An Ode To My Girlfriends

she’s the one who got you food when you got dumped by the cute guy you met on social media; she’s the one who drank the most and partied the hardest at your bachelorette; she’s also the one who lent a patient ear to your 3 am distress calls. this friendship day, akanksha narang makes it a point to thank her girlfriends and explores why it is a must for every girl to keep her safety net strong!

You stumble across the hallway with heels in your hand, and dig into your bag for the keys. The sounds of laughter and incoherent words fill the air, and you shush each other to avoid waking up the neighbours. You throw your bag and change in your pyjamas, make some Maggi while discussing how those guys sucked at dancing. In a half-baked make-up, a messy top knot and worn-out clothes, you are hogging and laughing about the rest of the universe. And then the epiphany strikes—you’ve been looking for your better half all around when she’s right here with you!
The core of our existence is essentially happiness. And if you find true, perennial happiness in someone’s presence in your life, they are too important to let go of. Often, we put our heart, soul, time and energy into our romantic relationships that—either for short-term or long-term—we sideline our female support system.

The distance

Engulfed in romance, how often has it happened that you ditched your best friend to spend time with your boyfriend? Are you guilty of meeting your girl gang only when your husband has other plans? Rachel Koshy, believes that different phases come with their own set of priorities, “When I was in college, I invested most of my time in getting to know my best friend, more than I did in others. And that definitely strengthened our bond. Now, I can say we are inseparable no matter how much we fight. Similarly, it’s important to prioritise your relationship when it’s in the budding stage in order to make your bond stronger.”

Singled out

So, is that a bitter truth you just have to swallow and deal with? Shama Nimkar, a lifestyle journalist narrates her experience, “My best friend and I always used to be together like Siamese twins, and I was accustomed to having her complete focus. When she got into a relationship, the amount of time I got reduced in half and there were moments when I needed her but she was genuinely busy with her relationship. I was honestly, having a platonic heartbreak! However, after a year of her investment into her love life, she made several efforts to be there for me, love me and pamper me in my bad times. I realised we are indeed inseparable friends and nothing can change that.”
The way you prioritise your child after pregnancy, the relationship is like your baby that you need to nurture. What’s more, finding a balance is necessary but not exactly a piece of cake. Koshy further explains, “I barely get time with my boyfriend, because it’s only rare when our schedules match. However, when your relationship matures, the equilibrium is established again, and you just pick it up from where you left.”

Comfort zone

Your girlfriends form a safety net and cushion your fall. They know your poop timings, your idiosyncrasies and annoying habits that make you ‘you’. While being in a rosy place in your love-life is great, you also need your time to detox from the love bug! Aradhana Asher, a 35-year-old teaching professional who has been married for 10 years believes it’s important to have your own circle of friends, “You can chill out with your friends, take a break from routine and not be in charge. It really helps, especially if you have kids. There are certain things you can discuss only with your female friends, let your hair down and indulge in guilt-free gossip.”

Confidante for life

Shruti had worked all day, and returned home to find out her husband had to extend his work trip. She woke up every two hours, as her baby cried to be changed and fed. Tired and sleep-deprived Shruti picked her phone and called Ahana, her best friend. After having laughed, shared and ranted, Shruti felt light. How many of you indulge in productive exchange of information when it comes to the knitty-gritty of relationships? Women discuss a lot! You know not only your own but also your best friend’s partner very well. Often, you don’t need advice but just someone to hear you out. Alisha Nagar, a 27-year-old techie, however points out the need to set boundaries. “I do share a lot with my best friend, however, some things should remain within the relationship. You don’t want your partner to not be able to trust you with secrets.”

Two peas in a pod

Your BFF is designed and comprises pretty much the same hormones as yours. While your PMS may put your husband/partner on thin ice, your best friend immediately becomes your source of warmth. The bonds of similarity pave way for deep connections and an almost intuitive understanding of each other. Melissa Rozario, who is currently single and on the other side of the fence, believes you cannot force your husband into every role, “I have friends who have set all their expectations on one person, which only sets the pressure for everything to crumble down. Your partner cannot substitute your girlfriends and vice versa. The way you unwind with your childhood bestie, the things she knows about you and your unfiltered opinions proves that without her you’d be lost.”

Having friends means better health

When people experience stress, the hormone cortisol is released, an infamous trigger of several health issues. On the other hand, the cocoon of warmth and close bonds make women produce more oxytocin, the happy hormone which acts like an antidote for cortisol. When confronted with a difficult situation, women tend to seek comfort and support in their social circle. What’s more, it’s worth noting that according to a study on breast cancer, it was found that women who had a strong female group had better chances of survival.

Guys, buckle up!

It is indeed difficult to manage your romantic life and your platonic friendships; however, with the help of an understanding partner, it can be made easier. If your spouse hogs all your attention or puts up a cry-baby face every time you make plans with your bestie, it’s time to sit him down and explain! The happier you are, the happier you’ll make your spouse. Invest in your identity, your individual social circle and the people who make you feel at home! It will be the best gift you’ll give yourself.

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