Benefits of Relationships

Research from the University of California, Berkley shows that healthy relationships can help you to:


  • Live longer. A review of 148 studies found that people with strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely. Similarly, Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones research calculates that committing to a life partner can add 3 years to life expectancy (Researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have found that men’s life expectancy benefits from marriage more than women’s do.)
  • Deal with stress. The support offered by a caring friend can provide a buffer against the effects of stress. In a study of over 100 people, researchers found that people who completed a stressful task experienced a faster recovery when they were reminded of people with whom they had strong relationships. (Those who were reminded of stressful relationships, on the other hand, experienced even more stress and higher blood pressure.)
  • Be healthier. According to research by psychologist Sheldon Cohen, college students who reported having strong relationships were half as likely to catch a common cold when exposed to the virus. In addition, 2012 international Gallup poll found that people who feel they have friends and family to count on are generally more satisfied with their personal health than people who feel isolated. And hanging out with healthy people increases your own likelihood of health—in their book Connected, Christakis and Fowler show that non-obese people are more likely to have non-obese friends because healthy habits spread through our social networks.
  • Feel richer. A survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research of 5,000 people found that doubling your group of friends has the same effect on your well-being as a 50% increase in income!

Steven Handel at the Emotion Machine adds more benefits:


Positive relationships encourage personal growth.

One benefit to positive relationships is that you encourage each other to grow and flourish. Friends like seeing friends succeed and achieve their goals. And most of the time, good friends are willing to help you in any way they can if it means seeing their buddy be happy and successful.

Positive relationships give you support during tough times.

Another huge benefit to positive relationships is that they provide support during tough times. We all have our bad moments, whether it is health-related, money-related, or something else. Thankfully, having a supportive social circle is one of the best ways to stay strong, persist forward, and get a little bit of help when we need it.

Positive relationships enable you to collaborate and work together.

The more we get along with someone, the better we are at collaborating and working together. Human relationships thrive when individuals can combine their skills and talents, and successfully create something greater than the sum of their parts.

Positive relationships create feelings of pleasure and joy.

One of the more obvious benefits of positive relationships is that they make life more enjoyable. Good friends, family, and co-workers make life an overall more pleasant experience – we enjoy spending time with these people and we often share positive moments with them on a frequent basis.

Positive relationships add more meaning to our life.

Having positive relationships in our life increases our sense of purpose and meaning. When we have a real, positive effect on someone else, we feel like we are making a significant difference in the world – and we are.

Positive relationships enrich our life story. They fulfil our need to belong in a community and they give us a stronger sense of identity. Without this sense of belonging, we can often feel isolated and disconnected with ourselves. But once we find our place in society, we become more comfortable in our own skin.

Positive relationships live on through other positive relationships.

The relationships we build have a much broader influence than just ourselves and our immediate social circle. They also influence people who we may never know exist. When you create a positive connection with someone else, that person is more motivated to make positive connections with other people. Our actions and relationships, therefore, are part of a much larger chain of events that are what influence society as a whole.

Positive relationships fulfill your most important need of all

The most important thing people need is love. We all need to love and be loved.

Working on your important relationships is a way of life that’s worth pursuing–because the quality of those relationships is the quality of your life.