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?

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 20 + minute journey to see any life outside my neighbors.

Alex;

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, motivating, provides a listening ear when needs be 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 life long brother that I have in him.

Alex and I visiting Antrim Castle Gardens.

Benefits of healthy friendships;

1. Our friendships 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, 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 needs be. 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 I 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 ‘got 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 don’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 on loneliness.

7. They can help us grow;

Like 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 to beside you, laughing when you fall (and then picking you up, because friendship).

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 offering help.

When we needed to take my grandfather up to the grave we had several offerings of good will 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.


Happy International Day of Friendships (July 30th). 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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120 thoughts on “How Friendships Benefit Our Mental Health.

  1. Alex sounds like a great friend. A friend will enable you, a best friend calls you on your shit, and tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear.

  2. Friends are something that we occasionally take for granted. As you have clearly outlined in your post, friends help us in so many ways. I know from personal experience that when I get into a depressed state and I shut myself off, it’s not good. As soon as I make an effort to connect with my friends again, there is a definite change. Thanks for sharing – sounds like you have a great friend in Alex!

    1. Alex is truly amazing. I can’t wait until he joins the world of social media so I can big him up as much as he deserves! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading πŸ˜€

  3. Healthy friendships are so important. I like how you made that a point in the beginning of the post. Often people are who are lonely fall in with toxic individuals simply because they are looking for a connection. I did this myself and it took YEARS for me to let go, although I knew they weren’t good for me. Now I have some pretty awesome friends who are definitely there for me when things are rough. Great points!

  4. I agree with this 100% … I’ve been friends with my bestie for 35 years, and even though we’re now living thousands of miles apart, we’re still there for each other like we saw each other yesterday or can pop dwn the road for a cup of tea.

  5. Agree with every word! I’ve found out who my true friends are since I’ve become disabled, it’s not a nice feeling losing those you thought were friends but I appreciate my close friends so much more and we are together through everything and anything. Fantastic post Nyxie! πŸ’š

  6. I just finished a morning walk with a friend I mainly get to see in the summers. We’re both teachers, so we bounce a lot of ideas off of each other, give encouragement, and share the challenges of our jobs and lives. I totally agree that friends can provide free therapy and boost self esteem. This friend in particular does that for me, and I’m so grateful. Thanks for the post reminding me of the value of friendship!

    1. 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˜€

  7. When I was at my lowest, I realised that I had gotten so overwhelmed in what I was doing — helping others — that I had completely neglected my self-care. And the friends that I had (physically in the vicinity) were not of the sort that would give me a good kick up the butt.

    So – I had to rebuild friendships & my inner circle!

    The best thing I’ve done for my mental wellbeing!

    1. I’ve had to cut off friends because they’ve been toxic or just let the friendship fizzle out because I was the one making the effort. It’s never easy but it’s what we need in the long run. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading πŸ˜€

  8. Great blog and topic! Friendships are so important in our lives. It’s great to share our thoughts and problems with someone who really cares about our well-being.

  9. I adore this post! People often forget that we are social beings and need POSITIVE interactions with others. It has significant impact on our mental health!

  10. Friendships are so important! I am like you in that I like my alone time but do not like being lonely.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback and for reading πŸ™‚ Friendships are so important to us as humans to prevent loneliness, especially among extroverts.

  11. I totally agree with you! Friends are the most amazing thing that can happen to us. We all need those good friendships to keep balance in our lives.

  12. I love the notion that a friend is there to kick your ass! I am a firm believer that if a friend is truly a friend, you can be honest with that person and not tiptoe around things. I know someone loves me when they are telling me when they are annoyed at my behaviour without it being a big deal

    1. Exactly. You shouldn’t have to tip-toe around friends just to keep them happy. You should be able to tell them exactly what you need to without being scared!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading πŸ™‚

  13. Its hard to make friends once you start adulting. Once you do though its important to keep in touch at least. I agree withfindinthefearleslife. I keep a small circle, of true friends. Quality over quantity.

    1. I am defo finding it harder to form relationships as an adult and it’s simply easier to keep a smaller circle. Thank you for stopping by and reading πŸ˜€

  14. Aww I love this post it’s so true! 😊

    I’ve gone from having a big group of friends to now having 2 but they’re the only two I need as they always look out for me and are honest.

    Love Lozza xo
    http://girlygabble.com

    1. I’m the same. I have 1, maybe 2 close friends who I talk to all the time and don’t mind seeing, and the rest have just faded away. That’s how friendships go in adult life I suppose.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading πŸ˜€

  15. A wonderful post – friendships are so important when it comes to MH and you’ve highlighted it beautifully. My BFF is my absolute rock, at times I’ve even told her things I didn’t even want to tell my therapist (which I don’t condone of course!) She has so much dirt on me I’d be scared to have her as an enemy! But in all seriousness, I think our true friends are the ones who’ve seen us at our worst, know some of our darkest thoughts, but who still love us anyway. I especially love your tribute to your friend and how he gives you a kick up the butt when needed – everyone should have a friend like that! Thank you for sharing 😊

  16. 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

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

    1. 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.

  18. I always value friends who keep it πŸ’―! 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!!πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘ŒπŸΎ

    Natonya | https://justnatonya.wordpress.com

    1. 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™‚

  19. 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!

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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˜€

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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

    1. 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˜€

  28. 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.

    1. 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.

  29. 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.

    1. 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.

  30. 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!

  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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  32. 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.

    1. 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.

  33. 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.

    1. 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!

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

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  39. 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.

    1. 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

  40. 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!❀️