when needed.

For example, my parent’s home has been a wake house for over 6 weeks now after the passing of both my grandfather and grandmother. It’s been hard, but they’ve had friends and other family calling to offer help.

When we needed to take my grandfather up to the grave we had several offerings of goodwill to help us do this. As my grandfather is not an able-bodied man anymore, it can be hard for my father to get him in and out of the car. Luckily we had my cousin offering to help. We didn’t need this because I ended up going and it was a lot easier than expected, but the kindness was still there.

So, if you need a couch moved like that much-loved scene in Friends, then call on your own friends to help you out. If the friendship stands true, then you’ll never have to lift a raggedy couch alone again.


How do you think friendships can benefit us mentally? Are there any other ways your friends have helped you that I may not have mentioned?

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Friendships and mental health
Friendships and mental health

135 comments

  1. Having close friends does make a difference! I think what I like best is the opportunity to share confidential information. With a close friend, you know you can tell them things that will stay between the two of you.

  2. All of those are so true! A good friendship can make your life so much better in so many ways. I’ve experienced a really bad toxic friendship too so I can confirm how important it is to have the right people in your life.

  3. Friends are always our supporter and forever loyal listerner. They will always be part of the reason whywe live.

  4. You are so blessed for having such a tried and true friend, those are so hard to come by! My best friend lives across the globe but her support is always there, she’s just a message away.

  5. Thank you so much for reading. It’s very hard at the moment as a lot of us can’t see our friends but luckily there are so many ways we can keep in touch.

  6. you are certainly right friendships do a lot for all of us. I love to vent with my friends and to listen to what they share as well stress reduction at the best to me
    thanks for sharing

  7. Yes! Having a few close friends is so important to our mental health. I notice when I haven’t gotten out for a while that my morale starts slipping quite quickly. We need that human interaction! These are all great points and when you find someone who can do these for you, you have found a true friend!

  8. I only have the one that I would consider a close friend. He’s stuck by me through everything, while everyone else left or I pushed them away. However, even when I do need someone more than ever I tend to clam up and say nothing out of fear of annoying people. Thank you for stopping by pet, sending you love. x

  9. Alex is honestly the only person I have and without him I’d have nothing. I mean my partner’s there but he can’t be all the time. I find forming and maintaining friendships so difficult at my age and where I live. I’m like you, super introverted to the point where it’s quite damaging. Thank you for stopping by and reading pet πŸ™‚

  10. I don’t have many face to face friends anymore. But the ones I do have are always there for me and vice versa, even if we don’t talk or see each other every day. Great post lovely.

  11. Great Post. I keep very few friends these days, I’m just not much of a people person, but it’s so important to have a few you can count on.

  12. I don’t have any real life face to face friends anymore. All of mine left me when my mental illness started – I was called a bad friend because I could no longer go clubbing and go out and normal and eventually, they just stopped talking to me. At the time when I needed a friend more than anything else in the world. It still devastates me to this day and this happened around 7 years ago. I do wonder how my mental health would be if I had friends x

  13. That’s amazing that you have that kind of relationship – so powerful. I don’t really have any face to face friends anymore through people moving away and me being rubbish at cultivating friendships (I’m super introverted and it’s a massive struggle for me) but I have found online conversations help a bit. I’d love to be in that position again where I have someone I can meet up with for coffee now and again, but making new friends is just so difficult around here!

  14. Thank you so much for stopping by. I find the blogging community to be so helpful. I honestly feel that without them my blog, and me, wouldn’t be doing as well as we are. x

  15. It can be if you have the wrong people in your life. Alex has been my one constant for years now, and I know with him I’m not going to get a toxic attitude. Sometimes it’s hard to find those people, and it’s hard to cut out toxic people as well. You always have friends here, Ruth. I know it’s not IRL but sometimes I feel like the MH community has been there more for me this past 5 months than anyone else in my life. x

  16. Thank you so much for your kind comment. This means a lot, especially as I’m only starting out. I hope you continue to visit and enjoy the content to come just as much.

  17. I completely agree that having friends is essential to our wellbeing and mental health. I’ve noticed that just having someone to listen to me, or have coffee with is all I need sometimes to snap me out of a mood. I also love being a good friend. There was a time in my life when I believed I didn’t need friends, and I was my own cheer section, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I love my friends, and I’m extremely grateful for them. Without the blogging community, my blog wouldn’t be where it is now. We all need friends. Thank you for this lovely post!❀️

  18. I don’t have really close friends I see a lot IRL, but I do have a couple of guys who knew me in my teens that I’m still in touch with and I guess we are friends.
    I find friendship can be very difficult and stressful to navigate because of all the unwritten social rules.

  19. I wanted to make a quick remark to be able to say thanks to you for the magnificent tactics you are placing at this site. My time consuming internet investigation has now been compensated with good quality concept to write about with my close friends. I would claim that we site visitors are very much blessed to dwell in a perfect place with many brilliant individuals with valuable tips and hints. I feel pretty fortunate to have seen your website and look forward to many more amazing minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details.

  20. Keeping you socially active is so important! Our closest friends who understand what’s going on can help us maintain other relationships, and help us avoid becoming completely along or cut off from others.

  21. Great post! Everyone can use a friend to bounce ideas off of, have fun, and be there for you thick and thin. I love the friends gifs by the way. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Great thought and the thought is universally excepted by all i think!A friend and a relationship with them is just like a happiness of heaven!I became nostalgic when i remember my school friend.Oh!seriously awesome article.Thanks.

  23. So true, I think good friends can definitely improve your life and mental state. The only thing to watch for is the friends who don’t value you and end up making you feel worse.

  24. Friendships are so important for mental health, but sometimes poor mental health can make forming them really difficult. If you’d like some tips, check out this blog post

  25. Alex is exactly the same. He believes in me and everything I can do with my writing, I just wish I had the same confidence in my self.

  26. Thank you so much. I continue to isolate myself from everyone apart from Alex and my partner, so I’m still in that place. But I am gradually removing myself from it.

  27. Alex and I just keep getting stronger in terms of friendship and I appreciate him more and more each day. Good friends really make all the difference in our lives.

  28. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words. I’m so glad you have valuable friendships around you, it can mean so much!

  29. I’ve said it before… I love your blog. I love my friendships and take good care of them. It took me a while to understand that not everyone is a friend to you. And how to reconize a true friend.

  30. This is such a great article. I’ve had a really good friend that I’ve had for 26 years, we have grown up together since diapers. We’ve been through thick and thin and it’s always great to know that she is there to turn too when I need her.

  31. I totally agree with all of this.

    I knew I had awesome friends when I crazily suggested I was going to move into full time blogging and they not only supported me, but helped me with various things.

  32. This is so true – especially the free therapy! Friendships are incredibly important, I just realize how much πŸ™‚

  33. I know I would be lot without someone to talk to other than my therapist. It can be lonely out here with mental illness.
    Thank you so much for stopping by and reading πŸ˜€

  34. This was so nice to read. Friendships are so important! I have a friend who I’ve known for over 10 years and even though we don’t always see each other or talk to each other, when we do get together it’s like no time has passed!

  35. I honestly don’t know what I would do without Alex. He’s been my saving grace among all of this.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. It’s so appreciated.

  36. It’s always good to have a friend who we’ve been with for a long time and who understands us. It’s like I say; I can never get rid of Alex because he knows too much.

  37. I love this post. I have one really good friend that I’ve known for 10 years and her and I understand each other so well.

  38. I couldn’t agree with you more; what a beautiful tribute to friendship. I’ve known this kind of friendship and it is irreplaceable. Cherish it always when you have it because for many it is too rare of a thing. I’ve lost this connection with my truest friends, through distance, time, and death. But it still carries me through in many ways. It’s a real blessing.

  39. I think friendship is really important. I dont have lots of friends but the ones I do have can be counted on and are always there for me not matter how often I see them. It’s nice to have that one best friend though. Someone you cant talk to about anything x

  40. I’m glad you’re able to have such an important friend. I know that my friendships are invaluable when it comes to my mental health. I hope you’re able to continue finding these relationships.

  41. Friendship is so important, sometime as much if not more than some family members. I have a few “old time” friends that we can talk about anything, good or bad, and there is no judging. I’m glad you found a great friend.

  42. I stan our generation so much for being so aware of all the mental health issues. There is such a big different between enjoying time alone and being lonely!

  43. I’m similar to you in that I’m happy to spend time alone, but don’t want to be lonely. Most of my friends live ages away, but with modern technology (or even a good old fashioned phone call), I know they’re always there for me.

  44. Friendship is SO important for mental health. I have moved many times and it’s hard to make new friends etc. I have my bestie who has stuck by my side for over 15yrs now. She might not live close to me but she is always there for me. I enjoy being alone and have become introverted as I’ve gotten older but I still have times when I just need a friend. I have that in her and am extremely grateful for that. On bad days she makes me feel better and accepts all the ups and downs.

  45. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lacking in mine too at times, but Alex has always been there and surely always will. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading Jen. It’s always appreciated.

  46. I appreciate a friend who is willing to tell me the truth far more than one who would lie to protect me. Alex is literally the only friend that I ever see who comes to see me rather than the other way around. And even if I do go see him, the favour is always returned. Thank you so much for stopping by πŸ™‚

  47. I never thought of that song! I was just thinking the song from Toy Story ‘You Got A Friend In Me.’ Thank you so much for stopping by πŸ˜€

  48. it is wonderful to have such a great friend. It is so important to have someone you can call on at any time. Great reminder of how wonderful our friends are.

  49. Humans need social interaction in order to be able to function. Even just small bits at a time (because I know some people are like me and are completely introverted). I personally don’t see any gain in isolation other than irritated and potentially dangerous emotions being dragged up due to the ongoing isolation with nothing but their own minds. BUT I would need to read more into it before presenting a decent argument.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and reading, I really appreciate your support.

  50. Awh, this was such an awesome read. Plus, its very much relatable. Really loved it! (:

  51. I love all the benefits of friendship! Humans are social beings and cannot thrive independently! My husband and I were reading about why prisons should ban isolation cells as cruel and unusual punishment because of the horrible repercussions on the brain they can do to an individual. It was a super interesting argument! Friendship and other human interaction is built into our DNA and benefit the mind and body in so many ways!

  52. What a wonderful friendship you two share. It’s a joy and an inspiration to see how you support each other.

  53. Good healthy friendships are amazing for mental health. My best friend and I have been friends 15 years and i don’t know what I’d do without her! Awesome read πŸ™‚ love your blog

    ❀️Ash
    https://fivebuckstilfriday.com

  54. I always value friends who keep it ????! It’s important to have that friend not afraid to tell you the truth through constructive criticism. I like that you mentioned friends keep you socially active. While it’s great to enjoy your own company, you also want to know how to kindly interact with people. Our world is designed to serve others so it’s great to strengthen communication skills and maintaining strong friendships is a great start! Nice topic!!????????????????

    Natonya | https://justnatonya.wordpress.com

  55. You guys are lucky to have each other! That is what has been lacking in my life lately, friend time!

  56. It’s great to have a friend in the same field as you! My friend is in a completely different line of work but has a lot to do with my confidence levels for writing. He encourages me so much and I’m able to bounce ideas off him despite his expertise being elsewhere.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and reading πŸ˜€

  57. This is a really insightful post Nyxie. I suffered from depression a while back and found it so hard to pick up the phone but when I did I was always amazed at the healing power of a good conversation! You’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head when you say that good friends provide free therapy but they will also give you that much needed reality check. When we’re suffering from mental health, our thoughts can very easily become distorted. Friends are very good at helping us put things into perspective. You’re very lucky to have a friend like Alex and he’s clearly very lucky to have a friend like you x