Friendships and Longevity

Shandra Martinez

| 2 min read

Disabled friends
Maintaining close, quality friendships has been shown to have a positive impact on longevity and life satisfaction. A review of nearly 150 studies showed a 50% increased likelihood of survival for participants with stronger relationships (PLOS Medicine 2010). Research from the Mayo Clinic shows people who have satisfying relationships with others are happier, better adjusted, experience fewer health problems and live longer. They also have a reduced risk of depression, high blood pressure or an unhealthy BMI. When it comes to friendships and well-being, it’s more about meaningful relationships rather than how many friends you have. Put another way, it’s more about quality than quantity. According to Anthropologist Robin Dunbar, human brains have a limit on how many meaningful relationships they can keep track of. Dunbar says most people can have up to:
  • 5 intimate bonds: Spouses and best friends.
  • 15 close friends: People you trust and spend time with regularly.
  • 50 friends: People you would invite to a personal event like a wedding or dinner.
  • 150 casual friends: People you would invite to a big party.
Meaningful friendships can:
  • Increase sense of belonging.
  • Keep one’s brain sharp.
  • Help manage and beat stress.
  • Get you through difficult times.
  • Boost longevity.
  • Improve one’s quality of life.
  • Improve self-confidence and self-worth.
Nurture and maintain meaningful friendships by being:
  • Kind
  • A good listener
  • Honest
  • Trusting
  • Available
  • Mindful
Learn more about improving your well-being for a thriving life in this Blue Cross® Virtual Well-Being webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and general interest webinars here, where you’ll find past sessions and resources. Related:
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