Stay hydrated, eat well, and exercise often. These are the widely touted habits of a healthy lifestyle. But there is another essential element of wellness that rarely gets the air time it deserves: the health of our relationships. 

The Health Benefits of Friendship

For ancient humans, the development of strong relationships within groups and the ability to effectively communicate with others was key for survival. Modernly, studies show that developing strong relationships can lead to increased confidence and overall happier life. Yet the importance of fostering relationships is often left out of the wellness conversation altogether. What if the simplest “life hack” was to focus on the health benefits of friendship over isolating apps?

On an episode of Feel Better Live More, friendship expert Dhru Purohit, aptly explained why friendships are so important. And, why we need deep connections with others in order to truly thrive:

“The fundamental theme of how people navigate the world is the sense of tribe that they’re surrounded [by]. Friendships, connections, deep meaningful relationships, they impact every aspect of our life from our health to our happiness. Every area of our life is touched by friendships—but just like stress, because it’s not always obvious—it goes overlooked. Most people don’t realize that they have a friendship and disconnection problem.” 

Dhru Purohit

He followed that, due to social media and our daily lives, we constantly have people around us and we don’t live in isolation. Therefore, “most people don’t even recognize that there’s a challenge when it comes to deep meaningful, connected friendships in their life. The impact that it has on everything else that they care about.”

Is Over Optimizing Affecting the Health of our Relationships?

Unlike ancient times, in our modern world, whether or not we choose to spend quality time with our friends is completely optional. Despite a plethora of time-saving technology, (we can now complete household chores in a quarter of the time it took our grandparents), we often choose to prioritize efficiency over enjoyment or socialization:

  • Why go for a walk outside with a friend when you could get the same ‘workout’ in half the time on a treadmill?
  • Why take the time to schlup it all the way to a crowded yoga class when you could just stream the same class alone in your living room?  

While there are days when we do need to prioritize speed in our workout routine, it is arguable that living every day in the name of efficiency—over time—could leave behind a trail of missed opportunities…even when it comes to your career. 

“The bigger your goals and dreams are, the more you actually need deep meaningful friendships around you to support you in that process.”

Dhru Purohit 

So if we’re working out to better ourselves—and friendships account for a large part of our success—are the minutes saved by optimizing our workouts actually a missed opportunity to deepen our friendships and, in turn, our overall health, wealth, and happiness? 

As Purohit put it, “just because you’re surviving, doesn’t mean you’re thriving in your life.”