Are there treasured friends in your life from college or your first job? Still in touch with women who were girls when you first met?
You’re one of the lucky ones. (But it’s definitely not too late to make lasting friendships!)
There’s a new book on a group of girlfriends whose friendships have endured for forty years – and about the strong bond, wonderful benefits and amazing relationships of a group of eleven girls who grew into ten women. The book, The Girls from Ames, shares the story of how friendship has endured moves, life changes, sickness, aging parents and even the loss of one of their girlfriends. It’s a touching reminder of why we NEED girlfriends.
The Wall St. Journal did an article on this book with some excellent facts on female friendship like:
- Like the Ames girls, millions of us have nurtured decades-long friendships, and we don’t always stop to recognize the power of these bonds. As we age, friendships can be crucial to our health and even our sanity. In fact, a host of scientific studies show that having a close group of friends helps people sleep better, improve their immune systems, stave off dementia and live longer.
- The research is clear about the positive implications of friendship. There was, for instance, a 14-year project at Flinders University in Australia that tracked 1,500 women as they aged. The study found that close friendships—even more than close family ties—help prolong women’s lives. Those with the most friends lived 22% longer than those with the fewest friends.
- All sorts of studies make similar points. Duke University researchers looked at hundreds of unmarried patients with coronary heart disease and found that, of those with close friends, 85% lived at least five years. That was double the survival rate of those lacking in friends.
- Gerontologists say longtime friends are often more understanding about health issues than family members are. Friends are more apt to acknowledge each other’s ailments without dwelling on them. The Ames girls do their share of talking about the aging process, but then they move on to the next conversation. And given how much they laugh, and how laughter is good for anyone’s health, they figure their time together is completely therapeutic.
A fun insight into this girlfriend group that jelled together as teens was their shared ‘crush’ on Rod Stewart, which makes this video of the girls/women even more fun:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4eLCUtrrYg[/youtube]
And check out their stories in The Girls from Ames: A story of women and a fory-year friendship, by Jeffrey Zaslow.