Friends v/s Family: Who Are Better For Us?

Friends or Family: friendships play a vital role for health and happiness than relationships with family members.

Friends v/s Family: Who Are Better For Us?
Image Credit: MSU

Friends v/s family:

This differentiation may surprise you at first. Maybe there is no question to your opinion, in terms of how family and friends fall into rank. Although there is no comparison. This is the battle of two social institutions. Both are equally influencing and important.

But according to the new study, friends are mainly important to us if in comparison of friends v/s family.

Scientists at the Michigan State University scholar conducted a survey with 280,000 people and found that friendships become increasingly important to one’s happiness and health across the lifespan. Even, in the case of older adults, friendships play a vital role for health and happiness than relationships with family members.

Scientists actually conducted two studies. During the first study, they analyzed survey information about relationships and self-rated health and happiness from 271,053 participants of all ages from nearly 100 countries. They found that both family and friend relationships were linked to better health and happiness overall. But, only friendships became a stronger predictor of health and happiness at advanced ages.

During the second study, they looked at data from a separate survey about relationship support/strain and chronic illness from 7,481 older adults in the United States. They found that friendships were very influential. When friends were the source of strain, participants reported more chronic illnesses. And when friends were the source of support, participants were happier.

Chopik, assistant professor of psychology said, “Friendships become even more important as we age. Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being. So it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.”

“The optional nature of relationships that over time, we keep the friends we like and make us feel good and discard the rest. Friends also can provide a source of support for people who don’t have spouses or for those who don’t lean on the family in times of need. Friends can also help prevent loneliness in older adults who may experience bereavement and often rediscover their social lives after they retire.”

In terms of friends v/s family, family relationships are also enjoyable. But sometimes they involve serious, negative and monotonous interactions. Similarly, friendships often take a strange back seat in relationships while considering that they might be more influential for happiness and health.

Chopik said, “Friendships help us stave off loneliness but are often harder to maintain across the lifespan. If a friendship has survived the test of time, you know it must be a good one. A person you turn to for help and advice often and a person you wanted in your life.”