Dear Friends, You’re Like Family

Rachel Steinman
24 min readMar 23, 2021

What a Group Chat Taught Me about the Importance of Friendship on Our Health and Happiness

My Girlfriends and Me (snake print shirt) at Pinz Bowling Alley, Studio City, December 2019

Are you ready for some really great news? Getting together with a friend is not only fun, but it’s also great for your health and happiness.

We all know how important our Dear Family is but our friends might prove to be even more important, especially as we age. Research published in the journal Personal Relationships studied more than 270,000 people in nearly 100 countries and found both family and friend relationships were associated with better health and happiness. The benefits remained over a lifetime for people who reported strong friendships. This means our friendships are more predictive of our day-to-day happiness and ultimately how long we’ll live, even more so than spousal and family relationships.

Let’s break that down.

  • Friendship is good for you.
  • You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.
  • When your friends are a source of support, you are happier and healthier.
  • When you are happier and healthier you live longer.
  • To have a friend be a friend.
  • Friendship makes life worth celebrating.
Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

Over a year ago, beginning of March 2020 to be exact, some of my oldest friends and I started a “Pandemic Group Chat” as a means of support during such an anxiety-producing time. I never could have imagined how it would become a lifeline, proving my closest friendships to be even more important than I had ever imagined.

Wanting to see if my girlfriends felt as I did, I was thrilled when seven out of ten of them were able to hop on a Zoom and let me ask questions about our friendship with a day's notice. Yes there were husbands and kids coming in and out of our rooms and dogs were barking and texts and emails were dinging and phones were ringing and dinner needed to be made…but it didn’t stop us from making time for each other and feeling all the feels. When…

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Rachel Steinman

Host of “Dear Family,” the Podcast, Writer, Educator, and Mental Health Advocate https://writenowrachel.com/