Friend zone: why we all long to belong | Emily Esfahani Smith

Relationships – especially close ones – are crucial, says Emily Esfahani Smith, which is why loneliness is so pernicious

We all need to feel understood, recognised and affirmed by our friends, family and romantic partners. We all need to find our tribe.

Research has shown that among the benefits that come with being in a relationship or group, a sense of belonging clocks in as the most important driver of meaning. When other people think you matter and treat you as if you matter, you believe you matter, too.

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