A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature Ralph Waldo Emerson
Years ago I read a book about St. Augustine titled, "Christians in the World," by T.J. Van Bavel, O.S.A., and I learned from that book how much St. Augustine prized friendship. In "Confessions," he wrote that he could not possibly be happy without friends. He also wrote, "In this world, two things are essential: life and friendship. Both should be highly prized and we must not undervalue them. Life and friendship are nature's gifts. God created us so that we might exist and live: this is life. But if we are not to remain solitary, there must be friendship." And this beautiful quote which seems so timely for today, "What can bring greater consolation to us in the human community, full of error and anxiety, than the unreserved trust and mutual affection of good and faithful friends."
Lastly, researchers who conducted a 10-year study in Australia found that people tend to live longer if they have a group of close friends. Strong social networks are important in life for happiness and well being. A circle of close friends is good for us, as St. Augustine realized in his time.