It's pretty safe to say that having a solid group of friends and family is pretty important to most people. Life isn't a popularity contest, but forging strong friendships and having supportive people by your side is super beneficial to a person's wellbeing. Whether you have one, two, 10, or 20 good friends, you still reap the same benefits from solid friendships. But there are more benefits to good friendships than meets the eye. In fact, having good friends leads to a better romantic life, even starting at a young age. A new study found that being able to forge strong, meaningful friendships in adolescent years tends to lead to more romantic fulfillment later in life.
The study, published in Child Development on Jan. 24, looked at 165 participants who were followed starting when they were 13, until they were 30 years old. According to the study,
Progress in key developmental tasks, including establishing positive expectations and capacity for assertiveness with peers at age 13, social competence at ages 15 and 16, and ability to form and maintain strong close friendships at ages 16–18, predicted romantic life satisfaction at ages 27–30.
Stay with me here. Basically, being social, making friends, and keeping those friends prepares you for a solid love life. It makes sense, when you think about it, as romantic relationships are essentially just really heightened, romantic friendships and partnerships.
Researchers from the University of Virginia and James Madison University banded together and discovered that "same-gender teenage friendships are something of a testing ground for future romantic partnerships," according to MindBodyGreen. Lead study author, Joseph P. Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, told the website that the interpersonal skills friendships teach us have a pretty huge impact. "It's the skills learned in friendships with peers of the same gender — skills such as stability, assertiveness, intimacy, and social competence — that correspond most closely to the skills needed for success in adult romantic relationships."
Perhaps it's because friendships teach us how to truly connect with others, or put someone else first. Whatever the case, it's clear that having strong friendships paves the way to be in happy and healthy relationships. The bond we get from friendships could, in fact, show us the kind of bond we need and deserve from a romantic relationship.
"As we continue to evolve in a digitally dependent world, we are looking for stronger bonds with our partners," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and clinician, tells Elite Daily. "Most of our interaction is very transactional in the dating life cycle. Want to find a date? You go to an app. Want to have sex? You go to an app. Don’t want to deal with that person? You simply ghost them. If that’s what we’re experiencing, where would you find a definition of romance? Your friendship bond is a place that you have defined a true ideal partner."
Friendships are crucial, and it's no secret that female friendships boast a lot more than just sleepovers and wine nights. Having friends is important, and as it turns out, could help you fall in love, too. So grab your besties, hug them tight, and tell them how much you appreciate them. They show you the kind of love you deserve. Don't seek anything less!