Healthy Friendships: Bonds that Help You Grow

March 18, 2019
Healthy friendships help you grow as a person.

There are friendships you rekindle every once in a little while. Likewise, there are others that end due to different circumstances or lack of time. Other friendships help you grow because they give you strength, support, and assistance. These are healthy friendships.

The people who build healthy friendships pour their love, respect, and trust in them. In this article, we discuss them further.

“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.”

-Marcus Tullius Cicero-

Characteristics of healthy friendships

Healthy friendships encourage you to grow and motivate you to evolve and are always there for you.

  • Honesty. Healthy friendships are honest. In other words, they’re sincere, respectful, and fair.
  • Assertiveness. Transmitting what you want to say in the best way possible is also an important characteristic of this type of friendship, since it favors the well-being of its members.
  • There are boundaries. People in healthy friendships can say no because they don’t act under the shroud of complacency. Rather, they act based on what is fair for all the members.
  • They foster trust. Trusting one another is key in these type of relationships. Creating security in the relationship and eradicating all fears and prejudices are some of its priorities.

As you can see, healthy relationships are authentic. They allow you to show yourself as you are.  When you fight or have differences of opinion, the friendship becomes more important than trying to convince the other of one’s point of view.

Friends hugging at a café.

How to build healthy friendships

Healthy friendships are the result of a combination of effort, values, and abilities:

  • Acceptance. Accepting the other person and yourself is the basis of authenticity. Along with respect and tolerance, it builds healthy relationships.
  • Optimism. Not focusing on complaints and judgments is basic in good friendships. Doing so will help you build a positive perspective.
  • Assertive communication. Whether it’s an agreement or disagreement, getting your message across as effectively as possible is the key to building good relationships with other people. This way, the other person will be able to understand your point of view, which will prevent any misunderstanding.
  • Respect. It’s all about knowing how far you’ve come and understanding how far the other person has come.
  • Saying goodbye to competition. It doesn’t matter who achieves more or who reaches their goal first. Instead, it’s about growing, evolving, and transforming because life isn’t a race, but an adventure.
  • Emotional management. Knowing how to manage your emotions helps you be more assertive. Likewise, it increases your understanding of your actions and behavior as well as those of others. All of this can be very helpful for building healthy friendships.

Now, in addition to all of these characteristics, you can’t forget the most important one: knowing yourself. Practicing self-reflection helps you become a better person.

What are the benefits of healthy friendships?

There are many benefits that come from creating healthy bonds. Healthy friendships:

  • Promote happiness.
  • Increase your sense of belonging.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Improve your confidence.
  • Cultivate authenticity.
  • Lead to optimism.
Two friends forming a heart with their hands.

It’s amazing what healthy friendships can do for you. For example, having them favors healthy aging. Otero Puime, Zunzunegui Pastor, François, Rodríguez Laso, García de Yébenes, and Prous suggested this in their article for the BBVA Foundation. Similarly, they also stated that psychosocial networks play an important role in healthy aging.

In particular, they demonstrated the benefits of having intimate friends as well as of playing an active role in healthy relationships. Therefore, healthy friendships lead to a better quality of life, especially in older people.

Another important aspect of this type of friendship is that they help people deal with their fears and anxieties. They help people overcome obstacles through support and also favor well-being.

It’s wonderful to see how you can grow alongside friends who support you and help you become a better person. Therefore, don’t stop appreciating them. Value the time they spend with you and the love they share with you.

“True friends aren’t the ones who make your problems disappear. They are the ones who won’t disappear when you’re facing problems.”

-Anonymous-

  • Otero Puime, Á.,  Zunzunegui Pastor, M. V., François, B., Rodríguez Laso, A., García de Yébenes, & Prous, M.J. (2006). Relaciones sociales y envejecimiento saludable. Fundación BBVA, no. 201039. Recuperado de: https://ideas.repec.org/p/fbb/wpaper/201039.html, el 24 de enero de 2019.