Every woman has done it, and every woman has had it done to her—the minute you start a new relationship, your girlfriends are pushed to the back burner. But no matter how wonderful the man, it’s unlikely he’ll ever replace that much-needed time with friends, whether it’s bonding over the season finale of The Bacheloretteor a heart-to-heart over coffee. After all, says Carmen Renee Berry, MSW, coauthor of Girlfriends: Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties, women (much like men) speak their own language. But more than that, our girlfriends are the family we choose for ourselves. Below, a few reasons—some silly, some serious—why we’ll always need one another.
If you want to share the experience of shopping with someone, says Berry, rather than have someone follow you around, bring a girlfriend. Plus, no matter how wonderful your partner is, he will never grasp why the choice between red alligator and red patent leather pumps is oh-so-important.
2. Group Therapy
Whatever issue you’re facing (relationship, work, general breakdown), there’s no better fix than the unique perspectives of your friends. Plus, Berry says, “You don’t have to explain much for a group of girlfriends to know exactly what you mean.”
3. Bethenny Getting Married—or Any Reality TV Show
No matter how hard we try to change their minds, men have long deemed our guilty pleasure intolerable. But that’s OK. Your man doesn’t have to have all the same interests as you. Instead, use it as the perfect excuse to get together with your friends on a regular basis.
4. Girls Night Out (or In)
Whatever the evening’s events, sometimes even just the pre-party can ignite the insightful, rejuvenating conversation you didn’t even know you longed for. Plus, just being in the presence of a group of people who love, support and complement you can give you a sense of playful freedom, often bringing out a side of you that you forgot was there.
Boys will be boys, and sometimes their can’t-read-your-mind responses prompt the need to commiserate. On the other hand, sometimes they deserve a round of applause—and nothing serves as a better reminder of how lucky in love you are than a sigh from your girlfriends as you recap his most recent romantic gesture.
6. Sex and Body Talk
You may have a question your boyfriend or husband wouldn’t know the answer to, Berry explains. Not to mention, somewhere deep inside, you want your love interest to continue seeing you as the goddess he did when you first met, which might make discussing your most recent yeast infection a bad idea.
7. Dance Therapy
When there’s no holding back, dancing takes on a whole new realm of possibilities. And, while there are plenty of perks to getting down with a group of super-fun guys, there’s nothing like getting your groove on with ladies who won’t care how sweaty you’ve gotten by the end of the night.
8. For the Truth…When Nobody Else Will Give It to You
Ultimately you want friends who make you feel good about yourself, but it’s nice to be able to ask a question and receive an honest response—whether it’s regarding those unflattering low-rise pants or that boy who will never fit in with your family. But Berry warns, “The point of constructive criticism is to improve the life of your girlfriend—not to be a ruse for trying to make her change.”
9. Because They Can Relate To You
You need people who, for better or worse, have been through what you’ve been through. After all, wisdom derives from experience. But either way, ladies tend to listen, explains Berry, while men feel the need to solve a problem. When her garbage disposal broke, Berry says, “My girlfriend listened while I lamented, and I felt much better; my male friend showed up at my door with a new garbage disposal, which he promptly installed.”
10. To Be a Better Girlfriend
It’s important to do things separately—whether vacations, dinners, etc.—because you’ll be a better woman, girlfriend or wife for it. A woman with her own network of friends will naturally be less codependent on her partner, which helps nurture a positive relationship. Plus, it’s unrealistic to expect to get everything you need from one person all the time, explains Berry.