Not having friends is worse for your health than being fat. Researchers at Brigham Young University found that people with close friends have less stress, lower blood pressure and are less likely to suffer from depression. And people with strong social relationships are 50-percent less likely to die early than people without a tight social circle. 

The researchers and psychologists analyzed nearly 150 studies involving over 300,000 people. The result: Not having friends or family is twice as harmful as obesity. And has the same negative impact on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, being an alcoholic or not getting any exercise. A lack of friendships also has a bigger impact on premature death than being overexposed to air pollution and not taking drugs for high blood pressure.
Unfortunately, we’re becoming more isolated than ever. People are getting married later and more people are moving far away from their families. And since people are living longer, they have more age-related disabilities. Assigning a caretaker doesn’t help improve people’s health because naturally-occurring friendships are different from the support you get from someone who’s been hired to hang out with you. 
So how can you make more friends and boost your health? 
  • First: Start at work. Most friendships are based on things you have in common. So if you see someone in the company cafeteria every day, you already have two things in common – your workplace and where you eat lunch.  

  • Also Google a long-lost friend. You may have fallen out of touch as your lives changed. But they might even be a better friend now that you’re both older and more mature. 

  • Finally: Do something new. Take a cooking class, take up tennis, or become a volunteer. And once you start seeing the same people on a regular basis, it won’t be as intimidating to say something like, “Hey, want to grab a cup of coffee?”