Apart from lying in front of our laptop and being glued to Netflix, our next best way of spending our free time has to be chilling with our best friends. And now it has been proven by Oxford University that spending time with our friends can actually prove beneficial for our health. People who have a large group of friends are less likely to fall sick often, and they are known to recover faster even after they’ve had surgery.
The research proved that friends who hang out in real life rather than just virtually have a much stronger bond. They are much more coordinated in real life and work better as a unit.
It also showed that men and women have different patterns of socialization. About 75 percent of women’s social network members are women, and around 75 per cent of men’s are men. But how the sexes organize their social network differs. Men tend to have four or five good friends that they hang out with on a regular basis, while women focus on growing a relationship with their one true BFF, someone they consider their soulmate.
However, it will be sad if we need this research as an excuse to spend time with our friends. In our busy lives and in the quest for reaching new heights in our career, we often leave our near and dear ones behind. Friends whom we met every day, who were involved in every nitty-gritty of our lives have just become mere contacts on our phones whom we send occasional WhatsApp messages.
However, spending one evening with our best friends actually, make us realise why we need them. An evening full of heartfelt laughter and careless oblivion is enough to make us take a walk down the memory lane. We handle stress better when we know we have our friends around to share it with. The world is a better place when we know we’re not alone and our friends make it easy for us!
The researchers, however, maintained that it is essential to keep our circle small and intimate. We need to distinguish between acquaintances, friends and close friends, the ones who actually help us in bettering our lives.
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The research was conducted under Dr. Dunbar who stated that “Bonds can be formed through a range of activities from team sports to male banter—or simply having a pint with your pals on a Friday night,” Dunbar continued. “However, the key to maintaining strong friendships is to meet up twice a week and do stuff with the four people closest to you.”
So next time you think about cancelling your plans with your friends, think twice. Not only will you be at the risk of losing your precious bonds but you will also be giving up the opportunity of being a little bit happier and healthier.