Having a best friend of the opposite sex can be an interesting experience, and it’s one that many people shy away from because they feel uncomfortable about the potential downsides. However, there are many benefits to having female friends in your life, including the following seven reasons why you should have a female best friend.
Having a Girl best friend benefits your health
Having a close girlfriend is associated with better health. Studies have found that men who maintain strong social networks with girls tend to live longer than those without them. Men do get some health benefits from friendships with girls; in one study, researchers examined 140 men. They asked participants about their friendships with girls, as well as how satisfied they were with life in general and their level of loneliness. The results showed that men with no girlfriends reported more illnesses and had higher blood pressure than non-isolated people—regardless of gender or perceived social support.
Having someone you can confide in feels good
On top of enjoying each other’s company, research suggests that having girlfriends you can confide in feels good. A long-term study out of UCLA found that people who have strong social networks with girls have higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which protects against heart disease and stroke. It turns out that when you trust someone else to listen to your problems, you’re likely more likely to open up about things going on in your life, both good and bad.
Strong friendship helps you both grow
If you have at least one female best friend, you know that she’s probably going to help you grow—and vice versa. Research suggests that having close friendships with people of all opposite genders can help us develop our social skills, which in turn helps us improve our self-confidence and expand our network of contacts. We’re more confident, we make better connections, and we’re able to share ideas freely—all great things for your career. Plus, according to research on gender differences by Dr. John Gottman, men are actually better communicators when there are women around because they try harder to be inclusive when talking about business or projects with women in their group.
When you have problems, you have support
Women are more likely to open up and share, while men are prone to bottling it up. This can be especially useful if you’re going through a difficult breakup or experiencing work stress—you can talk it out with your female friend instead of just keeping it all bottled up inside. Research shows that men who confide in their friends feel less distressed than those who bottle it up, which may suggest that women are better at providing emotional support.
Emotional support makes any hard time easier
Women are more likely to be there for you through rough times, whether it’s a bad breakup or a serious health problem. Women can offer emotional support that men often aren’t able to. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen and understand without judgment. Women are far better at communicating their feelings than men, so they might actually be better equipped to deal with your emotions as well.
A girlfriend can help you through tough times
Friendship with a girl is built upon being there for each other, no matter what. Women tend to be better at acknowledging and offering emotional support to their friends, so if you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent your frustrations with when dealing with gender discrimination in your workplace, having a female friend will likely help you through it.
A great relationship improves your social skills
Developing strong social skills is important for professional development, and your female friend will help challenge you to be more outgoing, friendly, and emotionally expressive. When it comes to having to interact with others on an everyday basis at work or in your personal life, you’ll fare better if you’ve developed strong social skills with girls.
Whether you’re at home or the office, girlfriends are always there to lift you and keep you from sinking too low. If you want to be happy in life, then building close friendships with both men and women can help. We have listed above the seven reasons why you should have a female best friend in your life, whether it’s just one or several of them.