Taylor Swift‘s got the biggest girl posse in showbiz. But could having that many friends actually be bad for you? Recent research certainly suggest so…
According to a new survey by the University of Rochester, having loads of friendships can be good for you in your 20s, but as you get older, having fewer pals is better for your health.
‘This survey makes sense’, says psychologist Emma Kenny. ‘It’s good for us in our 20s to meet as wide a variety of people as possible, it helps wider our outlook, be more open with what we want to do in our lives and, of course, provides plenty of laughter. All of this leaves us feeling fulfilled which, in turn, leads to good health.’
The size of your squad can also affect your physical health. Researchers found that those who had few or no friends in their 20s had ‘an increased risk for early mortality,’ equivalent to the early mortality rates they saw in smokers. Eek!
However, once you hit your 30s, the study says it’s much better to have fewer close friendships rather than tonnes of ‘sort-of’ friends. This is because having a few ‘intimate and satisfying’ friendships makes a huge difference on wellbeing when you reach middle age.
‘This could be down to a number of reasons,’ says Emma. ‘Not only can our bodies not handle as well the unhealthy habits that tend to come with having a huge social circle in our 20s, but also the fact that many of the friends from our 20s may suddenly not be so good for us as we approach life’s big changes.’
Getting rid of any ‘toxic’ mates is also important as you reach your 30s, as spending time with those who make you feel stressed or lower your confidence can cause a surge in blood pressure.
And long term research has discovered that over time, those with negative friendships were at greater risk developing hearts problems than their counterparts.
Eek! So there are downsides to being BFFs with everyone in the world after all…
Read more in this week’s issue of LOOK, out now…