Friends Can Raise Your Blood Pressure

We all look to our friends in time of stress, but a new study shows that some friends may to creating stress in our lives.


Research, recently performed by psychologists at Brigham Young University indicates that "ambivalent" friends affect our blood pressure. Ambivalent friends, which I sometime call mean friends, are those people we are involved with, who we care about, but who are unpredictable. When you seek their support you are not certain whether they will offer support or indifference, understanding or criticism.

The study illustrated that being in the presence of friends who are critical, unpredictable or unreliable tended to elevate study participants' heart rate and generally put them "on edge." When it came to sharing negative news with these "mean" friends, participants experienced a rise in blood pressure.

While the long term health impact of the emotional jolts to the cardiovascular system is unknown, researchers speculate that having many ambivalent friendships could take a physical toll. I certainly think it takes an psychological toll.

My non-ambivalent friend DearSugar wants you to know how you feel about toxic friendships.

Fit's tip: Know your friends and know who to go to when you need support. It is better for your heart as well as your mind.

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