Friendships are important in work and life. One of the top indicators if someone is engaged at work is if they believe that they have a best friend at work.
Gallop research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job. For example, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%).
Biologically, our ability to develop and maintain social connections is directly related to our large human brain. The current science theory is that our larger brains are primarily a social versus ecological adaptation. It wasn’t because we happened to have a bigger brain for say, hunting, that we pursued complex social relationships, but rather that these relationships were critical for the evolutionary development of neocortical capacity. Friends made us smarter and gave us more potential.
Another advantages to friendship is the diversity they create. If you are being attacked by a saber-toothed tiger, it would be nice to be able to rely on more than one individual for help. And, perhaps more importantly, your chances of thwarting the tiger are increased if you are part of a tribe that includes people with different skill sets. Someone who understands tiger behavior, someone who can kill it, and someone who can treat any resulting wounds could be helpful. Furthermore, being part of this diverse group means that when the environment changes, someone can likely adapt and lead the way for everyone else.
In a modern context, having diversity in our relationships has multiple applications. For one, it doesn’t make much sense to put all your emotional eggs in one basket. Committed romantic partners are wonderful, but if they die the last thing you want to be is alone. Your survival is quite literally dependent on having close friends who can support you through the hard times. And having friends with different specialties, interests, strengths and weaknesses can help us test out ideas and develop our character by giving us a safe space to experiment.
There is research that shows correlations between friendship and heathier hearts, how quickly we heal, and longevity.
Friendship may actually be a key component of success. Without friends we become isolated and vulnerable to loneliness, pain, and poor health. With them we live longer, with more laughter and less fear, and a higher quality of life. Doesn’t that sound like something worth some effort?
Contact one of your friends now and enjoy each other’s good health and success.
Mann, Annamarie. Why We Need Best Friends at Work. WORKPLACE. January 15, 2018. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236213/why-need-best-friends-work.aspx
The Evolutionary Benefit of Friendship. Human Nature. Farnam Street. https://fs.blog/2019/09/evolutionary-benefit-friendship/