Women tend to live longer than men, and there may come a time in the life of a couple when the wife is left all alone. This can be devastating if she’s been dependent on her spouse for emotional support when things go wrong.
Having a girlfriend network – whether it’s just a few friends or a large gaggle of them – is an important factor in achieving quality longevity and future happiness for women.
In Okinawa, Japan, centenarian women stay connected with lifelong circles of friends called a “moai.” The group commits to provide support and camaraderie to each other as they age.
The members of the moai, who have known each other for decades, help each other solve problems, manage emotional crises and reduce stress.
It’s easy to become isolated as we grow older. Children leave, we retire from our jobs, and we cut off ties that are related to both. Some of us stay busy, but others end up sitting alone in front of the TV, feeling depressed.
Below are seven reasons to form a girlfriend network as we age.
Typically, women are more receptive to sharing their feelings and feel more comfortable opening up to other women for advice. They can help each other in times of need, whether it’s bringing over a home-cooked meal or spending leisure time together in a spa.
Girlfriends often work together on projects to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. For many years, I’ve met with friends every week at a coffeehouse and we plan charity projects that we carry out several times a year. Each time we meet, we donate a dollar or two to put in a kitty to be given to someone in need.
Women enjoy having fun together. They may go out together to watch a chick-flick or fashion event that their male partners want nothing to do with. Plus, it’s nice to get away and see the world through a feminine perspective.
Retirement doesn’t mean retiring from life. Many women have dreams to start their own businesses or take on meaningful projects later in life. They can empower each other to achieve their goals by offering feedback and support along the way.
Often, women become caregivers to their parents, friends or family members. This takes a toll after a while, and assistance from friends who care is vital to make sure the caregiver doesn’t burn out.
Going through a personal illness when you’re alone is difficult. Girlfriends are important to help with doctor appointments, patient advocacy and emotional support.
Women understand what’s going on with their bodies and can relate to each other when a friend has a hot flash, grows chin hairs or has difficulty dealing with sex and relationships. It’s easier to talk to each other about these topics than to a man or doctor who may make their feelings seem insignificant.
There are many other reasons why forming a girlfriend network is important to enrich women’s lives.
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