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The Importance Of Female Friendships, Among Women

 

“I love my husband, but it is nothing like a conversation with a woman that understands you. I grow so much from those conversations.” – Beyonce

"Friendship between women is different than friendship between men. ... It’s my women friends that keep starch in my spine and without them, I don’t know where I would be." — Jane Fonda

 

We thought it would be a good idea to finish Women's History Month with a fun yet important topic: The Importance of Female Friendship.

I’m convinced that friendship among women is different than friendship among men. When I hear my husband talk to his friends, the conversation is short, to the point, and not very detailed. It’s the same brief exchange that I’ve noticed with my brother and his friends; my male cousins and their friends; and my male friends and their friends. Many guys have a hard time opening up to us females, but it’s easy for them to not "talk" to their male friends about personal things, such as their feelings.

They are missing out. Study after study shows that strong, deep friendships have a positive impact on our physical and psychological health. Through these friendships, we find the support and encouragement to deal with problems and worries.

One study from Flinder's University found that women respond to stress differently than men. When people experience stress, the fight-or-flight response is activated, releasing hormones such as cortisol and oxytocin. But for women, oxytocin calms the fight-or-flight response and pushes them to protect and take care of others. It also draws them closer to their female friends for comfort. When men are stressed, they release high levels of testosterone, which reduce the calming effects of oxytocin.

Another study conducted by UCLA researchers found that women with breast cancer who didn’t have any close friends were four times more likely to die from the illness than were women with 10 or more friends. The more closeness and contact the woman had with her friends, the better her chances were of surviving.

I am very grateful for all of my friends, but I am especially grateful to my closest friends. You know the ones … the trusted close friends. They have no agenda. They listen and give advice only when asked and based solely on what's best for you, not what would make them happiest.

That's the bond I am talking about — the bond that can contribute to your good health and mental wellness. And those are the friends that need to be reminded how awesome and appreciated they are, and how much they have enriched your life. Do tell them. Every chance you get.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo—what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey