Why is dinner with friends often more laughter filled and less fraught than a meal with family? Although some say it’s because we choose our friends, it’s also because we expect less of them than we do of relatives. While we’re busy scrutinizing our romantic relationships and family dramas, our friends are quietly but strongly influencing everything from the articles we read to our weight fluctuations, from our sex lives to our overall happiness levels.
Evolutionary psychologists have long theorized that friendship has roots in our early dependence on others for survival. These days, we still cherish friends but tend to undervalue their role in our lives. However, the skills one needs to make good friends are among the very skills that lead to success in life, and scientific research has recently exploded with insights about the meaningful and enduring ways friendships influence us. With people marrying later—and often not at all—and more families having just one child, these relationships may be gaining in importance. The evidence even suggests that at times friends have a greater hand in our development and well-being than do our romantic partners and relatives.
Friends see each other through the process of growing up, shape each other’s interests and outlooks, and, painful though it may be, expose each other’s rough edges. Childhood and adolescence, in particular, are marked by the need to create distance between oneself and one’s parents while forging a unique identity within a group of peers, but friends continue to influence us, in ways big and small, straight through old age.
Perpetually busy parents who turn to friends—for intellectual stimulation, emotional support, and a good dose of merriment—find a perfect outlet to relieve the pressures of raising children. In the office setting, talking to a friend for just a few minutes can temporarily boost one’s memory. While we romanticize the idea of the lone genius, friendship often spurs creativity in the arts and sciences. And in recent studies, having close friends was found to reduce a person’s risk of death from breast cancer and coronary disease, while having a spouse was not.
I received this book via NetGalley for a book tour through Providence Book Promotions for a honest and fair review. This was a very interesting book that deals with how certain friendships help us in life. How if one child who is generally good connects with bad kids they are likely to slip in grades and become more like that child. Also how internet and cell phones impact our friendships typically a kid will send 50 text messages a day to their friends. And how friendships can help mold us regardless of our family. Definitely interesting to read about the theories on friendships and what sustains them and how people who don’t have any have more issues than those with good friends. Just cause you are popular doesn’t mean you have close friends. Generally popular kids find they are flocked to due to their social status and not so much as for the relationship quality.
I have a copy of this book to giveaway for anyone living in the USA so please reply in the comments with your email address.