A new study suggests active social connections may help you live a longer life.
Researchers looked at nearly 150 studies on human interaction and concluded that having friends, neighbors, family and co-workers increases our survival odds by at least half.
Social isolation was found to be as risky to your health as smoking, obesity, not exercising or being an alcoholic.
"Even feral dogs run in packs, I mean, people and animals like to be together," notes researcher Dr. Lolita McDavid.
Experts think fulfilling the basic need to be with others helps release endorphins in the brain, and that could partially account for the physical health benefits of having friends.
"Volunteering, being involved in a religious group and outreach to people, we know that those make people feel better," Dr. McDavid says.
This research didn't take into account the quality of relationships.
Researchers say the benefits may be even greater with closer friendships.