Finding, keeping and maintaining friendships is tricky, after school and university, we get caught up in work, travel, other relationships and family. One of the first things to go when we’re time-poor are our friends. After doing a bit of digging, here’s 5 reasons you’ll want to maintain your friendships, for better or worse.
1. A study from UCLA found that female friendships help women cope with stress. When women experience stress, they release a hormone called oxytocin, which encourages them to “tend and befriend,” or take care of others and be around other women. The study found women who had more female friendships were able to cope with stress more effectively.
2. Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor on the relationship between friendships and stress discovered that women react to stress differently than men. This difference is due to the different proportions of hormones that are released into the bloodstream. When men and women are stressed, the hormones cortisol and epinephrine are released together, which raise a person’s blood pressure and circulating blood sugar level. Then oxytocin comes into play, which counters the production of cortisol and epinephrine and produces a feeling of calm, reduces fear and counters some of the negative effects of stress.
3. A Nurses Health Study from Harvard Medical School showed that the more friends women have, the less likely they are to develop physical impairments as they age, and the more likely they are to lead a contented life.
4. Ruthellen Josselson, author of Best Friends: The Pleasure and Perils of Girls’ and Women’s Friendships explains that when we get busy with our work and family, the first thing we do is push away our friendships due to lack of time or energy. We lose sight of the strength we provide each other and the healing benefits we derive from our friends. As the research suggests, we need to build and maintain these important bonds to protect our physical and emotional well-being.
5. Women are dynamic, before you judge a woman based on her clothes, hair and makeup – or her circle of friends, spend some time with her and get to know her. She might turn out to be your new BFF.