The reasoning? Friendships extend our life expectancy, cut down the risk of heart disease and even help us tolerate pain. Plus, spending time with our mates increases the amount of oxytocin (aka, the feel-good hormone) our bodies produce.
“Social connections like these not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet and not smoking,” Harvard researchers explain.
On the other hand, previous studies have proven that those without close gal pals are more likely to experience depression, cognitive decline and have a shorter lifespan.
In one particular paper (which looked at data from 309,000 people), a lack of strong social connections increased the risk of premature death by up to 50 per cent.
“Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer," the researchers add.