Close friendships are vital to happiness


“I have no friends.”

I bet everyone has said this at some point in their life, and if they haven’t, they will. I’m guilty of it myself. It doesn’t matter if it is said out of sadness, fun, self-roasting or even just the thought of saying it.

The definition of a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. Synonyms for a friend are a soulmate, a buddy, amigo or homie.

But why do we even need homies? And why do we sometimes feel like we don’t have any?

It’s well-known that humans are social creatures. So, basically, we seek social connections with others, and that’s the reason why we have friends.

Friends help us survive everyday struggles. They help us survive boring classes. They share our joy with us when our crush texts us. They listen to our complaints and make fun of us. They buy us food, give us rides, make us laugh and make us feel loved.

Studies by Harvard Medical School and the National Center for Biotechnology prove that having close friends expands life expectancy and lowers chances of heart disease. According to evolutionary biologist and professor Dr. Lauren Brent, having and interacting with friends involve dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin to activate in our brains and that release good feelings.  

Put simply, friends make us feel good by spending time with us.

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar formulated Dunbar’s number, which represents the number of friends with whom you can maintain a stable social relationship. The number is 150 friends. These are the people you don’t mind having at your wedding. Dunbar also found that you can have a meaningful relationship with 50 people. The people you consider as good friends, your sympathy group, consists of 12 to 15 people. These are the people who you are close to and who you trust. And your support clique are your closest friends, which is about five friends.

Despite the fact that we are able to maintain friendships with so many people, sometimes it feels like not having anyone. The feeling of loneliness usually comes when our expectations aren’t fulfilled by our friends and our “critical inner voices” convince us that there is no one we can trust.

Since friends are strongly linked to our happiness, feeling like having no friends, is upsetting. But believe me, your friends sometimes feel the same way as you do. Everybody has those kind of days, and in those days you discover who your true friends are. As a British literary critic John Churton Collins said, “In prosperity, our friends know us. In adversity, we know our friends.”

In the intro of a sitcom called “Friends,”  they sing “I’ll be there for you.” I believe that should be everyone’s mission: to be there for our friends and not let them feel like they have nobody because our amigos make our lives better.