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Female friendships as the elixir of happiness and health

Updated on September 16, 2016

In contrast to family members, we actually get to choose our friends, deciding for those people who suit us and with whom we share the same or similar worldviews. When it comes to women, all of their relationships, especially the ones that regard friends, are built on emotional grounds.

Female friendships involve sharing intimate feelings like fear and insecurity and include providing support and comfort at all times. Having such a relationship in which a person can be completely themselves is invaluable. A number of scientific research carried out in recent years shows that for women it is extremely important to have female friends, and that such relationships do strongly influence mental and physical health.

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The need for emotional connection

Women tend to hold much greater needs than men when it comes to emotional connection. Psychologists explain that women gravitate towards relationships that are gentle, warm and close when seeking for friends. As very emotional beings, they need emotional support that strongly affects the construction of their identity.

Quality female friendship creates a healthy atmosphere in which women through honest communication and sharing of ideas and feelings maintain their emotional stability. A man can have best intentions in trying to understand his girl, but will never be able to understand those subtle emotional nuances that a good friend recognizes almost with no effort. Many women - more or less known - publicly speak of their soul mates that are found in other women, and not in men, although they used to share their lives and beds with them. A woman can offer a deep emotional connection that is extremely important for other woman's existence.

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Therapeutic effect of a friendship

Psychologists and sociologists have determined through many studies that women who share a quality friendship with other women live a better life and feel better about themselves. It has been observed that such women are more self-confident and have a greater sense of self-worth. Also, female friendships make women happier and more likely to change even when changes do not seem favorable. Friends who know each other give compliments and advice and sincerely talk about unpleasant life situations.

The importance of female friendships is particularly noted in times of crisis. When a difficult situation is about to strike, women unlike men tend to open to each other and talk about their innermost feelings, and that is, as psychologists say, a form of therapy that helps maintain mental stability.

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Hanging out and good physical health

Female friendship is beneficial not only to the psyche. It has been scientifically proven to effectively influence one’s physical health. The research conducted by experts from Stanford University found that women with breast cancer have a greater chance of survival and quicker recovery from illness if they should have good friends beside them. It's not the only study to show the effect of female friendships regarding physical health. Psychologist Bella De Paulo from the University of California has concluded that female friendship has a much greater impact on the health of women than any other relationship - parental or marital. In other words, when it comes to a disease, women can rely on their female friends that just know how to provide the best comfort and support.

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In addition, friends who practice healthy lifestyle habits pass such behavior onto other close friends which ultimately contributes to better health of women involved in the relationship. It was also noted that women are easier to make decisions on issues such as diet, smoking cessation or start training when they have met support regarding their goals.

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A treasure worth keeping

Women who have true female friends by their side actually know all these facts and have known them long time before any research was done on the topic. Back in the old days when there was no different sorts of therapists, women treated wounds by the means of talking and compassion. They still do when life gets complex, and when it becomes full of contemporary challenges.

Compassion, honesty, understanding and commitment are main characteristics of quality friendships. If you happen to have such friends, treat them as treasure because this is what they actually are.

“I feel there’s so much pressure, especially for women, to declare what their life’s going to be and what their career is, and are you married yet? Are you single? But you’re 30. And girlfriends are so important. You can have a boyfriend or husband when you’re 30, but you still need your girlfriends.”

— Kristen Wiig
Women's Best Friendships: Beyond Betty, Veronica, Thelma, and Louise (Haworth Innovations in Feminist Studies)
Women's Best Friendships: Beyond Betty, Veronica, Thelma, and Louise (Haworth Innovations in Feminist Studies)

Women’s Best Friendships: Beyond Betty, Veronica, Thelma, and Louise gives new and comprehensive insight into the complex world of women’s closest friendships. Recent studies have shown that women place enormous value on best friendships and consider them to be woven tightly into the fabric of their lives. Using in-depth interviews, along with close readings of relevant literature and theory, this book focuses on the many facets of these relationships.

With heartfelt first-person accounts and insightful commentary from the author, this book examines three intertwining themes: feelings of competition, issues of dependence and independence, and knowing/understanding.

 

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