You know the type — the girl who spends her time exclusively with men. She thinks women are catty (women other than her, of course). For some inexplicable reason, other women just don’t like her. And she can’t, for the life of her, figure out why (unless it’s that they’re just jealous or something). But I’m guessing you have a pretty good idea.
Women need other women. Female friends enrich our lives and make us better people. Even when you’ve got a boyfriend, a fiance, a husband, children or — if you’re lucky — a gay best friend, your friendships with other women are crucial. They’re important emotionally, physically, spiritually … even professionally (ahem, Excelle!). And in case you need a reminder, here’s why:
1. Women get you.
Sure, you have things in common with both genders — we’re all human, after all. But with other women, you share experiences that are exclusively female. Menstrual cramps, childbirth, and an X chromosome, to name some of the most basic. What about boy trouble, tricky mother-daughter relationships, gender discrimination, or a childhood obsession with glitter (or was that just me)? Of course, every woman will have unique life experiences, but it’s hard to dismiss the fact that there are certain themes that unite us. Your girlfriends will get it when you just need a good cry. They’ll understand the delicate balancing act of being a working mother. They’ll appreciate your excitement at finding the perfect pair of jeans. And that’s priceless.
2. They make better best friends
Okay, maybe not better. But possibly deeper. More meaningful. Longer lasting. Studies have shown that men are more fickle and calculating about who they stay friends with, whereas women tend to stick together through the good and bad. Women also work harder to maintain friendships. A Manchester University survey concluded that 47% of women contact their best friend on a daily basis, compared to 36% of men. The study also showed that men were more likely to base their friendships on activities (like drinking!) whereas women tended to base their friendships more on face-to-face interaction.
3. Women are funny
I’ve heard men say it, I’ve seen it pontificated in the media, and I’ve watched countless female comedians work a little too hard to combat it: the notion that women aren’t funny. And nothing could be further from the truth. What about Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler? They seem to be doing pretty well as famous comedians. Some of the most hilarious friends I’ve had have been female. How could they not be? We’ve got so much to laugh at, what with men at our disposal.
4. They fill the gaps
No matter how much you love your boyfriend or spouse, you just can’t get everything you need from one person. Your girlfriends offer another outlet, a uniquely female perspective on your struggles … a type of emotional botox (or is that too much?). Besides, who else are you going to talk to about your man? Women who have more close friendships with other women are said to be happier, sleep better, stress less, and live longer than those who don’t. And it makes sense. They’re able to satisfy more of their emotional needs than someone who puts all their eggs in one testosterone-fueled basket.
5. If you’re single, women are your greatest dating asset.
What’s better than a wingman? A wingwoman! Your girlfriends are important regardless of your relationship status (of course). But when you’re single, their companionship is a force to be reckoned with. Ever been out on the prowl with a guy friend? Most other men will steer clear, assuming your drinking buddy is your boyfriend (or at the very least, that he wants to be). Take your best girlfriend and it’s a whole different story. Nightlife aside, a good girlfriend will always be your biggest evangelist. If she’s already coupled up, she’ll keep an eye out for any of her man’s friends who she thinks would be a good match (even if she sometimes gets it horribly wrong!).
Nurture your friendships with other women. Don’t let them go to the wayside because of mounting work stress, a new romance or even living hundreds of miles from one another.
Don’t get me wrong – men make fantastic friends too. But your best guy pal is no substitute for a true-blue girl who’ll stick by you in the best of times, the worst of times and – let’s face it – even the most boy crazy of times.
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