Stretch 10 Reasons Girlfriends Are the Best Girlfriends are your sounding board, your shoulder to cry on, your tough love, and your love when it’s tough—and with them you’ll always have more fun. By Olivia June Photo by Eesign Ecologist Girlfriends: It’s safe to say that they’ve seen you at your best…and your worst. They’ve cheered you on, wiped your tears, gassed you up on social media and have met your questionable ex. They’ve stuck around when times got tough, reminding us time and time again how valuable they are to our well-being. “Our friendships contribute to and promote happier and more fulfilling lives,” explains Miriam Kirmayer, therapist and friendship researcher. Read on for the top 10 reasons girlfriends are simply the best—and then go call your closest girlfriend to tell her how much you love her. Girlfriends help you grow. They say you become like the people who surround you, so take a look at the friendships you’ve had in your life. Girlfriends are the anchors that help you evolve, grow and shift as a person, all while keeping you stable. Make sure to surround yourself with people whose qualities you admire—the power of time will have you adopting these as your own. They give support no matter what. Girlfriends are there for the good, the bad, and the ugly—with no judgment. Sure, they’ll give their opinion on the happenings in your life, but at the end of the day, they accept you for you and support the decisions you make. No matter how many times you vent to them about anything and everything, you know that they’re to listen, or just to text you the hysterical meme you needed to see. You can be perfectly you around them. Life is hard enough without having a group of friends with whom you can be 100 percent yourself around. When you can be comfortable in complete silence, or share your deepest notions, or even break out in a hysterical karaoke night, those moments are some of the greatest gifts. It’s relaxing being able to be so free, and having girlfriends who allow you to do so recharges your psyche and mental well-being. You get group wisdom. One person has less life experience and wisdom than a collective—so use your girlfriends’ insight to your advantage. You all share your stories to each other à la Sex and the City, so be a sponge and learn from their professional and personal know-how. It’s a great way to catapult off everyone’s building blocks and steer yourself toward the goals you want! They help combat loneliness. A nationwide survey found that nearly half of the U.S. feels alone, especially younger generations. With the loneliness epidemic sweeping the nation, you can combat that by leaning in to your girl gang. Whatever you’re feeling or going through, knowing that you’re not alone is one of the most important steps in changing your mindset. When you have girlfriends you can reach out to during hard times, the feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression loosen their grip on you enough to see that you can overcome it. Make sure you have that support group you need (and if you’re looking to meet new girlfriends, try the Hey! VINA app). They remind you the beauty of being a woman. So you have a special someone in your life, but they don’t always understand the hardships and advantages of being a woman. Try as your partner might (and we appreciate that!), girlfriends are the ones that get it because they’re in it. When your ideas get glossed over at work in favor of a male colleagues’ (even though yours were better), or when the awful cramps come monthly like clockwork, or when you find yourself in awe of the great sense of community between women—you can contemplate all of this with the women who understand. And that’s the best feeling. They make time for you. There’s an unspoken rule of sisterhood that all girlfriends adhere to—and that’s the golden rule of time. In a society where everything is so fast paced, over-stimulated, and demanding, time is a valuable gem in everyone’s lives. Girlfriends who unselfishly hand you this treasure at a moment’s notice are true friends, and you should make sure they stick around for a long time! They remind you that tough love is good love. Girlfriends pamper and spoil you, but the best ones also hand out tough love when needed. It might feel harsh during the moment, but you know they have your best interest at heart. Sometimes you get so into your own head, you don’t see the disaster you’re heading toward—and that’s when they step in. They’ll set you straight so they can go back to being your source of comfort and enjoyment. That’s elastic love, and we’re all for it. Girls just wanna have fun. Sometimes you just have to let loose, and you know exactly who to call! When there’s a promotion at work, an amazing (or disastrous) first date, or you just need to blow off some steam from the work week, you know you can text your group chat to coordinate a girl’s night out. There’s nothing sweeter like knowing your catwoman call will be answered by some of the best (and most entertaining) people you know. They’re your SO without the drama. Many romantic relationships come and go, but girlfriends are forever. Like the Christina to your Meredith, they really are your person, and stick around through thick and thin. They love you, support you, cry with you, get mad on your behalf, and lift you up—all without the drama and entanglement of an SO. If that’s not true love, we don’t know what is. Have you been appreciating your girl gang lately? Our friends at Hey! VINA, the free social discovery app for women to meet new friends that’s connected over 8 million friends around the world, are sharing the top 10 reasons girlfriends are an important asset in your life. Hey! VINA knows firsthand the importance of finding your community—it’s why the app features 30 communities for vinas to join and swipe in, including Yogis, Runners, Athletes, Jetsetters, Expats and Volunteers. Hey! VINA is available for iOS and Android. Follow them on social media @vinazine. — Olivia June is the founder & CEO of Hey! VINA, the friend-finding app for women that’s connected more than 8 million friends around the world. She’s obsessed with meeting new friends, connecting people, social psychology, and is passionate about empowering women around the world. She wants to help everyone live their best lives, and most importantly, have a lot of fun getting there! Follow her @heyoliviajune.