has to be a healthy boundary. A healthy friendship means I can say no to you or disagree with you, and you might get upset with me but we carry on. We are able to get over that bridge,” he adds.
The best friendships provide emotional, practical and informational support. There are certain characteristics that define a good quality friendship, Dr Murphy explains, and these include empathy, trust, selflessness, shared interests and fun.
THEY CAN ENCOURAGE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH
According to Dr Murphy, it can be a real boon to have friends who come from “different perspectives and backgrounds. That can allow us to grow, in terms of learning and development, regardless of the age and stage you are in life.”
A SENSE OF BELONGING IS VITAL TO OUR WELL-BEING
“Primates, humans and birds thrive better in the presence of social connections,” says Dr Murphy. It seems that we are just wired that way.
“If you have friendships, that is associated with a sense of belonging,” explains Dr Ann-Marie Creaven. “And that can protect you from the development of mental health issues like depression, and loneliness in particular.”
It’s not just having individual friendships that matter, but interconnected circles of friends. “We also know that belonging to multiple social groups, and identifying with those is important. It’s not just that you are part of a group, but that you identify as part of that group that gives you a sense of belonging.”
Friends are especially important during times of crisis and turbulence