That invaluable network of friends That invaluable network of friends

Making links with others based on common likes and interests is a natural matter for women, but it benefits everyone equally due to its power to create links.

Medical Advisor: Rosa Guevara – Psychologist, psychotherapist and sexologist,
practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

The emotional support of groups of friends who share their experiences face to face favors men and women equally, although it depends a lot on age. However, there is evidence that groups of female friends are more active and efficient in this sense, as for them it is easier to express what they feel and they enjoy sharing with those of the same gender. This is shown in public places, where groups of women are seen more frequently than groups of men.

It is known that having a group of friends allows us to keep good mental health. Likewise, statistical measurements have been taken from hospital patients, which have proven that those who have the support of their loved ones recuperate quicker and live longer. Amongst multiple investigations made by Psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Ohio, USA, it was discovered that students who had more female friends with quality friendships, endure stress better when taking exams and make fewer visits to the doctor.

According to psychologist Rosa Guevara Quintero, “at each stage of life, human existence creates groups or networks who support the evolution and allow for the most comfortable adaptation to the environment. Friendships are an important support for the social “being”, increase tolerance and decrease impulsive responses in multiple social situations.”

In this way, friends become not only company for good times, but the emotional and physical cement required to face diverse circumstances such as depression, loneliness, abandonment, or to contribute to fast recuperation from a physical illness. Regardless of age, groups of friends help lighten the routine.

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Multiple benefits

Improved cardiac rhythm, good blood pressure, maintained stable brain functioning, reduced stress, increased sense of vitality, these are some of the physical benefits that can be felt when we have a stable network of good friends, the specialist indicates. Likewise, they help to increase oxytocin levels, known as “the love and happiness hormone”. Some even say that this could be a key factor to finding new treatments for some psychiatric disorders.

The benefits of a group of friends are widely recognized in the emotional sphere. They favor social interaction, allow one to feel accompanied, they help to face difficult situations with courage, promote teamwork, allow for the establishment of relationships of trust and quality with others. Having friends benefits links, a feeling of belong and friendship. In other words, it becomes a valuable circle from all points of view.

“Social” networks

As Doctor Guevara explains, “social networks have been increasing through the contribution of technology, and as a consequence emerges the possibility to feel supported, identified and motivated by being part of a determined group. Today we are at risk of suffering greater stress, generated, precisely, by the pressure exercised by the same networks.” She even comments that there are studies based on the same technology that confirm that a self-image is created on the internet and this does not always correspond to reality and even less so helps to establish affectionate links or share emotions.

From this perspective, the specialist states that the best thing is to have close friends with whom we can meet, because this can influence the mental health of all those that belong to this group.•

Belonging to a group of friends, even in the diversity of likes and personalities, contributes other life perspectives to one’s own.

Selection is key

There are explicit conditions that must be fulfilled when we choose our friends, so that they become a support network. Amongst these are the following:

  • Look for someone with whom we have things in common.
  • They will be a friend if they listen and support, but also if they question.
  • They must be a good person, not just to the friend but also to others.
  • Good friends do not ask for anything in return, just friendship.
  • Choose someone who helps you be better, not because they give you gifts and tell you how good you look, but because they accompany, respect and understand you.
  • Choose someone who shares experiences and moments. It is not the amount of time, but the quality of the company, that is important.
  • Having few friends does not indicate a lack of popularity, but a valuable selection that must be cared for with love.