Research backs up what many of us know instinctively: Quality friendships are good for our health. Many studies, including the landmark Nurses’ Health Study, show that social interaction with friends can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol, and an Australian study of older people found that those who had a large network of friends lived much longer than those with the fewest friends.
Take a moment to think about your friends. How many do you have? How many of those do you consider really close friends? Chances are you have fewer than a handful of friends who you would turn to in times of trouble. Now, think about how those friends regard you. How many of them would rely on you in tough times? Because really, that’s the true measure of a quality friendship. When you need them, they are there, and when they need you, you don’t let them down.