The Importance of Friendship

Friends can offer support during times of transition. Getty / Tang Ming Tung

If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD), you may find it difficult to make and keep friends. This issue may be so severe that you avoid friendships altogether. Although you may convince yourself that you don't need friends to get along, there are many good reasons to want to have friends.

Below are some of the arguments in support of friendship:

1. Encouragement and Support. Friends are especially important during times of crisis and turbulence.

If you find yourself going through a hard time, having a friend to help you through can make the transition easier.

2. Self-Esteem. Having friends you can rely on can help to boost your self-esteem. On the other hand, a lack of friends can leave you feeling lonely and without support, which makes you vulnerable for other problems such as depression and substance abuse. Having at least one person you can rely on will help to build your confidence.

3. Keeping You Active. If you spend a solitary life, it is much easier to be reticent about participating in regular activities such as sports, clubs, and hobbies. On the other hand, if you have at least one friend, you will be more likely to get out and start doing things. That friend may also suggest activities that you would not have considered on your own—thus, pushing you outside your comfort zone to challenge your anxiety.

4. Positive Influence. In addition to negative peer pressure, friends can also provide a positive influence.

If you make friends with people who are generous with their time, help others, ambitious, or family-oriented, you are more likely to develop those values yourself. Having positive relationships with these types of people will also improve your social functioning in general.


Reader's Digest. The Secrets of Male Friendships Accessed February 27, 2015.

Psychology Today. Psychology Today: Men and Their Closest Friends Accessed February 27, 2015

Pysch Central. Part III: Developing Satisfactory Peer Relationships Accessed February 27, 2015

American Psychological Association. Speaking of Psychology: The good and bad of peer pressure.Accessed February 27, 2015.

Developmental Psychology. Age Differences in Resistance to Peer Influence. Accessed February 27, 2015.

Mayo Clinic. Social support: Tap this tool to beat stress. Accessed February 27, 2015.

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