WHY EVERY WOMAN NEEDS A GOOD GIRLFRIEND!
“It is not that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but it is your best friends who are your diamonds.” - Gina Barecca
Often you may think of spending time with your girlfriends as a pleasant pastime or a getaway from work and family routines and pressures. But along with the fun and loving support, your girlfriends are important in reducing your stress, promoting positivity and mental health supporting longevity. Having a girlfriend was probably one of your first relationships. Yet the love that presently surrounds you through your girlfriends can be forgotten due to many preoccupations, i.e., finding or working to maintain a romance, work, or family pressures. But every woman needs a girlfriend they can authentically relate, vent, and have fun with.
There is science behind female friendships. Studies at Stanford and University of California Los Angeles show that women need to maintain connections. It increases serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone. This hormonal surge can compel women to protect their kids (if they have them), but also to connect with other women.
Maintaining those bonds becomes even more important as you grow older, according to Psychology Today. As you get busier, with more responsibilities it makes you feel nurtured and validated to authentically hang out with friends. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry Trusted Source, it is the perception that you are alone, not the objective reality that creates the most damage. This can contribute to a variety of health problems and is growing more common.
The reasons for growing social isolation are many, but COVID, technology, social media, and social comparisons play a clear role. This makes it even more critical to sustain quality engaging girlfriend relationships. Seek to find a tribe of allies or a few who, a) listen, b) do not judge, c) will not quickly tell you what to do, d) ask pertinent questions for you to critically think to make your decisions, and e) give their best advice when you need it. You must create a bond of mutual support that helps you feel needed and appreciated both personally and professionally. A client shared that she did not have any girlfriends and would be alone on Christmas Day. After I asked her some questions, she realized that it was a fear of rejection that kept her from seeking and engaging to establish relationships. She could not see a better way. A plan was discussed, she took control though scared, and made an invitation which was accepted. It seems simple but for her it was not. Women desire connections whether they live in big cities, suburbs, or villages. But while women are everywhere, too many are disconnected hidden in their homes, lost in dreary routines, or trapped in obligations that fail to bring joy.
If you are finding yourself disconnected, you can set an intention to take control, change your story, and act. If you want to connect with supportive and engaging women:
• Quit being someone you are not: You must get comfortable with your authentic self to attract the right people/girlfriends into your life. Pretending is exhausting.
• Quit using digital media only to communicate: Pick up the phone, invite someone over or yourself over to spend face-to-face or video time, safely.
• Quit doing everything alone: Find groups that focus on women to share experiences, opportunities, and challenges. I became intimately involved in women’s organizations when I relocated from the US to Nigeria. I now have solid girlfriend relationships to this day. Be sure to engage within the group.
• Quit wanting to have a girlfriend but not be a girlfriend: Understand what you want in your relationship, determine if you are that person, make the internal/external changes required.
• Quit making assumptions about why someone is not connecting and getting angry: People may be legitimately busy. Be supportive, understanding, and open to reconnect later.
True girlfriends are forever! Sade was one of my daughter’s best girlfriends. They grew up together, went to the same college, even had daughters the same age (7) who were in the same class. She was a beautiful spirit. She died suddenly at the age of 38 leaving her daughter. My daughter and several others are demonstrating the importance of strong girlfriend relationships. They consistently show up in love to support Sade’s daughter and parents. A Brigham Young University study said, you “increased your odds of survival by 50% if you have a solid social network.” Having solid, authentic girlfriend relationships with help you to be empowered, empathetic, less stressed, and productive. You will also live longer, improve self-esteem, make better decisions, boost your career/business, learn more about yourself, have fun, belong, grieve easier, share more, and gain fresh perspectives.
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”- Emerson
Written by: Gladys Agwai
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