Humans are herd animals. We like to hang out together, share our experiences and talk through our decisions. Spending time with others can enrich how we view the world, build our confidence, provide emotional support, and can just be plain fun!
Yes, there are certainly lots of individual differences in how much time we like to be with others. But, overall, if we become socially isolated and feel lonely, it has a detrimental impact on our mental health.
The importance to us of enjoying positive relationship is acknowledged by Positive Psychology, where constructive relationships is one of the six elements that support a happy, flourishing life. These six elements, represented by the letters PERMAH (Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health) are taught around the world to help people lead satisfying meaningful lives.
The six attributes that support a flourishing life don’t just happen by themselves. The integration of them into the way we live can take effort and an ongoing commitment until they become second nature to us to cultivate them on a daily basis.
This is certainly true of friendships. Friendships, indeed any positive relationships at work or outside of it, take time and effort to cultivate. If, in the busyness of life, we continually ignore others or give them minimal attention, don’t make time for positive interactions, and keep to ourselves, then it’s much less likely we will experience positive relationships. On the other hand if we take a moment to greet others, check in with them, share something of ourselves and listen empathetically we are creating the foundations of a strong supportive network.