The Importance of Female Friendships

As if we didn’t already know how incredible it feels to be with our girlfriends, a recent study out of Stanford explained just how “healthy” these female friendships are.

I was sent an article and have tried to track down the source, since you know how important providing accurate information is on this blog. I was unable to track down the exact source, but after much research on this topic, it appears that the results of this study are in fact accurate.

My girlfriends are my oxygen tanks – not a word of a lie. Girlfriends can fill a void in us that no other relationship can fill- not our spouses, not our children, nor our co-workers. If you’re lucky enough to find one great friend, or a few friends who are TRUE friends, you are one lucky lady.

My girls trip to New York City

I feel so lucky to have never befriended those catty, mean friends. You know, the “bitches?” I can honestly say I’ve never allowed toxic friends into my nest. My girlfriends are people whom I could call at 2 am desperate, naked, no money, lost, sick, whatever, and they would be there in a moment. I know I would be there for them. I feel grateful for my wonderful friendships, and apparently it’s making me healthy.

Here is the research:

In an evening class at Stanford, the last lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences.

Physically, this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings, whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising,” we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged—not true.

In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky.

Let’s toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it’s very good for our health!

Amen to friendships.

Do you make time for your girlfriends or is it a struggle to keep and maintain your female friendships? Do you make your friends a priority? We’d love to know!

xoxEDxox

14 Comments
  1. This is great Erica. Good reminder that we are not wasting time with our girlfriends! 🙂

    One thing — Stanford is misspelled in the first part of your post.

    Ciao!

  2. The research is correct but it is not the head of psychiatry at Stanford – it is David Spiegel, another researcher there who does a lot of work in the female support groups area. I actually called the department at Stanford wondering the same thing you did.

    http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2007/july/spiegel.html

    However, the positive psychology movement came out with information years ago showing that people with five or more close friends are happier.

    Go girlfriends! Thanks for this post. I have a very strong network of stable, awesome girlfriends and
    agree whole heartedly with your post on a personal and research level!

  3. I don’t think time with our friends is ever a waste. We often get caught up in have to make it a useful reason to just be with your friends. Any time with them is good, keeps them close. We need that, for a great many reasons. I have recently been reading Women I Want to Grow Old With, written by 2 ladies who remind us that we need to work at our friendships to keep them close as we never know when we might really need them. I have enjoyed it and it has been very insightful. If anyone wants to check it out I got it at womeniwanttogrowoldwith.com. Thanks so much for this post, I really enjoyed it!

  4. Why do all articles that mention men assume they never talk about thier personal lives or relationships. Isn’t it a little seixst to assume Everyman likes football or golf or fishing? I wonder how this article would be approached If a man wrote how all women like shopping, cleaning and cooking?

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