My best friend and I have long endured comments from our (now ex) husbands regarding the strength of our relationship.
“You two should just marry each other!” being one of the most common snide remarks. Turns out we probably should have!
The thing is, the friendships we have with other women can give us just as much love and support, if not more, than a “romantic” relationship. Studies have even proven that female friendships can extend our lives, improving our physical and emotional wellbeing. In fact, there is evidence that as part of a woman’s stress response the body releases oxytocin that encourages us to “tend and befriend”. When faced with a crisis, nature has us programed to look after our children and gather with other women.
This explains which catching up over coffee or a girl’s night out is so cathartic!
One could argue that the benefits of female friendships over romantic relationships are many:
- There are fewer expectations.
- There is less judgement.
- There is more trust.
- Girlfriends are a great source of validation.
- They can listen without trying to fix things.
- They offer unwavering emotional support.
- They understand hormonal emotional highs and lows.
- They understand the challenges of shared experiences such as being a wife and mother.
Obviously, this is my personal experience and opinion, however it is also anecdotally the experience of a lot of other women I have spoken to.
This is not to say I’m anti-relationships or don’t think a romantic partnership has anything to offer – far from it. Many women also say that their husband is their best friend and in that they are very lucky.
However, there is something special about female friendship. When I’m having a crisis my best friend is the first person I turn to. I know she has my best interests at heart and will always have my back.
Of course, like bad romantic relationships, there can be bad friendships too. It is important to know when any type of relationship serves you or is causing you harm.
For me, the female friendships I have in my life are like a protective cocoon and I treasure them dearly. Unlike the tumultuous and sometimes fickle nature of romantic relationships, I know my true friends will always be there. They have already nurtured me at my lowest and celebrated me at my highest and will continue to do so, as long as we both shall live.