Friendships are vital to our health and well-being. Researchers at Michigan State University analyzed responses from over 270, 000 people in nearly 100 countries and concluded that as we age, friendships are more influential than family ties in their effect on our health and happiness. Other studies have found that our immune systems and longevity benefit from strong social ties. And yet we don’t have anything like a user manual for something so important—and fragile. Bonds forged over decades can This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 48 All the Besties How to make work friendships work. Arts & Culture Issue 47 The Friendship Paradox On the probability of popularity. Arts & Culture Issue 42 The Language of Home How weird words forge new friendships. Arts & Culture Issue 50 Close Knit Meet the weavers keeping traditional Egyptian tapestrymaking alive. Arts & Culture Issue 50 The Old Gays Inside a Californian TikTok “content house” of a very different stripe. Arts & Culture Issue 50 New Roots The Palestinian art and agriculture collective sowing seeds of community.