Medicine? Magic? No, Just Meaningful Time with Girlfriends

By , SparkPeople Blogger

The dailySpark welcomes guest blogger Debba Haupert of Girlfriendology is the online community for women based on inspiration, appreciation and celebration of female friendship. Today, Debba writes about the importance of friendships, just in time for National Women’s Friendship Day!

You’ve all heard the old joke.

Woman walks into her doctor. She swings her arm and says: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”

Doctor says: “Well, don’t do that.”

You know our bodies often tell us what we need. Sore arm? Rest it. If we’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral, our body creates a craving for us to eat something that has what we need in it. When we’re thirsty it may be an indicator that we’re just not taking in enough water. Our body says, drink up!

Take care of me!

When we’re stressed, our bodies react with sleeplessness, weight gain or loss, changes in our physical appearance and attitude…adjustments. All of those stress reactions are indications, of course, that our bodies need us to do something to reduce stress--right?

What would you pay for a drug that would reduce stress, make you healthier, happier, live longer and even feel prettier? Think there’s no such silver bullet, ‘magic pill’ or herbal supplement?

I can’t speak for men here (sorry guys, but you’ll want to share the following information with your female partners/friends), but there really is such a stress-reducing supplement for women--it’s known as girlfriends. (Seriously!) Research has proven that it is part of our female DNA to long for community with other females; we are inherently social and have a strong, almost primal need for female friendship.

A few research findings:
  • For years, scientists have confirmed the “fight or flight” response to stress. However, the initial stress tests that provided the data were based solely on male participants. Once women were tested using the same criteria, we had a totally different reaction. Women respond to stressful situations with a need to “tend and befriend.” Especially when stressed, we long to tend to our young/children and befriend other women. Even the scientists studying these phenomena confirmed the data personally. When the female scientists were stressed, they observed that they got together with each other for coffee while the male researchers often withdrew to their own offices/cubes.
  • Their research also confirmed that, for women, spending time with their female friends reduced their stress levels. They also noted that not befriending and sharing their experiences with other females actually raised their stress levels.
  • A recent study by Dove found that 70% of women “feel prettier” because of the girlfriend effect. That’s a better result than any miracle cream or plastic surgery can claim!
  • Men who are married, have a longer life span than single men. Marriage has no effect on women’s longevity, although female friendships do have a positive impact.
  • Women without strong social ties risk health issues equal to being overweight or smoking. It’s that serious.

Today is National Women’s Friendship Day. It’s also a day to be reminded of the girlfriend relationships that impact our health, happiness, longevity and self-esteem. Based on the research on the positive effects of girlfriends, and in honor of this special day, consider this a ‘public service message.’ Celebrating your friendship on a regular basis will make you healthier, happier, less stressed and even live longer.

“Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”

“Go tell your girlfriend!”

Check in with your body. Need a healthy dose of laughter or a kind, strong, supportive shoulder to lean on? Crave some time where you can totally be yourself? Are you deficient in giving your girlfriends some of your time and making them more of a priority in your busy life? Supplement your schedule with some girlfriend time. Make plans with your favorite gal pals for National Women’s Friendship Day to laugh and share life, then keep the fun going all year long for a daily dose of female friendship. Listen to your body and your soul. Girlfriend time is what a body needs!

Note: Most research from The Tending Instinct by Shelley E. Taylor. Also, information is from Kappa Delta NWFD facts and the Dove Beauty study.

DailySpark guest blogger Debba Haupert is the founder of GIRLFRIENDOLOGY – the online community for women based on female friendship. is an inspiring site that offers semi-weekly podcast interviews with amazing women, videos, blogs, shopping, contests, reviews and more. For a dose of girlfriend inspiration, stop by
Photos and logo used with permission from Girlfriendology

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I know that I have put on a lot of weight and been very depressed since we moved several hours away from my "girlfriends". I try to tell my daughter (who lives about 1500 miles away) that the phone knows no distance, but it really isn't the same as being there. Report
I agree with this article.
I live a few min. away from my best friend. It's really hard to get to get together when are free time dosen't match up I miss having that sharing time with her it could be any thing stress,sad,mad everything. I also miss all the laughter we share when we hang out I think she feels the same when we aren't feeling ourself first person to call is a friend! Report
I really do fill uplifted when I talk to my friend Sandra. I think I'll give her a call this morning. Report
I have made some very special friends here and feel very fortunate to have been so lucky! Report
I belive it! My best friend in the whole wide world is my sister. Whenever I get stressed, mad, sad, whatever, the first thing I do is call her. We talk about the issue a little, but then we will talk for an hour about nothing and everything. Never fail, I always feel better by the time we hang up. And it works the same for her too. She calls me with her problems and togeather we can release the stress. Report
Very interesting. Come to think of it, when I put on the majority of this weight it was when I'd moved to a new area and had no females to go out and be female with. Hmmm, have to stop commenting now, must go call my girls! Report
I just happen to be having dinner with my girlfriends this evening! I am looking forward to the reduced stress afterward. :) Report
I have found some great friendships through the teams I'm on, and they have been a blessing just like this article describes. Report
I have read many articles before that friends bring joy in your life and help you stay healthy and happy. Report
I was delighted to see the photo ofmy ladies poker night from the Girlfriendology blog. Now I have to let all my girlfriends know so they can see it as well. Report
I am going to e-mail my girl friends today to thank them. I love the part of the blog that compares a woman's "tend and befriend" impulses with a man's "fight or flight" pattern. It rings so true and is the key to the treasure of friendship with women -- they are there when the going gets tough and men are taking flight. Report
I couldn't survive without my BFF and Christian sister and also my buds on SP. I don't think my DH 'gets it' ;-) but he doesn't mind because he knows I'm always in a much better frame of mind after a chat. Report
I am going to call some friends!

Tracy Report
There is nothing like a good friend! Thanks for the reminder. Report
Girlfriends, just bring a smile. Report
This is a GREAT blog!!! I have been feeling a little down lately and as I read this, I realize that I have been busy and not able to get a little girl time in. I think I will call someone for coffee today!! Report
Thanks for the information. Report
Wow--so much benefit! Glad for all my girlfriends up here on spark and in my off line life. Report
Funny thing, we have a "girls weekend" planned, that I almost backed out of because of building stress - and it's to celebrate MY birthday - 50! Great timing for this blog - and for our weekend in Memphis @ the Peabody! Report
Woo-hoo! for the Ladies! Report
My DH says of my friend Betsy and I, "Two bodies, one brain." We think that much alike! Report
This is an interesting article, when I joined the gym 2 years ago I had no 'girlfriends' here in Florida, I was very lonely and not very well at all. After starting fitness classes with other women who love to exercise as well and becoming friends my 'best friends' are the women I work out with and now socialize with through the gym and activities that stem from there. I am HAPPY AND HEALTHY! My cardiologist is very pleased. Report
Hi Girlfriends! I'm thrilled to be included in this community and so thankful that Stepfanie invited me to blog about National Women's Friendship Day and female friendship in general.

I'd love to hear your stories (we have a monthly contest on girlfriend stories at and welcome your comments, etc. on Girlfriendology.

Plus you girlfriends inspire me to take better care of myself which I need!

Thanks and have a great day. Make plans with some friends and create some beautiful memories with your girlfriends!

Thanks, Debba Report
I started scrapbooking for just this have a time to bond, share and laugh with other women. I love that time and know I feel better after a night "in" with the girls. In fact, we all get so much out of it, we make a weekend of it twice a year! Report
Interesting. Report
I totally agree with this article.
I live a couple of hours away from my 2 best friends. It's really hard to get to get together very often and I hate that. I miss having that closeness and sharing with them. I also miss all the laughter we share when we are together. Report
Thanks for the site info. Will have to checkit out. Report
I totally agree with this! Often times, I am stressed from home, work, kids activities - you name it - a lunch out or a night with pals always rejuvenates me. It's like you find strength in numbers - everyone goes through the same thing and its therapeutic to know you are not in this gig alone and can reach out to a friend and talk, laugh or cry about it. I love my gal pals! Report
I think this is wonderful. I know I enjoy by time wiht my friends on sparkpeople. I'm not a loner, but at the same time I find that as an adult we tend to be so busy we have acquainces and not real close friends. Spark people for me has opened up friendships that other wise I would have been to busy to reach out too. They are there to chat and release when ever I have a few minutes to spare. I think it's important for women to have friends to chat and reach out too. Report
Wow..i'll have to check out the site..I love my girl friends that i have online..and with Skype we enjoy conversations that are so fulfilling especially after one of those long difficult days.. Report