My husband and I feel very blessed that we have such an amazing group of friends. We all look out for each other, support each other, and make each other feel better. No one is perfect, that is for certain, but I would say that our core group of friends contribute to a major reason for our happiness.
When I was in middle school, I remember being so miserable that I didn't have that support group to count on. I felt very much alone. I see my girls maneuvering through various positive relationships and numerous negative ones as well. They are both lucky to have people they can count on, but they face many conflicts in addition. It kills me when they come home upset or frustrated over how they have been poorly treated by their supposed friends. As a parent, you want to help intervene, but it's also important that they learn to navigate on their own.
My husband and I encourage the girls to spend time with friends that make them feel good, support them, and push them in positive directions. I always worry about peer pressure, and my girls being influenced to do bad things that could be harmful. We always say there are so many evildoers... Both girls thankfully are choosing their friends wisely. They don't look for quantity, they look for quality instead. I admire them for it.
Social connections are so important for our well-being. I just watched a terrific TED Talk The hidden influence of social networks
It is a wonderful explanation of the importance of social connections and how they effect us. It is quite remarkable what an impact we make on others, and how others influence us. I personally try to make plans a few nights a week to meet friends. They make me happy, and I hope that I do the same for them. I have to go now and call my BFFS...you should too.