Most parents dropping kids off at college tell their progeny to study hard, limit partying, and wear flip-flops in the shower. Few, we bet, offer this nugget of wisdom: Make as many friends as you can. What many parents don’t know is that the quantity of social interactions at age 20 and the quality of relationships at age 30 may benefit their well-being much later, at age 50 and possibly beyond. So says a new study that was conducted over the course of 30 years. It turns out that frequent social interactions during one’s college years help twentysomethings learn how to meet and mingle with people from diverse backgrounds and, subsequently, to figure out who they are. By age 30, quality trounces quantity, with intimate and satisfying relationships as predictors of future well-being. Even for those whose college years are well behind them (cough, cough), strong friendships and family ties are as important to longevity as exercising, maintaining your weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol. So open up your social calendar and start filling it up!
"A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be." Douglas Pagels