Some further research into friendship came up with some interesting results. After talking about the statistics covering a longer life expectancy for people with high-quality friendships they also noted that people with high-quality friendships can also pick up some bad health habits from their friends. It seems like peer pressure never really goes away and our friends influence us well into adulthood. However, this is the biggest point I took away:
Mysteriously, Chopik adds, even taking those negative health behaviors into consideration, the cohort still lived longer and were happier than those whose friendships weren’t as strong. “It could be that they imbibe a little bit, but then they have all these positive things that counteract that and then they end up living longer,” he says.
Connection matters more than small behaviors. Loneliness is more damaging to our mental and physical health than small vices, despite the amount of digital space spent talking about what we should and shouldn’t eat, drink, or do with our time. Yet, so many of us make our friendships one of the lowest priorities.
We’re hurting ourselves and each other.