Turns out, you need these guys. Buckle up: You could be headed for a midlife friendship crisis. Only 25 percent of Americans are truly satisfied with ...
Buckle up: You could be headed for a midlife friendship crisis. Only 25 percent of Americans are truly satisfied with their friendships, according to a new survey from social research company Lifeboat.
Dig into those figures and the results are even worse: Just 18 percent of Generation Xers—35 to 49 year olds—feel good about their buddy situation.
Blame the results on what psychologists call “dyadic withdrawal”—breaking ties with your bros once you’re serious with a romantic partner, explains Susan Whitbourne, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. And it’s something you should be careful about.
“Social support plays a big role in your ability to handle stress,” Whitbourne says, citing research that a lack of non-family friends is linked to significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, and death. In fact, one Johns Hopkins study found blood pressure rates improved 17 percent when men suffering from heart disease had the support of friends and a spouse, as opposed to just a spouse. Other University of Michigan research has correlated being part of a social group to a 67 percent improvement in symptoms of depression.
Trying to reconnect with old pals? Focus on quality, not quantity, Whitbourne advises. Since friendships’ health perks stem from the support they provide, one true blue friend is more valuable than a pack of flaky guys. And take into account that your oldest friends are the most essential, Whitbourne says. You’ve gone through more together, and losing them will cut deeper, she explains. The good news: If your best buds don’t live nearby, a phone call every now and then or visits every few months may be enough to keep close, since they’ve been in your life for so long.
That said, gathering a few new friends for the game can help your health, too. Why? Believing you’re a member of multiple social groups bolsters your physical and mental resilience, say University of Queensland researchers.
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