Can having girlfriends cause us to live longer?

I was reading an old issue of Oprah magazine, (which, by the way, is very substantive reading), and caught an article about womens’ friendships and how important they are to us gals.
Apparently, women value their friendships much more than men do. They take them more seriously, sincerely care about what’s going on in the lives of their women friends and feel a genuine need for regular sisterly togetherness.

The article said women who have viable friendships throughout their lives, in particuliar as they grow older, tend to live longer and suffer from less illness than women who don’t have many confidants. Having friends you see regularly helps to reduce stress, improve the immune system and offers a support system that can rival the ear of even the most qualified psychiatrist. Seems women have figured it out, or maybe it’s just something hardwired in us from the beginning of time. Women need the company of women just because.

I can speak from my own experiences. At this point in my life I have a handful of friends I know I can count on. They bring me incredible joy and their place in my life is immeasurable. Because I’m a very open and frank person, I find it incredibly satisfying to be able to tell my friends what’s on my mind, no matter what. They are like my therapists. They also make me laugh, help me through tough times and celebrate the happy times and being with them just makes me feel healthier.

When I was younger and while I was raising my kids, I didn’t have near the friends I have now. Of course my children were my main focus, and even then I still managed to have two regular friends, both with the name Cindy. Only one Cindy has remained. I’ve since lost contact with the other, having moved to a new town. Now that my kids are almost grown and my husband works at home, I have more time to foster my friendships. I can tell you these women are very important elements in my life. I have a Girlfriend Friday group which consists of about 8 women who have known me since the early grades of grammer school. We meet once a month and make it a point to never miss a Friday. We look forward to a meal together and a night of sitting around the table just talking and catching up on eachothers’ lives. The laughter is infectious on these Friday nites. My other group of friends are the women I met on the internet about 6 years ago through a Delphi forum. These women all share my interests in doll making and crafting/sewing. We have gathered together many times for crafting getaways where we all sit at a table with our sewing machines, laugh, sip on cocktails and share our stories and lives with eachother. We also hit the antique shops and flea markets to seek out our favorite vintage treasures. The projects we work on are just something to keep our hands busy while we enjoy our time together. The laughter alone from any of these groups probably adds a week to my life each time I see them. When I’m with them, I feel bettter. My whole soul just sings when I’m with my girlfriends. Nothing beats the sisterhood of women.

Just over the last 6 years or so girlfriends have really become an integral part of my life. My friends are simply fabulous. There are things I can divulge to them I could never tell my husband. Their time spent with me is something I treasure. I want these women to grow old with me….to be there all through the coming years. I hope we’ll all be around for a long time because between us all there is enough laughter to keep us going for a long time–and hopefully healthy for the next 30 years.

So, let me ask you…have you hugged your girlfriend today?
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One thought on “Can having girlfriends cause us to live longer?

  1. Oh yes Emily, i couldn’t agree more with you about girlfriends..where i live i only have 2 very special friends and we try to get together once a week & have a coffee. I have a great group of friends on a forum and we chat daily & i have been lucky enough to meet a few of them too..I would be lost with out each & every one of them…
    Great blog Emily…i really enjoyed it.
    luv Ann.xx

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