September is Women's Friendship Month, which is a good reminder of the importance of our gal pals. We tend to hear a lot about the negative aspects of women's friendships (such as frenemy type of behavior, jealousy, exclusion, and more), but the truth is that friends are an important part of emotional strength, self-esteem, and overall health for women.
Women are wired slightly differently than men emotionally, and friendship is a natural extension of that. One study found that "When women are stressed, their brains release the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which encourages them to bond."
In other words, when women are hurting, it's natural to seek out the comfort of friends. Good friends aren't just there to lift you up, however. They help you maintain a high level of self-esteem, are a source of fun and companionship, and provide mental and physical health benefits as well.
Ways to Honor Your Girlfriends
When was the last time you told your female friends how much you appreciated them? Women's Friendship Month helps remind us that our friends are important and we should let them know. While gifts for your best pal are always nice, you don't need to buy something expensive to let your friend know you appreciate her. Some ways you could honor you friend include:
- Giving a friendship bracelet. Those bracelets you made as a kid have been updated! There are also many different ways to use friendship bracelets other than jewelry.
- Writing a note. Handwritten notes are so rare these days, and your friend will appreciate the time and effort for you to pen a few thoughts on why her friendship means so much to you. She'll also be able to keep your note and re-read it again on days when she needs some positive words.
- Writing a blog post. If you're a blogger, why not honor your female pals with a special post on why they mean so much to you.
- Giving her a book. There are many gift books that honor friendship but there are also some wonderful fictional stories about friends also. Write a nice note on the inside of the book to personalize it even more.
Activities to Celebrate Your Female Friends
Sometimes the best way to appreciate your friends is just to make time for them. Women, especially, have found that fitting friends into a busy schedule can be difficult. One way to combat that is with a friendship date. You can schedule a regular time to get together with your pal, and when you're both busy you can help each other run errands, talk about problems, or just relax and enjoy yourself. The purpose of the "date" is to schedule a commitment that both of you know about in advance and adhere to regardless of your schedule.
Here are some additional ways to celebrate Women's Friendship Month.
- Girls night out.
- Something to relax you like a spa day, massage, or just a few glasses of wine and some great conversation.
- A weekend getaway with just the girls.
- A movie night or even a marathon.
- Taking a class together (but be sure to make it a fun one.)
Rekindling an Old Friendship
An event like Women's Friendship Month can sometimes remind you of friendships lost. As you think about the friendships you used to have, do it with the perspective of acknowledging all that you've learned from them. Too often, we look back on old friendships and beat ourselves up because these people are no longer in our life. But some friendships aren't meant to last forever.
As you ponder the friends you used to have, you may feel that there is one person you'd like to get in touch with again. Reviving an old friendship can have its benefits, especially when it was a good relationship that just ended naturally. Contacting an old friend can make you feel good even if you don't end up best pals again. Sometimes it's just nice to get in touch with someone you used to care about.
Finding New Friends
Of course, what better way to celebrate a month devoted to friendship than meeting new people? Continually making new friends can help you grow as an individual, which in turn opens up your world to more people. The more people you meet, the better chance you have at finding the right friends for you. Overall, Women's Friendship Month is meant to help you appreciate the friends you have and help you to enjoy better relationships with the women in your life.
Develop a Better Life Balance and See Your Friends More Often
While social networking can help us keep in touch with friends, we benefit more when we see them in person. There is nothing that can replace the nonverbal communication you get when you're sitting across from a friendship, like a sigh or hesitation that will help you connect on a more personal level.
Fitting in time on a regular basis is a challenge. That's where my Friendship Boot Camp can help. It offers practical tips for making time for friends even in the most busy days, with the most packed schedules. The Boot Camp gives you weekly suggestions for fitting in friend time, and you can even have them delivered directly to your inbox.
Stay up to date on the latest Friendship news and learn more about meeting new people, forming friendships, and keeping great pals in your life. Sign up for our free Friendship newsletter today!