There’s a reason #GalentinesDay became popular online a few years ago –relationships between your girls are incredibly special. Fact: there are loads of health benefits of friendships that make these bonds worth nourishing. So here’s why friends matter and how to make friendships last.
Red roses, candlelit dinners and chocolates… Valentine’s Day fever is probably giving you major romance vibes this month. But with all the emphasis on couples, you could be forgiven for forgetting about the other important loves of your life – your friendships with your girls.
Ever wondered why friends matter so much? Your gal pals are the people you often share things with that you don’t share with others, says integrative psychologist Leanne Hall.
Why friendships are important
Between work, the kids and your partner, spending time with friends can often fall off your radar. But Hall says we can’t let busyness be a barrier to maintaining close friendships.
“We should always make time for people and relationships that are important to us,” she says. “All relationships require an investment from both sides to truly flourish, or they can really struggle. This can lead to feeling left out, isolated and even rejected, leading to low self-esteem.”
If you needed another reason to prioritise time with your friends, consider your health. The wellbeing benefits of friendships include reduced stress, increased happiness and a lower risk of health conditions such as depression and high blood pressure.
How to celebrate friendships
Hall says small gestures can go a long way towards keeping friendships strong.
“Send a text message, tag them in a post – anything to remind them that you are thinking of them and know what they like and who they are,” she suggests. “Remember their likes and dislikes. If you know they love cats – tag them in a cute cat post. There is nothing worse than having a friend who always forgets you hate cooking, yet always tags you in food posts!”
Face-to-face contact is also a major friendship booster. If you’re time-poor, Hall suggests opting for catch-ups that do double duty.
“Schedule a get-together where you can tick a couple of things off your list, such as a coffee catch-up at the shops – because you plan on doing some shopping anyway – or a breakfast date, so you then have the rest of the day free to get chores done,” she advises. “Better still, join a gym together, go on a bushwalk or hike together, or take up a mutual hobby together.”