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Love Sex

Why it's important to keep your girlfriends

Most women say that their friendships with other women are among the most significant in their lives. Sure, your family knows you too, but with them you play a certain role, while female friends allow you to be yourself.

Here are seven ways to keep existing friendships strong and develop quality new ones:

1: Run away together:

Invite friends on retreats, perhaps to a health farm, a country vineyard, or a road trip to somewhere you've both always wanted to go.

2: Eat out:

Not much beats talking it all out over dinner with the girls. Women's tendency to 'tend and befriend' — to comfort and support each other — explains why they live an average of 7½ years longer than men. Stress has a way of dissipating when women surround themselves with women.

3: Nix negative emotions:

Issues involving envy and competition are insidious for women's friendships. Recognise those feelings and try to handle them openly.

4: Share your feelings:

It's important to not only listen to your friends, but also to confide your thoughts and experiences with them. When someone opens up to you, it's a gift. It says, "I trust you."

5: Just saying "You're important to me":

Or "I value our relationship," can strengthen a friendship.

6: Stock up on 'thank-you', 'congratulations' and ‘well done' cards:

Remember how you feel when a good word is sent your way and be generous in your compliments to others - little kindnesses oil the wheels that make friendships go round.

7: Expand your circle:

A good first step is to think of someone you know casually — at work, or a neighbour — and ask her out for coffee. Book clubs can also be great friendship builders. You end up talking to all sorts of different people on topics that would never come up in a regular conversation.

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