5 Ways To Nurture Your Female Friendships And Why It’s Important By Scarlett V Clark

Some friends are for seasons, others for lessons and a rare few last a lifetime.On average, female friendships last 16 years, which is 6 years longer than the average romantic relationship, so it comes as no surprise that whether good or bad, friendships have a significant impact on mental health. Strong friendships between women avert loneliness and offer companionship, as well as increase serotonin and oxytocin- the bonding hormones.

The CEO and founder of Smart Girl Tribe and author of The Smart Girls Handbook Scarlett V Clark, gives 5 ways to nurture female friendships to help them thrive.

Pick up the phone

The pandemic has caused a rising sense of emotional isolation and an inability to see friends who live far away, which in turn has resulted in face-to-face friendships being harder to sustain. Although we can connect on social media, friendships require commitment – phonecalls or even a handwritten letter can leave a strong impression and give us the opportunity to pay close attention to what is really happening in a friend’s life. 

Become the friend you want to have

Friendships, especially between women, are a two-way street. For anyone hoping to nurture a friendship it is vital to first consider what being in a healthy friendship looks like and what it takes. We talk so much about what we look for in a partner, but nobody discusses friendships in the same way.  Think about what is important to you in your friendships and reflect whether you offer these traits to others. Make sure you are devoting the same energy to a friendship that you’d like to receive in return.

Show vulnerability 

Vulnerability is the foundation to any flourishing friendship. Forming a friendship means developing a bond so it is important to open up about personal details in order to encourage the other person to share as well. Verbalising struggles or anxieties gives your friend the opportunity and courage to be their imperfect self. It is much braver to be vulnerable than to put up barriers. Disclosing personal experiences and worries demonstrates how much that friend means, how much you trust them and this naturally deepens the connection. 

Offer practical & emotional support 

Women handle stress differently to men and respond with a reaction called ‘tend and befriend’ which means that when a woman senses stress from another she naturally reaches out to nurture. There is a loyalty to be found in female friendships that can breed an allegiance which is never more important than when a friend is going through either a change or a tough period. Offering to treat them to a meal or suggesting a girls night in are both practical ways to help in a time of distress. Consider friendships emotional bank accounts. Every act of kindness or compassion is a deposit into that account. 

Give meaningful gifts 

Life is incredibly busy and women juggle jobs, businesses, homes and families as well as friendships.  Make sure you take the time out to sustain your friendships with significant connections.  A meaningful gift is a thoughtful way to remind someone that you are thinking about them.  It can be as small as a handkerchief or picture frame. 

Nurturing female friendships enhances shared experiences and boosts optimal mental health and well-being. The bond between women grows and we become each other’s support system, through the best and the worst of times. Building an active soldiery of women who you can take with you is life-altering. 

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