Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about dying friendships. I would just like to make it clear here that I don’t have friendships dropping dead around me every other day. This unfortunate phenomenon happens … maybe … once every couple of years, where many of us experience a life-changing event like marriage, childbirth, relocation etc. Remember the saying, “Your friendship won’t change as long as you understand that friends change”? It is definitely true and something worth bearing in mind. But as and when a relationship does end, you just know it.
Today, I would like to talk about the importance of having female friends.
You are probably curious. Isn’t that like a, “Duh? You’re a woman, of course you have female friends.”
That’s not quite true for my case.
While I have some solid friendships with women, for a period of my life, I found myself more comfortable hanging out with the guys. It wasn’t until my first job in a women’s magazine that righted the male-female balance again. And I’m honestly happy when that happened.
Friendships with women are lauded often, much written about, and portrayed poignantly in mass media from books to movies.
Who else can give you the empathy you need when you just can’t pick yourself up cos it’s “that time of the month”?
Who else can nod understandingly along as you rant and rave about bitchy co-workers, AND not judge you for putting down your “fellow women”? Who better comprehend the strange dynamics we women have amongst ourselves – where one moment we are all “for the Sisterhood!”, one moment we go, “I wish her nice boyfriend dumps her!”?
Who else can display such indignation on your behalf when you bring up the topic of your exes, or announce that your crush has set his sights on someone else?
Women friends – they may not make sense all the time (like rationalising why it’s okay to spend $5,000 on a bag) but they always make it.
They know when you are ranting, you are not asking for a solution. You are just asking for a listener.
They know when you are feeling insecure about yourself, they should chime in with something positive like, “It’s his loss, you know you are going to find a much better man in 5 minutes!”
A friendship with a man is like possessing a toolbox – you know it’s got the ability to fix many things but you may not always need to take it out.
A friendship with a woman is like wearing a bra – only has one function but without it, everything points down.
Having strong ties with your female friends have health benefits too:
1. It’s been found that women with strong social female ties live longer than those without. Those without strong social ties with other women face health risks similar to overweight people or smokers.
2. Time spent with female friends is a great de-stressor. While men have a “fight or flight” response towards stressful situations, women are more likely to “tend and befriend”. Which is why when we are stressed, we tend to our young (and maybe bake some cookies), and seek some face-time with a female friend. When we spend time with our female friends, our bodies naturally produce the hormone oxytocin, which is a natural feel-good hormone that can help mitigate the effects stress has on us.
3. If your female friends have a healthy attitude towards their bodies, you are more likely to feel more attractive too. This shows the impact our girlfriends have on our self-esteem – if positive, this bond can be a powerful thing for our body-confidence. So be sure you are generous with your compliments! There’s nothing that quite makes a woman’s day when she receives something as simple (and genuine) as, “That dress looks great on you!”
The Material World team goes to a running track near the Botanic Gardens to run at least once a week. If you feel like you need some buddies to keep you on track for a fitness goal, why not just pop down and join us? Leave us your name and email address in the form below and we’ll send you a weekly note informing you of the time and place to meet up!
Material World Running Club
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and is really worried that she won’t make it past 12km of her half-marathon. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.