When we’re kids, we sometimes take lots of things for granted, like the fact that we go to school and see our buddies every day. Srsly, raise your hand if the thing you miss most about college was how easy it was to see your friends — you lived together, dined together, studied together and maybe got friendship tattoos together. It was all so easy once upon a time. Then, BAM, real life happened.
Between interviews, meetings, reports, sometimes marriage + babies, getting everyone’s busy adult schedules together can be a huge challenge. But it’s deeply important to make time for your friends (school friends + the ones you made post-college). One person who knows that better than anyone is Sophia Rivka Rossi, the CEO of HelloGiggles, a website she co-founded with her own besties, Molly McAleer and Zooey Deschanel, and she’s speaking at Re:Make 2015 in SF (snag tickets here!). To get you pumped up about seeing Sophia at Re:Make, we thought we’d talk friendship for a sec. Here are seven seriously valid reasons why keeping in touch with your friends is important — even for the too-busy-to-text-back girlbosses out there.
1. It’s a fact: Friends make everything more fun. A 2011 study published in the Developmental Psychology Journal showed that having your best friend present can actually buffer the effects of negative experiences. Your body will actually produce less cortisol (the stress hormone) and your sense of global self-worth is higher with a buddy around. So, next time you’ve got a dentist appointment, you know what to do.
2. Your BFFs give you perspective. Friends often give the best advice because they 1) care about you and 2) can offer a third-party perspective on a problem so you can see things more clearly. Your BFF probably had a gut feeling your ex was no good and told you so — in fact, you maybe had several gut-wrenching convos that helped you excavate why it was a toxic relationship. A 2010 study showed that happiness is related to having deeper, substantive conversation rather than small talk. So, call your friend and dig deep.
3. Besties provide comfort and support — sometimes crucially. Having a strong support system, whether it’s to cheer you on with DIY posters when you’re competing in a marathon or to sit at your bedside when you’re sick, is crucial for well-being. So crucial, in fact, that a 2010 study of 146 studies (that’s 308, 849 participants) showed “a 50% increased likelihood of survival for participants with stronger social relationships” over those with weak ones. So, no matter how busy you might be, maintaining friendships is so important — your life may depend on it.
4. Hugs make everything (actually) better. Science has shown that physical touch is incredibly important to normal development for babies and other organisms. That’s why doctors always tout skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby right after birth to help with bonding. Well, having a bestie give you a hug is also super important for your health. Regular hugging releases oxytocin, the happy hormone, in your brain and can positively affect you for the long-term. Yup, it can actually turn a pessimist into an optimist.
5. Friends have your back against bullies. One reason to have besties is because they have your back when you can’t defend yourself. A 2014 study published in Development Psychology showed that children form friendships with those who have similar methods of defending against bullying, and grow even more alike with time. We surround ourselves with people who will stand up for us the same way that we would stand up for ourselves. Like recognizes like, amirite?
6. Buds keep you laughing. It’s an old adage: Laughter is the best medicine. But it’s true. Humor has been proven to reduce physical pain, strengthen your immune system and even trigger your creativity. You and your besties probably have treasure troves of inside jokes, and you make one another laugh so hard it hurts to breathe. That’s why you need to keep them around.
7. Celebrate the good times. Celebrating one another has been proven to be good for your relationships — with our romantic partner, with your kids and otherwise. Whether it’s a birthday celebration that makes you feel cherished by your loved ones or even just your BFF telling you that you are the kindest person they know, it’s these moments of recognition that help you build emotional intimacy, trust and overall a healthier outlook on life.
So, send out that Google invite for a girls’ night out, make a phone call to a long-distance friend or shoot your BFFs a funny group text. It’s time to hang out.
Pssst… get your tickets to Re:Make 2015 here!
How do you keep in touch with your besties? Share with us in the comments below.