Family and friends are some of the most fundamental units of an individual's life. To choose family over friends or friends over family is the most difficult decision a person can encounter. One of the reasons why some individuals find it hard to stick more with friends instead of their family members is the widely held belief that blood is thicker than water. That is, people expect their family members to be by their side through thick and thin (VOA News, 2017). Even though having strong ties with both family and friends have been reported to be associated with positive health outcomes in an individual (Chopik & Henion, 2017), many studies have shown that friendship is a more powerful predictor of healthy life than family VOA News, 2017). Some of the benefits of friendship include enhanced health and joy, decreased loneliness, decreased chronic illnesses, support during difficulties, improved confidence, and increased life satisfaction.
A recent study carried out by Michigan State University researchers show that friends are better predictors of health and joy as a person get older. One of the reasons why friends are more important than family in determining a person's health and happiness is because an individual is free to choose friends which make them feel good and avoid those who do not make them feel good. On the other contrary, a family is a less significant predictor of health and happiness because a person is not free to choose a family and will always be there. Because a person does not have the freedom of selecting a family, less helpful and non-supportive families can cause problems in people's lives thus negatively affecting their health. Because of this, longevity is associated more with friends who are linked to day-to-day happiness than our families which may, sometimes, be a reason why we are unhappy. Consequently, the researchers recommended that an individual should have a few trustworthy friends around in order to attain good health and well-being.
Another reason why friendships keep us healthy is that it decreases loneliness. Additionally, trustworthy friends are sources of help and advice for a person who is undergoing a particular life struggle. Also, just like good relationships with spouses and children, friendships contribute to an individual's physical and mental health in old age. Moreover, even though the importance of family members in the provision of care and support in old age cannot be underestimated and are often vital and beneficial, Macmillan (2017) noted that family members do not provide the joy friendship does.
The value of friendship in reducing chronic illness as well as in promoting an individual's overall health is more pronounced in individuals who do not have spouses and those who do not receive the required family support when in times of need. In this group of individuals, friends provide are the most powerful source of support needed to overcome day-to-day life challenges.
The importance of friendships in predicting person's health compared to families has been associated with the age factor. Most often than not, a person chooses a friend whose age is closer to his or hers. Even though one's siblings can be closer than one's age, friends are more beneficial for the attainment of good health because friends deal with relatively the same issues than families. Because friends struggle to overcome the same problems, they offer the support needed to overcome these difficulties. Similarly, because friends have a better understanding of the challenges one of them is going through, they are more likely to help a person go through the difficulties easily compared to families. It is also worth noting that although families may want to help one of its own to overcome a particular problem, families may lack an in-depth understanding of the problem because of age barriers (Rova, 2016).
Maintaining and enhancing friendships by ensuring that friends are part of our day-to-day lives is useful in sharing of successes and commiserating failures. By being open to friends about our triumphs and tribulations, they help boost our confidence and become the much-needed shoulders to lean on when one encounters failures or life challenges. By boosting our confidence, friends remind us that no challenge is insurmountable and that we can accomplish whatever we plan to achieve in our lives. Because of this, friends help in the faster realisation of life goals.
The crucial role of friendship in the attainment of a happy life is more important in retirement than any in other age. According to Richardson (2010), friends are more vital to a comfortable retirement than family. This is because family interferes with an older person's life through childcare roles. It is worth mentioning that older or retired individuals who are tasked with childcare are less happy compared to those who do not have childcare roles (Richardson, 2010). Additionally, older individuals with active social networks have higher life satisfaction than those without one. Because of this, Richardson(2010) concluded that having a family is less of a positive thing that is always perceived or thought to be. Specifically, old age should be a time when people should be enjoying their time with friends, free from constraints of any work such as caring for grandchildren.
Unlike family, friends by they are always there for us, even though they are not obligated to do so. By knowing that a friend is there for one, not because of genetic obligation but because of genuine care helps to boost friendship further. It is also important to state that unlike families, friendships do not come with pressure to conform to certain standards. Conversely, in a family where one is born into, there is a lot of pressure for conformity to family standards. A family member is not expected to do certain things because family members believe that they are embarrassing to the family. The pressure to adhere to relatives' standards is unhealthy. In such situations, friends are better predictors of life satisfaction than family.Lastly, more often than not, we share little in common with our parents and siblings. Therefore, as an individual socially mature, it is crucial for him or her to choose whom to befriend. This choice is based on shared similarities. Because an individual can easily relate to friends rather than families, he or she can share opinion, experiences, and activities with than with family members. Consequently, healthy living is easily attained by associating with friends than with family.
In conclusion, friends are more important than family because of several reasons. They are better predictors of health and joy as a person ages. They are also better than family in decreasing loneliness. They are also more vital in reducing chronic illness as well as in promoting an individual's overall health. Other benefits of friendship include support during difficulties, boosting of one's confidence, and increased life satisfaction.
Chopik, A. and Henion, A. (2017). Are friends better for us than family? Retrieved from https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2017/are-friends-better-for-us-than-family/
Matteo, J. (2017). Are friends better than family for your health? Retrieved from https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/health-lifestyle-friends-or-family/3952739.html
Mcmillan, A. (2017). Why friends may be more important than family. Retrieved from http://time.com/4809325/friends-friendship-health-family/
Richardson, H. (2010). Friends 'more important than family' in retirement. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8622024.stm
Rova, B. (2016). Reasons Why Friends Are Sometimes Better Than Family. Retrieved from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/reasons-why-friends-are-sometimes-better-than-family
Cite this page
Importance of Friends Essay. (2022, Mar 29). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/importance-of-friends-essay
If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:
- Paper Example on Assessment and Treatment of Disordered Anxiety
- Mental Health Among Adolescents and Minorities in the Under-Served Communities
- Punishment and Society Essay Example
- National Institute of Mental Health Website: Objectivity, Accuracy, and Currency
- Counselor for Children Undergoing Through Stress Related Issues Job Interview
- Forced Marriages in Asian Communities in the UK - Essay Sample
- Essay Example on Creativity: Thinking Beyond the Obvious