I’m sure you’ve heard the disparaging remarks about “spa day” or “girls’ night out” or “girls gone shopping” as if your girlfriend time were like a play date for your three-year-old. Since guys are not involved—and may even have to pitch in and look after the kids—girls’ activities are deemed “cute” or “silly” or “juvenile”. They can’t compete with the seriousness of “guys’ poker night” or “a night at the bar” or “going to see the fights”. After all, these are manly, bonding, and “kicking back” occasions.
In a study of the link between stress and relationships, it has been discovered that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman. However, for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health is to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.
Why is this? It’s obvious when you think about it. Women connect with each other in ways different from how guys make connections with other guys. Women provide support systems. They help each other to cope in times of high stress, loss, grief, and other difficult life experiences.
Hubert Humphrey once said, “The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”
How often have you heard, “I’d never have survived my husband’s death if my friend Gloria hadn’t been there.”
Or “My friend Laura was my tower of strength when I was going through my divorce.”
Or “If it hadn’t been for my girlfriends I don’t know how I would have coped with raising children.”
As James Fennimore Cooper put it: Friendship that flows from the heart cannot be frozen by adversity, as the water that flows from the spring cannot congeal in winter.
Girlfriend time is not just an emotional support. Physically, quality “girlfriend time” helps us create more serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression. It can create a general feeling of well-being and serenity and strength.
Women differ in their relationships with other women in that they share feelings. Men often form relationships around activities. As Megan McCafferty notes in her scandalously funny book: Sloppy Firsts
“Girls will get together just to get together. Guys need an activity as an excuse. Otherwise it’s too girly for them to handle.”
Women share from our souls with our sisters/mothers. That is very good for our health. Spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as physical activities like running, jogging, or time on the treadmill.
The latest hype has made us aware of the need for aerobics, cardiovascular exercises, and body toning. We think that when we are “exercising” we are doing something good for our bodies. Time spent with girlfriends is not wasted. In fact, it has been shown that failure to create and maintain quality girlfriend relationships is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!
So hanging out with a girlfriend or group of girls is doing something good for your health! It’s not “cute” or “juvenile” or “silly”. It’s actually therapeutic.
How fortunate we are to have girlfriends in our lives!
Do you have a girlfriend story you’d like to share?