You love your friends (most of the time) just for who they are. They offer support and a shoulder to cry on when things are tough, and a rousing cheer when things are going right. But they may also be helping you--and your health--in more subtle ways.

A growing body of research suggests that having friends and staying rooted in the social fabric of your community can be good for your mind and your body.

Here are four good reasons to pick up the phone and plan a get-together this weekend.