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Friendships and close relationships with others are essential for long-term health and well-being. This fact has been proven in multiple scientific studies. Need more convincing? Or perhaps you’re looking for inspiration to make building and strengthening friendships as an adult a priority in your already busy life? As with so many other pressing issues, we turned to TED Talks to see what help they can give on the subject. So, what are the best TED Talks about friendship between adults? Here’s our top 10 list of the most inspiring TED Talks about the vital importance for our health and wellbeing of making friends, maintaining friendships and establishing lasting platonic relationships as adults.

what are the best TED Talks about adult friendships, health and wellness?

Where do we go to learn about the power of friendship? Our friendships are among the most prominent relationships of our lives, and yet we almost never discuss their significance. We rarely talk about how to make friends – let alone how to keep them – and we talk even less about the extraordinary influence our friendships can have over the rest of our lives. There’s no “friendship” class in school, and especially as we age, these precious platonic relationships can sometimes take a backseat to other obligations.

What are the most inspiring TED Talks about friendships and platonic relationships between adults?

What are the most inspiring TED Talks about friendships and platonic relationships between adults?

But no longer. In the wake of the pandemic, and the loneliness and isolation that have ensued, we think it’s time to finally pay our friendships their proper due. And since we can’t send everyone to friendship school, we’re doing the next best thing: we’re sending you to Ted Talk.

As you already know, Ted Talk is one of the best places on the internet to learn something – whether that something is science, literature, or psychology. And today, we are turning to their expert videos to learn about relationship. These ten Ted Talks are here to teach us about the power of friendship: how it affects our lives, how it changes our brains, and how we can continue to do it well, even when life gets in the way. Watch these videos today, and then spend some time thinking about your friends – how much they matter, and how you can show them that they do.

the 10 best TED Talks about friendships and platonic relationships between adults

1. How Friendship Affects the Brain

At the top of our list of the most inspiring TED Talks about the health and wellness benefits of platonic relationships for adults is one based on science. If you’re interested in learning more about how our friendships impact our lives, you should start with this Ted Talk from educator Shannon Odell. Odell dives into the science of friendship – in particular, the way friendships can literally alter our brains as they develop. If you’ve ever felt connected to another person, Odell is here to explain the science of how and why that happens. We love to back up our beliefs with scientific evidence, and now we know that our early adolescent friendships really did change us forever – for the better.

2. Measuring what makes life worthwhile

Strong relationships make our lives stronger. And it isn’t only our friendships, but all of our connections to other people. In this video, hotel manager Chip Conley talks about the significance of these relationships, and how they can be good for business as well as for our sense of fulfillment. And guess what? Your friendships are some of the most important relationships in your lives.

3. What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

You may have heard about the decades-long project, the Harvard Study of Adult Development. In this study, the lives of 725 men were observed for 75 years, tracking for health, happiness, and success. And the study’s conclusion? Relationships – not money, and not fame – are the secret to health, happiness, and longevity. Though this conclusion applies to romantic and familial relationships as well as friendships, it goes to show that we should not overlook a single loved one; they matter, and they are what will keep us here. Watch Robert Waldinger to learn more.

4. The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life

On average, women tend to live longer lives than their male counterparts. You may have already known this fact. But what you may not have known, is that there’s one place in the world where that’s not true: Sardinia, Italy. In this video from psychologist Susan Pinker, you’ll learn a little bit about the potential reason behind Sardinia’s long lifespans – and you may already have a guess as to what that reason is. This video is your chance to dig deeper into the power of community, connectivity, and relationship – and to think about how you can make some adjustments in your own life.

5. The hidden influence of social networks

And if for some reason we haven’t convinced you that our relationships are the most important aspects of our lives, check out this transformative video from social scientist Nicholas Christakis. It turns out we all have a much more profound impact on one another that we could possibly imagine, and Christakis is here to show us how. And why it matters.

Top TED Talks about the power and importance of adult friendships.

6. The secret to making new friends as an adult

We’ve been talking a lot about relationships in general, but what about friendships? Well, in this excellent video, friendship expert Marisa G. Franco talks all about the significance of our friendships, specifically – and how these relationships might be the antidote to the loneliness so many of us are experiencing. It’s like she read our minds. And if you are someone who has struggled to make friends as an adult, she also offers some helpful advice. Her number one tip? Assume that everyone you meet will like you – it makes more of a difference than you may think. Watch the video for more expert advice.

7. What Makes a Friendship Last?

Making friendships is one thing, and keeping them is another. In this short and entertaining Ted Talk from journalist Mona Chalabi, you’ll learn what it takes to sustain your friendships – in spite of the many obstacles of adult life. And what does it take? Quality time. It turns out, the way someone moves from acquaintance to casual friend to close friend is all due to the number of hours spent together. But if that scares you, it shouldn’t – Chalabi has an optimistic conclusion to make. Watch the video to hear what it is.

8. How compassion could save your strained relationships

We’ve all had relationships that come to an end because of ideological differences. And whether those differences are with our friends or with our family members, those moments of divide can be excruciatingly painful. In this moving video, actor and director Betty Hart makes a case for “compassion culture”; for maintaining relationship with someone even after we’ve discovered something that could break us apart. She offers pertinent words of wisdom that we would all do well to remember the next time we find ourselves in conflict with someone we love.

Inspiring TED Talks about friendships between adults.

The most inspiring TED Talks about friendships between adults and how vital they are for health and wellbeing.

9. The profound power of gratitude and “living eulogies”

We love our friends, but we don’t always get to tell them how much. In this beautiful video from Andrea Driessen, you’ll learn about a living eulogy – in Driessen’s case, a letter of love that she gave to her father before his death. If you have friends who mean a lot to you, it is a good idea for you to find a way to tell them how much they matter; if all of us can know how loved we are while we’re alive, we’re destined to feel happier and more at peace with our place in the world.

10. A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship

And finally, to wrap up our top 10 list of the most inspiring TED Talks about the health impact of platonic relationships between adults, who better to teach us about friendship than Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin? These iconic actresses have a legendary friendship that transcends Hollywood, and they share a little about it here. Perfect viewing for fans of Grace and Frankie, and perfect for all of us. Our female friendships are what make our lives complete, and Fonda and Tomlin are here to tell you why.

best TED Talks about the health impact of platonic relationships between adults

Those are our picks for the top 10 most inspiring TED Talks about the vital importance for our health and wellness of new friends, strong friendships and longtime platonic relationships between adults. What’s your favorite, dear reader?

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.