Female Friendship: The (Surprising) Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health Benefits
Updated: Jun 6
We all know that female friendships are important. But what many women don't realize is just how vital these relationships are to our mental, physical, and emotional health. When we have strong female friendships, we enjoy a wealth of benefits that can improve our wellbeing in dramatic ways. In this blog post, we will explore the three main types of health benefits that come with female friendship: mental, physical, and emotional. We'll also discuss why it's so important for women to form healthy platonic relationships with other women and how to go about doing it.
Female friendship is often portrayed in the media as being one-dimensional, with only two possible dynamics: hair-braiding and friendship bracelets, or catty gossip and "mean girls". This is harmful because it reduces female friendships to caricatures instead of highlighting their complexities.... or their benefits.
In Danielle Bayard Jackson's book titled "Fighting for our Friendships", she will share surprising research about the mental, emotional, and physical health benefits of healthy female friendship (and how to fight for them when things get tough!), but for now, let's explore a few central reasons to keep your girls close.
MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Female friendships are important because they provide us with mental health benefits. When we have strong female friendships, we enjoy a wealth of benefits that can improve our wellbeing in dramatic ways. Some of these benefits include reduced stress levels, improved self-esteem, and increased feelings of happiness.
While any relationship with another human being can bring about its own set of stressors, the positive benefits can outweigh any temporary challenges by contributing greatly to the overall sense of purpose and emotional support.
Female friendships offer a wealth of benefits beyond just mental health. They can also provide physical health benefits and emotional benefits. According to research studies by Krems Lab, the number one quality women look for in same-sex friendships is emotional support. And because of a special attunement when in the company of other women who are in distress, they naturally and uniquely offer this support to one another.
There is a popular study conducted by ___ which found that women with breast cancer who had strong social networks had better health and healing outcomes than cancer patients who were living in isolation. While this doesn't speak to ties specifically with women, it should turn our attention to the critical need for social networks to offer support, motivation, and companionship to help us grow and thrive.
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that women with a female-dominated circle are more likely to advance in their careers and earn 2.5 higher pay. While there are many factors that contribute to a woman's success in the workplace, having female friends can be an important asset. This is likely because these women have access to valuable networking opportunities and emotional support that helps them thrive professionally.
Women should be motivated to form and maintain healthy platonic relationships with other women, viewing these relationships as more than a means to have recreational social outings, but instead, as an essential means to nurturing their wellbeing and life satisfaction. These relationships provide immense mental, physical, and emotional health benefits that are irreplaceable.
So go out and make some female friends, your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it!
What are some of the benefits you've experienced from your female friendships? Let us know in the comments or come hang out with us on TikTok or Instagram. And be sure to listen to the upcoming Friend Forward Podcast episode that outlines the benefits (and downsides!).
Want a more personalized experience with content about female friendship with resident our resident female friendship coach and expert Danielle Bayard Jackson? Consider booking her to speak on the subject of surprising health benefits of platonic relationships with women by visiting our speaking page.