The presumed benefits of friendship have been the focus of many self-help books and the authors have suggested that healthy friendships are a key metric to measure happiness; boost your physical and mental health; and, they may even extend your life.
A group of researchers from the University of Oxford decided to test the value of friendships, and their research has yielded some interesting results:
- The research suggests that people with a large circle of friends have a higher pain tolerance.
- The social interactions you have with your friends triggers the release of endorphins that are conducive to positive emotions.
- Endorphins generate a strong pain-killing effect that’s stronger than morphine.
Which is of more value: Facebook posts or face-to-face interactions? Katerina Johnson, co-author of the study, has said: “In this digital era, deficiencies in our social interactions may be one of the overlooked factors contributing to the declining health of our modern society.”
Even though, he didn’t make his conclusion based on a questionnaire, Solomon knew the value of a good friend:
- Proverbs 17:17: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
- Proverbs 27:17: In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.
I’m not sure who Aristotle had in mind when he said, “The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.” I do, however, know that his words remind me of something Jesus said:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:12-15).”