In life, it’s important for women to have close friendships with other women. Physiologically, females have a greater need to emotionally bond with others. Whereas many men get by with loose, casual relationships with other men, women tend to look for nurturing, emotionally-fulfilling bonds with other women.
This need starts in childhood and increases during adolescence, when teenage girls find support from their female peers. Often, less emphasis is placed on the mother-daughter bond as teens venture out and test the waters of young adulthood. But once reaching full adulthood, many young women re-establish the mother-daughter bond as one of their primary female relationships.
The Psychological Benefits of Female Friendships
Women seek each other for emotional support and identity. Together they can create healthy communications and gratifying exchanges of ideas and feelings. Add more women into the mix and an entire emotional support system has emerged.
Psychologically, women gain self-esteem, validation, and happiness from such exchanges. Female friends can boost each other’s self-worth through compliments, honest opinions, and suggestions. In times of trouble, females seek one another out to know that their feelings or experiences are normal and healthy. From these interactions, female friends bring away an increased sense of happiness and fulfillment.
The Physical Benefits of Female Friendships
The psychological benefits of friendship may be more apparent, since its positive impact can be immediately felt. At the same time, there is a physical benefit to forming such close female bonds.
Physical gains can be both internal and external. With happiness and validation comes a lowering of heart rate, blood pressure, stress, and the tendency to overeat. The immune and digestive systems work more efficiently.
When women form supportive bonds, they often plan group activities or form exercise groups. This can improve the individual women’s external aspects, such as weight, complexion, flexibility, and tone.
Situations that Lend Themselves to Positive Female Bonding
- Family ties: Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and cousins can form tight female bonds. These are often the primary relationships in women’s lives.
- Childhood/college friendships: These relationships can end up being some of the longest-lasting female bonds of a woman’s life.
- Mommy groups/ other mothers: Such friendships arise out of a common need— to support and be supported as a mother.
- Coworkers: Other female coworkers, depending on the type of industry, can be supportive of career goals and understanding of office tension.
- Women with common interests: Joining activities such as tai chi, yoga, a cooking class, a book discussion group, or a volunteer organization can promote friendships out of common goals and the nurturing of these goals.