13230483 – a group of five happy women of different ages hugging in the living room

In the 5P’s of the And Now…What? Community, we need a person, besides our spouse, to help us navigate our season changes. 

And having a circle of friends is even better!

Shasta Nelson, Friendship Expert and author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen!: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends has coined a word for intimacy in friendship:

Frientimacy is achieved when both people feel seen and heard in a safe and positive way.

That means that both people get to talk, and to listen in a judgment-free zone. Both people agree to approach the friendship with a bedrock of positivity (smiles, affirmations and “me-toos!”), and add equal amounts of consistency, and vulnerability. Our oldest, dearest friends will hear our deepest thoughts, but it will take time to achieve that level with a new friend.

When girlfriends talk, there are surprising health benefits!

  • Friendship increases our odds of living a long life by 50%
  • It has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships
    • we have no blood or license to tie us,
    • just an unspoken understanding that we like to be together.
    • we spend so much time nurturing our relationship with our man, but we have a higher chance of a longer relationship with our girlfriends – because statistically, women live longer!
  • A recent study from the University of Michigan determined that when girlfriends get together to talk, we release progesterone.
    • This elevates mood,
    • decreases stress,
    • and leads to improved health
    • Elevated moods and decreased stress levels, make us more willing to promote the well-being of another person, like husbands.
    • It adds positivity and joy to our lives.(Los Angeles Times: ” A Scientific Take on Female Friendship”)

What if we don’t have enough friends?

  • Low social interaction can be compared to
    • smoking 15 cigarettes per day,
    • being an alcoholic,
    • or not exercising.
  • A lack of friendship is twice as dangerous as obesity
  • A lack of friends is a risk factor for death
  • In a study of 3000 nurses who all had breast cancer, the ones who had no friends were four times as likely to die from the disease than the women with at least ten friends.

If your goal is to live a long time, you need ten friends!

 

Shasta Nelson’s book Friendships Don’t Just Happen is an insightful how-to on creating healthy, supportive, live-giving, reciprocal friendships. You can also find her at www.girlfriendcircles.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project has a whole chapter of friend-making exercises that challenge and expand your own capability as a friend-seeker.


Both have been my go-tos for friendship. If you want to know more about friendship, please click  either or both books for a link to read more.

Needless to say, when it comes to friendship, I heart them.

Is there a book or resource you have loved about friendship? Drop the title in the comments section for all of us!

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