Do Your Girlfriends Make You Look Younger?
Hold on. I don’t mean that the way it sounds. I think my friends are enviably radiant, beautiful, and yes, youthful looking. So I’m not saying you should hang out with badly-aged people to make yourself look younger.
I’m saying spending time with my girlfriends makes me feel like 20 years have been lifted off my shoulders. Which brings the color back to my face, the light in my eyes and a spring in my 10,000 steps a day.
A recent NY Times article entitled, The Power of Positive People confirms this: “While many of us focus primarily on diet and exercise to achieve better health, science suggests that our well-being also is influenced by the company we keep. Researchers have found that certain health behaviors appear to be contagious and that our social networks — in person and online — can influence obesity, anxiety and overall happiness.”
Anti-aging creams, a regular fitness routine or healthy eating plan - while important - have nothing on someone who can make you laugh until you cry, knows a striped t-shirt can make your day, is your oxygen, your 911, and your magic mirror that allows you to view yourself from a much more flattering angle.
These women are our wolf pack - bound together by loyalty, love and respect for one another. As Urban Dictiionary describes it: Once in a wolfpack you are truly devoted to your pack and will do anything and everything for them.
One girlfriend, at 57, found herself an empty nester, suddenly single, and lost her mother all at the same time.
“It was the most difficult time in my life. I would not have survived without my dear friends. I will never ever take them for granted and I hope they know that!”
In Thrive Global's article, Why Girlfriends are Good for your Health, Dr. David Spiegel, head of psychiatry at Stanford University says one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.
As another friend puts it, “I’ve known my two closest girlfriends since childhood. They would do anything for me and vice versa. If anything happens to our husbands we’re moving in with each other. I’d much rather live with my girlfriends in my golden years than live with somebody else’s old husband.”
Yet we seem to put everything ahead of what will actually do us the most good. And while we love Girlfriend Getaways as much as the next woman, have you ever tried to organize a group of friends in under 200 emails?
Forget the wolf pack, this is herding cats in a universe strewn with a hundred sparkly, tinkly balls in 50 different directions.
So here’s our best suggestions for keeping your pack in regular contact:
Designate a standing time and place to get together every week, even if it’s just for an hour. If everyone knows when and where to go, it’s more likely to happen
Plan a monthly event - book club, dance class, dinner out, a girls night in
Don't hesitate to call each other like it’s 1999. Don’t just text, have an actual conversation and allow time to just go off on tangents.
Commit to doing at least one if not all of the above. That project can wait.
Lastly, because nests empty, friends relocate and people change, it's important to make new friends. Meetup.com is a good place to start finding friends in your area who have similar interests as you - from a puppy playgroup, to joining a movement, practicing a language or training for a marathon.
Because in the immortal words of some lovely, youthful women we know:
"Girlfriends are so much cheaper than a therapist."
"Girlfriends share recipes for meals and life."
"Girlfriends are so much better at helping you figure things out than the FBI."
(Ok, that last one was thought up during whine and dine night.)