Of late, my weekday roster’s been filled with outings with all my different groups of girl friends. Last week’s Marni event with D&D had us on a champagne high and later, lounging at the four seasons chomping on edamame and sliders; on Monday it was skewers and long sake-fueled conversations with J&C about how our schools fail to do the bare essential for kids outside the cushy confines of our elite institutions (we were so fortunate, and we hadn’t a clue); and last night we got together for a wee birthday do at ODP, filled with light hearted banter and the alphabet game. It made me realise, girl friends really don’t get enough gratitude these days. You get older, you fall in love, you build a career, you get married, you have children… In all the so-called big things in life, girl friends are rarely acknowledged, and they’re certainly not front and center.
But as anyone with a good group of (girl) friends will tell you – these ladies are pretty much indispensable to one’s general well being through all of life’s major ups and downs, and they make the flat times happy. Take, for example, trying to plan a wedding without a girl friend (god forbid); or breaking up with a long term boyfriend without the girls to keep you afloat and go fishing with.
There’s an evening class that is taught at Stanford, and one of the topics covered had to do with the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (some big brained professor in the Psych department) said (amongst other things) that “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”
He made some comments on how women are able to express their feelings, and how other women are better at being more receptive of them, and how this all helps to create a general feeling of well being. There was something to do with serotonin and how it helps combat depression, and that this form of mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise like jogging.
One point he made – which I agreed with entirely, is that “women share feelings, whereas men often form relationships around activities” (true, and even more true). We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers/girl friends, and apparently that is very good for our health.
And it’s this sharing of feelings that gives your girl friends this amazing ability to just get it. You know? I think they call it empathy.
I’ll never forget the day when I broke the news of my first break up to my girl friends, we were at Far East Plaza and U started to cry into her plate of chicken rice. That she felt so much for me made me feel a million times stronger than I really was, it also made me feel incredibly loved, and very, very secure.
There’s a tendency to think that sitting down, hanging out with friends, talking and sharing openly is a waste of time – especially in a day and age where “productivity” is everything and “time is money.” But life would be so much harder to live without times like these! Investing in personal relationships is just as important as investing in yourself and your career – it’s not all about bringing home the bacon. No one wants to be 50, rich, and friendless!
Whatever it is, I’m so very lucky to have a group of girl friends that are good for my soul. And I’m so glad we got together on U’s birthday which reminded me of all those funny times oh so long ago.