It's no news that female friendships are special. The bond that exists between a woman and her closest gal pals is unlike any of her other relationships — women nurture one another, and good girlfriends can be an unparalleled source of strength in times of stress or turmoil. Unfortunately, during moments of crisis we sometimes push our relationships with our female friends to the back burner. When life gets crazy, the first thing we tend to let go is our friendships with other women — maybe because we figure that they, of all people, will understand.
Studies show this to be a big mistake. Researchers from UCLA have found that gathering around your girlfriends can actually chemically counteract the harmful effects of stress. When a woman is under pressure, calm-inducing chemicals released in her brain may actually cause her to seek and nurture relationships with other women. This "tend and befriend" reaction is the female equivalent of the "fight or flight" response, and a survival mechanism you may want to keep in mind the next time you're feeling overwhelmed.
It’s also important to allow your partner the freedom to have his own friendships as well. Just as you need downtime with the girls to reconnect with your feminine side and explore your unique interests, your partner needs the same for himself. Male bonding might seem like an oxymoron, but the truth is that guys need time to bond and enjoy their friendships just like women do. Show your partner that you support his friendships by surprising him with a couple tickets to a big football game, or clear out of the house with girlfriends and let him host a poker night. Show him that you trust him and respect him 100%, particularly by not hounding him with constant texts and phone calls while he is out with the guys. He will be thrilled to know he has such a down-to-earth and trusting partner, and in return, he will be just as supportive and trusting when you want to go out with the girls.
Best of all, spending time apart from your partner can actually help to increase your arousal. If you spend every waking moment with your partner you will not only get on each other’snerves, you will also begin viewing him as a platonic partner. Leave the chick flicks and the sushi nights for your girlfriends, and you will not only get to enjoy a fun night with your friends, but you will protect your bond and keep things fresh and sexy.
You can maintain your female friendships by keeping a weekly date with your girlfriends. Get together for a couple of happy hour cocktails after work, grab a cup of coffee together every Saturday afternoon, or meet for brunch on a weekend morning à la Sex and the City. Whether you're a single siren or just need a short break from coupledom, this weekend gather your favorite females for a few precious hours of girls-only fun. Because when it comes to life, love, and the daily ups and downs of the modern woman, no one gets you quite like your closest girlfriends.