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5 Reasons girlfriends are important

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

What are friends for?

We all know friends are important, but recent research is starting to show the relationships we build with our gal pals could save our lives. Find out why.

Two friends

1Stress relief

From venting about your day at work to figuring out the men in your life, it's important to have someone to talk to when things go awry. Why? Because off-loading and, in effect, sharing your daily stressors with someone will help relieve some of the anxiety you feel yourself. And, because stress is toxic (it contributes to everything from heart disease to obesity), the less of it you experience, the healthier and happier you'll be.

2Feeling connected

Studies have shown that feeling connected to the world around you—socializing, going shopping, and taking part in events in your city—is good for your heart and helps stave off depression. One surefire way to get up and out is to hop from place to place with a friend. People tend to feel more comfortable when in pairs or large groups (versus staying solo).

3Confidence boosting

Are you having a fat day? Is that pimple on your chin getting you down? Did you get lectured by your boss? Whatever your self-esteem damaging problem is, it's time to take a deep breath and call a girlfriend. That's because the bond between friends helps a person feel valued and important. Simply chatting with a friend when you're down can boost your mood and help you see a situation in a new light.

4Learning new things

As we get older, we tend to become stuck in our ways; we're less apt to try new things. We're also more stubborn with our opinions. Indulging in some time with friends can stave off these changes. That's because friends help us learn new things about ourselves; they also open us up to new experiences and can offer fresh perspectives on problems.

5Love and loyalty

Whether you've spent tons of time building bonds with a girlfriend, or whether you're just building a relationship, having gal pals around will teach you how to love unconditionally and to remain loyal. You'll also learn the importance of trust (you can't go around spilling their secrets) and about being selfless (sometimes, regardless of what you want to be doing, a friend will need your last minute help).

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