Friendships are a bridge for support, strength and love. Jesus said: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Our friends can't be perfect like Christ, but He's an example of an extraordinary friend, who the disciples adored. God doesn't want us to be isolated and He wants us to have social ties. Yet, a problem is brewing and it contradicts what God wants for us. More people are becoming more remote. "The evidence shows that Americans have fewer confidants and those ties are also more family-based than they used to be,” said Lynn Smith-Lovin, professor of sociology at Duke University. The change is not healthy for society. The numbers are grim according to a study by the American Sociological Review. There has been an increase from 57 percent to 80 percent over the last couple of decades of people abstaining from being social. Having a connection with someone is incredibly beneficial. Here are 6 reasons that you need a gal pal.

It makes you feel less alone.

The story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, is a remarkable example of why it's important to have a friend. Ruth refused to let Naomi to be completely alone and helped her survive as a widow. Ruth stuck with Naomi to make sure she was cared for and that is an incredible gift to offer someone. Ruth 1:16-17 said: “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” A friend can't be there all the time, but when they are, there is a sense power and solidarity.

It helps the body.

The American Psychological Association found that friendships are beneficial to our minds, spirits and bodies. It can boost the immune system, the memory, intuition, helps with fear and makes you a delightful person. We are overly interconnected to the world through technology and we need to make a choice to disconnect from this to live more in the moment and to invest more time with loved ones. People with stronger social connections were 50 percent more likely to live longer than those with weaker connections. That makes the impact of friendlessness comparable to that of smoking.

It encourages socialization.

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, said we need to take a deeper look at the power of social connections. "The effect of this is comparable to obesity, something that public health takes very seriously." We are at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, "But we're at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet,” added Tim Smith, Ph.D., a professor of counseling psychology and special education at Brigham Young University. One reason for this isolation epidemic is social media. You can't really have a deep relationship with someone online. Continuously checking Facebook or Twitter throughout the day takes away from investing in a quality friendship in your life. Instead of social media, text a gal and have coffee or go shopping.

It helps with stress.

"Women tend and befriend," said Shelley E. Taylor, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UCLA. "They respond to stress by protecting, nurturing, and seeking support from others. This pattern regulates the seeking, giving, and receipt of social support." This pattern also will help with stress. Overall there are an estimated 8.3 million American adults who suffer from stress. With all the uncertainty in the world, people are not only feeling the pressure in their personal lives but in their culture. We live in stressful times and we need friends to help us and we are to help them as well.

They will be honest.

A good friend will be honest with you about your life. They offer praise, insight and constructive criticism. A true friend will not be afraid to tell you when you’re in the wrong and they will listen to your concerns. We are very much influenced by the people in our lives. If you are around people who don't hold you accountable and are not honest, they are not good friends. Proverbs 13:20 shared the following about the company that we keep. "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." Honesty also means being loyal and to have a true gal pal, you know that they would never backstab you and will go to bat for you as demanded.

They will allow you to vent.

You can't vent to your hubby and know that he understands you. This is why you need a good female friend that you can relate to. Women sometimes can relate to each other better because we share the same struggles with life, work life and parenting. Don't get upset with your hubby for not understanding what is going on as he thinks differently and more logically. 

What a gift to have a friend who can offer advice and empathize with you. They are a treasure once you permanently find them.
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