A best friend can bring great joy, comfort, solace and fun to your life. People are pack animals. They love to roam together. They need friends to thrive, friends that share the good times and offer support in the bad.
Great friendships extend life. A 10-year-long Australian study showed that participants with solid friend groups were 22% more likely to live longer.
Unfortunately, a bad friend can have the opposite effect, yielding increased vulnerability to all the stress-related body signs—higher blood pressure, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowered immunity, higher blood sugar, depression, anxiety; the list goes on. But how do you know if you’re in a friendship that’s affecting your health and killing your spirit? (In the following examples, “her” applies equally to “him” if your best friend is a guy.)