Solid friendships are crucial to your physical—yes, physical—health. Did you know that poor-quality social support is the mortality-risk equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day? Or that supportive friendships in your 20s are a solid predictor of being alive at 70? Genuine, nourishing friendships boost your immune system, improve your prognosis with various chronic health conditions, and lower your blood pressure—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Emotionally, they help reduce your risk of disorders from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to anxiety disorders and substance abuse. If you’re great with your gym regimen but keep putting off having lunch with the person who most makes you laugh, shuffle your priorities a bit.
2. Embrace quality and ditch quantity.
We know this intuitively, and we can probably acknowledge that our 500th Facebook friend relationship is not the bearer of much emotional sustenance. And research suggests we may actually be lonelier now despite having more “friends” than before. But despite this, many of us spend countless hours every week spinning our wheels within some very superficial friendships, getting caught up in a minefield of bland emails or generic texts or the endless treadmill of social networking. We may spend hours each day fiddling on Instagram or Facebook, typing LOL under a video we didn’t even bother to watch, but doing nothing to make true connections—all the while feeling too “busy” to go out and form friendships that are much more real.