Some people value their relationships greatly, while others view them as an optional part of life. Relationships are important, and we often forget just how important they can be. We often don’t realize this fact until we find ourselves in a tough situation with no one to rely upon. People need other people.

It’s true that this need varies from person to person. A hardcore introvert might get along just fine with a couple of good friends. A sociable extrovert needs significantly more interaction with others to be healthy and happy. It’s up to you to decide the level of contact you require with others.

How important are your relationships? Consider these ideas:

1. Companionship. It’s not a lot of fun to spend every minute alone. Some things are better experienced with another person. It’s nice to have someone to share dinner or watch a movie with. We all need someone to talk to. Humans are social creatures that need a certain level of companionship to thrive.

  • Do you have the necessary relationships in your life to satisfy your need for companionship? Whom would you turn to if you wanted to spend time with someone?

2. Support, safety, and security. Our friends are there to help us when our car breaks down or we need a ride to the airport. They can serve as cover from the bullies of the world and provide emotional support and advice. Relationships prevent us from having to take on the world alone.

  • Whom would you call if you needed help? Who has your back?

3. Procreation. Of course, relationships keep the species going and provide an environment in which a baby can survive and thrive.

4. Self-awareness. Relationships allow us to learn more about ourselves. We learn what we need from others, and what we’re able to give. The people we choose to surround ourselves with tell us something about ourselves.

  • Think about your last three romantic relationships. What did you learn from those relationships about yourself?

5. Growth. We can learn from others. A person in your life might be a great example of courage. Another might provide the perfect example of what not to do in a break-up. Everyone can teach you something. You can learn a lot from the people in your life.

  • What have you learned from your three closest friends? What do you think they’ve learned from you?

6. Help. There are some things that can’t be done alone. You might need help lifting something heavy. There are things in this world that require more than one set of hands or more than one brain. Or maybe you need to change the oil in your car and don’t have a clue how to do it. One of your friends has done it 100 times.

  • When were you last faced with a task that you couldn’t do yourself? Who helped you?

7. A network. Your network of relationships contains a lot of power. It can help to find employment, find the best Italian restaurant in town, or get you invited to the best parties. A network provides all the advantages of a single relationship, but on steroids.

  • Describe your network of friends and other contacts. How would it impact your life if your network was twice as big? How do you use your network to your advantage? How could you be taking advantage of it?

Think about what you get from your relationships. How important are they to you? How many friends do you need to feel safe, secure, and happy? Everyone’s needs are different. Just be sure to give your relationships the attention they deserve so you can be happy and healthy.