If you’re one of those people who wants to live forever, or at least as close to forever as possible, then you need to get some awesome friends. Not just friends who are awesome to you, but friends who basically think you’re the best thing coming down the street; friend who think you’re awesome to them, too. It’s the friends who think highly of us who, in a roundabout way, make us live longer, so says science.
Researchers have found that when it comes to lifespan, it’s more about personality traits and how our friends view those traits, than whether or not we’re the smartest or richest in the bunch. A 75-year-long research found that the friends’ views of the participants, in that very, very long study, were the things that were heavy hitters when it came to longevity.
It was men whose friends regarded them as conscientious and open who lived longest, and women whose friends said they were agreeable and emotionally stable who were likely to have longer lives, although this theory worked best for men. I know it’s weird, but science, man.
In psychology there’s something called the Big Five personality traits that are the “broad domains and dimensions” under which aspects of the human personality fall. Those five are neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness.
Although being neurotic is probably likely to do more damage than good, it’s the other personality qualities that, if visible to those we love and care about, will lead to longer lives. We may not regard ourselves as agreeable or conscientious, but if our friends say we are then, well, we are, and we will reap the benefits from being so.
Takeaway? Surrounding ourselves with people who love and care about us is great all around. We not only feel less alone and supported, but it’s those people who think we’re great and can see all the wonderful things in us who help us live longer and happier lives. Close friends can see in us some of the things we can’t see ourselves and because of that we’re forced to acknowledge both our good and bad points.
While our bad points may not contribute to increased lifespans, it’s those good points that will bring us into our 80s and 90s, if we let the good stuff outweigh the bad. Basically, what it comes down to is being a positive person is the ticket to reaching a ripe old age, if that’s your thing.