While it might seem second nature to allow a friend to confide in you – from relationship problems to work worries – doing so could also actually help them live longer.
A new study has found that being actively listened to by loved ones when you’re talking could help stave off conditions like dementia.
According to the research, published in the journal Jama Network Open, such social support can improve cognitive resilience.
This is someone’s ability to stay mentally well, even as they age – including having a good memory and finding it possible to juggle several tasks at once.
Having low cognitive resilience has, however, been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that affect brain function.
The former condition affects 850,000 people in the UK, and is one of the leading causes of death each year.