Home » The Science Behind Why Women Who Cherish Female Friends Are-Happier

The Science Behind Why Women Who Cherish Female Friends Are-Happier

by Lisa Marinkovich
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Hi Gal Pals-

Do you know what Feb 13th is? It’s not only the day before Valentine’s Day… It’s GALENTINE DAY! What is Galentine’s Day, you ask? It’s a day to honor our gal pals. It’s a holiday devoted to GAL PALS.  To quote the great Leslie Knope on the TV show “Parks and Recreation” from which the day gets its origins, “Oh, it’s only the best day of the year… Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus Frittatas”.

How cool is that? Did you know that women who cherish female friends are happier, healthier and more successful in life? It makes sense to me but we will give you the scoop on what research shows. 

Women With Close Female Friends Are Healthier

Research indicates  that women are healthier when they have close female bonds. Why? When we have close friendships, It increases serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone,” says Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT. Studies at Stanford seem to confirm this, as did a UCLA study showing that in times of stress, women don’t just experience the drive toward fight or flight — they also release oxytocin. This hormonal surge can compel women to “tend and befriend,” a.k.a., to protect their kids (if they have them), but also to connect with other women.

If you needed another reasons to have more gal pals, you have it now. Celebrating “us” is one of the most important things we can do. Science states the importance behind having gal pals. Everyday should be Galentine’s Day. It’s why I started Gal Pal. Women should celebrate our tribe of gals and uphold, appreciate, and embrace one another. It’s a type of sisterhood. Sisterhood can be between friends, a mother and a daughter, a grandmother and her grandchild, a teacher, coworker, and her student. I like to think of it as a movement of compassion and kindness for women. We, as women, are better together. Together, we are capable of accomplishing virtually anything. 

Have you ever met a friend and felt like they were like family? Did you know that it’s possible that these type of sisters, may even share the same DNA? Seriously? Yes, crazy right?

Research Behind The Importance Of Female Bonding

Back in ancient times, women gathered the food and cooked the meals together as they shared child-rearing duties, songs, and laughter with each other, constantly multi-tasking. In the old spiritual traditions, women maintained harmony and balance in the natural world and their communities. Surprised? Not at all! Women are happier when they have close female bonds. 

In “Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond,” a new book just out, journalist Lydia Denworth explores the science behind friendship. Denworth takes us with her on her journeys to primatology research sites in Puerto Rico and Kenya, and to cutting-edge biology and neuroscience laboratories in the United States. She discovers that female baboons in Kenya who establish stable social bonds with friends and kin have more babies and live longer. Female bonding runs deep ladies!!! 

Enough Of This Contesting Between Women

Unfortunately, we reside in a society today that encourages contesting between women. It’s everywhere. Competition of success, looks, scaling the corporate ladder, and so on. I hear stories all the time, how women tear each other down. It’s always—look at her body, her skin, all her social media likes, and followers, etc. The media have done us no favors… feeding us with unhealthy body images and expectations. This competition has drawn us apart.

Then there is the workforce. We all know how men can make the workplace miserable for women, as recognized by the “Me Too” movement. But it’s important to note that women can make for a horrid workplace environment for other women. In fact, based on a study by The Journal of Applie Psychology, women report more rudeness from their female coworkers than male colleagues. The women who were assertive and outspoken were vulnerable to incivility from the same sex, a target of snarky comments, backstabbing, being ignored, or excluded, and the list goes on. 

Queen Bee Syndrome

The study notes that when women break the stereotypical gender norms of being sweet and nurturing, it provokes incivility from other females. A study from University of Arizona management professor Allison Gabriel reveals that so-called “Queen Bee Syndrome”— the phenomenon of powerful women being disliked— is very real, and that women are often much more cruel to each other than men are to women. 

The study was based off three surveys, involving several hundred people. It also found that by contrast, men who deviate from social norms— by say, coming across gentle, nice and warm— are actually held in more esteem. 

The Shine Theory- Why Women with Gal Pals Are Successful

News flash… women who lift up other women are more successful in life. Study after study shows women who support women are more successful in business. For instance, telling your boss or coworkers how a female coworker is rocking it. Be secure enough in yourself that you can lift other  women up. Have you heard of the Shine Theory? 

 Shine Theory is a practice of mutual investment with the simple premise that “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” It’s a term that describes a commitment to collaborating with rather than competing against other people—especially other women. 

Research from Harvard Business Review demonstrates that while both men and women benefit from obtaining a network of well-connected peers across different groups, women who also have an inner circle of close female contacts are more likely to land executive positions with greater authority and higher pa

Let's Start A Sisterhood Movement!

With all this stated, we need to cherish our gal pals more. We should support each other as a sister. Be your girlfriends’ biggest cheerleaders. Be present when your friends fall and when they arise. Be the one who is always cheering her gal pals on. When we come together, we create unique magic, a magnetic field that bears the ability to transform humanity.. in the best way possible. Let’s start a sisterhood movement! 

In reading Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba, it raised some brilliant points about female friendship. This quote particularly resonated with me; “You know a woman is strong, beautiful, and secure by the way she empowers and inspires others.”  When watching the bachelor, the mean girls are always out in full force. It has become so normal to accept this type of behavior which is so wrong on many levels. It’s so easy to judge others isn’t it? 

When it comes to supporting other women though it is so critical that we look past first impressions, that we listen with an open mind and  nurture. 

Do You Accept The Challenge?

What if, just what if… each one of us engaged in lifting each other up? Think about the mountains we could ascend, the obstacles we could conquer if we did it together. Please always remember that we are better together. We are a force to be reckoned with as a whole. Ladies, another woman’s success or beauty, is not a threat to you and never will be. 

Let’s all actively participate in boosting other women and cheering them on. Lets evolve past the competition, past jealousy, and bitter little small emotions. Another woman’s triumph is not a threat to you. Another woman’s happiness is not a threat or a delay of yours. Another woman thriving does not mean you will not succeed. Another woman’s beauty does not make you less magnificent. Remember this always.

I’ll leave you with this… “Put time and attention into building quality relationships,” Denworth concludes. “Be mindful of your social convoy. You cannot afford not to.” While this may sound like familiar advice, it’s still worth bearing in mind — and as Denworth convincingly shows, it has more scientific weight than ever before.   Spend time with your girlfriends! Go on more girl’s trips, by doing so, your life will be richer and happier. 

How To Celebrate Your Gal Pals Every Day

1. Send your pal an old photo of the two of you. I love old pictures and memories they behold. Find one and send it to an old friend. Snail mail is better than a text but do either or both.

2. Clean up your personal Social Media: Connect with your authentic friends. Use social media as a tool to touch basis with friends you have lost contact with. Just because you haven’t spoken to a friend in a while doesn’t mean that you are not close. 

3. Plan an informal girl’s night out

 4. Call a buddy you haven’t spoken with in a while.

5. Send a text message to several friends and let them you are thinking of them. It takes two seconds to do so.

6. Celebrate your friend’s success. Make note of some of your friends who may deserve a celebration. Perhaps they were promoted at work or wrapped up a divorce, moved or started a new career? Whatever it may be, celebrate with them. 

7. Plan a girls trip. Plan a getaway with the girls. See the reasons why here.

8. Get Outside with your pals. Play tennis, golf, run or walk with a girlfriend and spend time catching up. Check out 9 reasons women should play golf here. 

9. Plan an impromptu gals night out at your house or favorite restaurant or bar.

10. Become a mentor for another lady in your field of work. Take her under your wing. 

11. Build circles of trust- building circles of trust with one another because we may be experiencing similar hurdles and have each other’s backs.”

12. Find your tribe of women you can trust and identify with. Do what you can to help each other out.  

13. Just Say YES! When you are asked to go out with girlfriends, just say “yes”. 

14. Reach out to older and younger women in your circles. We all have something to gain from learning from friends that are part of a different generation. 

15. Start female bonding traditions with your gal pals. Some ideas here.   

So sisters…. in honor of Galentine’s Day, let’s make our girlfriends a priority. Make new friends, support co-workers, lift each other up. It’s proven to be good for our health and our souls. Let’s create a positive  sisterhood movement…. a social shift in how we treat women. What do you say? 

Much LOVE!  

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1 comment

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Phillis April 15, 2020 - 8:06 pm

A wonderful article I have shared it

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