Having a physical presence and a voice that agrees with you and helps you stand your ground is not only great but peaceful. Laughing together, crying or even cursing others seems to be fun and relaxing when friends are around because, at the end of the day, it is your friends who get you, literally.
The relaxing presence of friends during grief
Besides all the outwardly encouragements and assurances, friends do more than just offer their presence in hard times. According to a study by UCLA, a group of women were shown pictures or videos showcasing negative situations like a couple fighting or going through a difficult time. And it undoubtedly made the participants feel bad. They were further given destressing lessons or thoughts on how to look at the positive side of every situation. Additionally, a recording of their friends (who were also participating) relaying positive and comforting talks was played and most of the participants reported having felt good only after they heard someone known comforting them.
This exercise leads to the belief that friends, particularly have the power to alleviate stress. When other people actively help us to think about matters the other way, we feel comfortable and validated. As humans, we hate isolation and the feeling of being lonely, more than ever. When someone contributes to being a part of our chaotic thoughts and voluntarily offers support, we feel less lonely, especially if friends engage in our problems, offering valuable insights, solutions or just their presence.
Researchers have emphasised the importance of friends regulating our emotions than us doing it ourselves. Many times, we fail to understand what exactly is going on in our minds, but at that moment, our friends step in to give us a better understanding and direction of that matter. However, sometimes, even friends can end up confusing or hurting us because they have a mixed sense of opinion that doesn’t go by our views or ethics. Navigating through such thin waters is difficult but achievable and the trick to do this is by believing that every situation is different and that everyone has a different reaction to it. Friends shouldn’t lose their stature in your lives in the event of one callous mistake, but understanding their emotions is also the key.
Remember, emotional regulation isn’t just a solo thing, it’s social.
Support through words and actions is indeed vital for human interaction and well-being. It’s difficult to ask for support always, but true friends stick by you and know exactly when to show their support to you. They are persistent but true to you, and so, having friends by your side during difficult times is the one helpful thing you can do to yourself.