I want to start out by saying something you might be surprised to hear from a running website - if you absolutely hate running, it might not be the best option for exercise for you. That's definitely not to say that I don't think you should give it a chance because you totally should! You should dedicate a solid month to trying to commit to a regular running routine, either on your own or with friends. The worst part about running that tends to deter most new runners is how painful and hard it can be at first. That is why I'm suggesting you give it a solid few weeks for your body to get adjusted to having to expend as much energy as is required when you run, for your muscles to get used to working this way, and to see if you actually enjoy it (or at least the 'runner's high' and potential weight loss!) However, there are so many other ways to move your body that if after a solid month of getting after it, you STILL don't like it, try a different cardiovascular exercise. The most important thing is that you stay active.
Aside from weight loss and stronger bones, running can help tone muscles. You don't JUST have to hit the gym for strength training. Running is a weight bearing exercise, which means that you will employ a lot of muscles when you run. Furthermore, running is basically a full-body workout. Your lower body is obviously engaged the whole time, but you have to have a strong core to keep your body upright and to maintain good posture, and your arms pumping down by your side need to be strong and be able to stay engaged throughout your run.
Running also offers a ton of mental health benefits. It has been linked to helping reverse depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders because it helps balance serotonin levels in the brain. If you are a generally nervous, anxious, or worried person, running can be the perfect physical outlet that you need to help keep your stress at bay. If you are struggling with dealing with stress in a healthy way, but often come home after a long day (or even wake up and start your day) feeling strung out, extremely stressed, and unable to sleep, running can help calm your nerves and has been proven to tremendously help people who aren't sleeping well.
Running can also connect you to a wonderful community of people. Maybe you've already sensed this with your friends asking you to join them, but the running community is full of avid runners and novice runners alike, who really just enjoy each other's company and challenging one another to improve. You might meet your life-long best friend or soul mate through running!