Are Your Friends Health Heroes or Holding You Back? Here’s How to Find Out

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If you're the adult equivalent of a C+ gym student, you might need a buddy to foster a certain level of accountability and camaraderie. Mutual positive influence soon develops to quell panic that erupts when somebody starts slacking. Look we shouldn't be responsible for our friends, but do you ever wonder if certain friendships distract you from your wellness journey? Well, there's a really easy way to find out. The Tribe Checklist from Blue Zones analyzes the behaviors of you and the "three people with whom you socialize most."

The idea is that—and not to sound like your mom—you are who you hang out with. Blue Zones encourages you to determine who among your friend group is a positive influence. And yes, positive role models are very much still an important part of healthy adulthood. Consider how those who smoke are twice as likely to hang out with other smokers. Okay, now I do sound like your mom.

According to a 2017 study surveying the lives of more than 280,000 people across nearly 100 countries, quality friendships are the key to long life. Those who didn't place that emphasis on healthy friendships tended to suffer from chronic health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, lung disease, and mental health issues. It's simple: Friendships with a positive influence help you live longer.

Yeah, good friendships are supposed to lift you up, but if the numbers for your support squad are less than admirable, it's okay. Blue Zones encourage you to look for role models outside of your community if someone in the squad isn't a good, uh, influencer. It doesn't necessarily take into account whether you are part of another positive community (my 9-to-5 work family definitely fits the bill).

Don't get me wrong. Your fun yet irresponsible friends are still worth spending time with. It's just helpful to modulate their influence on you. Sometimes you simply have to go to the gym solo. It's all about balance, isn't it?

Book that Girls Trip now, because traveling with friends promotes health and happiness! And Aristotle said there's three type of friends, but only one adds positively to your life.

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