• Other Friendship Advice

Friendships that are truly HEART-FELT

Published: July 4, 2007 | Last Updated: December 19, 2014 By | Reply Continue Reading

If you need another excuse for getting out of a fractured friendship, here it is: Stressful friendships may be bad for your heart.

A new study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine (June 25, 2007) suggests that the stress of unpredictable love-hate relationships, characterized by ambivalence, can lead to elevations in blood pressure.

“The type of friend we are talking about is someone we may really love or care about,” said Brigham Young University psychology professor Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad in a press release. “However, they can also at times be unreliable, competitive, critical or frustrating. Most people have at least a few friends, family members or co-workers that fit the bill.”

In a previous study, the psychologist found that blood pressure is even higher around friends for whom we have mixed feelings than around people we clearly dislike. Holt-Lundstad and her collaborators at the University of Utah estimated that as many as half the relationships in an individual’s typical social network could be categorized as ambivalent.

So for reasons of the heart—-you might consider finding ways to spend more time with friends with whom you can relax, and making extra efforts to let go of toxic friends. “The important point is that cardiovascular disease develops slowly over time, taking decades to develop,” said Holt-lunstad. “If such blood pressure increases are a pervasive part of your everyday life, your risk would go up.”

“Most of the research out there has focused on the positive aspects of relationships and in fact indicates that social relationships are beneficial psychologically and physically,” Holt-Lunstad said. “However, not all relationships are positive and some relationships may actually be sources of stress.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Research on Friendship

Leave a Reply