Every Woman Needs Friends With Benefits

We all need Friends with Benefits

Not that kind of benefits.

Heath benefits. Simply put, having friends helps you live longer, healthier and happier.

A study done by the Australian Center for Aging  (ACA) showed that people with the most friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. Another study showed a 60% reduction in mortality rates over a 9 year period for people with a strong circle of friends.

One researcher said the effect of a small/non-existent network of friends on mortality is almost as dramatic as smoking.

Other studies show gains in cardiovascular function, lower blood pressure, decreased pain sensitivity, improved results from chemotherapy, reduced levels of stress hormones and cholesterol, and better immune responses in people with friends.

You’re even less likely to catch a cold if you have friends. (So long as you wash your hands.)

People with friends have higher self-esteem. The support of friends helps us feel more in control of our lives, even when all hell is breaking loose. Especially when all hell is breaking loose.

A study at UCLA showed that women under stress don’t go automatically into fight or flight mode. The chemicals our brains release cause a “tend and befriend reaction.” When the going gets tough, tough women get going… to a friend’s house.

Guess what the ACA study showed about the impact on longevity of close ties with relatives or children? Nothing. The researchers did not find a link.

More on the benefits of friends to women on the Sweet Side of 40

 “By conventional ways of thinking, the marital relationship (or some less-official equivalent) is the only relationship that really counts,” says sociologist, author and single life researcher, Dr. Bella DePaulo. This wasn’t always the case. During the Renaissance, for example, friendship was held in the highest regard.

Other research is clear: multiple friendships and relationships are critical- essential - to happiness and survival. As DePaulo points out, it’s nice when a romantic partner is your friend, but not your only friend.