I met my best friend in college, at the start of our freshman year. She was from New York and I was from Maine, and though we’d never met before we were assigned to be roommates, we immediately clicked.
After a few late nights of staying up, eating junk food, and talking about all the things, she quickly became my person. That was almost 25 years ago now, and to this day, I still have no idea what I’d do without her. She’s my soul mate; my rock; the one constant who’s seen me through some pretty tough stuff. And I believe I’m a better person because she’s in my life.
After you become a mother with a family of your own, life moves pretty fast. We both understand the demands we’re faced with every day and don’t take it personally if we go weeks (or months) without talking or seeing each other. But when we are able to connect, we always talk about how we feel so much better — like a fresh version of our best self. And it turns out, researchers have discovered that when you hang around someone who just gets you, it’s actually good for your health.
Here’s the story: A recent study held by The Northwestern University SuperAging Program looked at individuals over the age of 80 with “episodic memory ability at least as good as middle-age adults” (also known as “SuperAgers”) to try and determine what social or environmental factors help contribute to their better-than-average memory performance.
To do so, researchers took 50 elderly men and women — 31 of which were “SuperAgers” and 19 of which were “cognitively average elderly adults” — and had them fill out a 42- item survey. It wasn’t long before they found one common thread that stuck out among all SuperAgers: they all maintain healthy, meaningful friendships.
Not only does spending time with friends apparently make us feel great, but it’s actually good for our mind, too, which is even more of a reason to make spending time with your bestie a priority.
Hear that, moms? Better plan those girls’ nights and spend all the time you can with your BFF now, because it may actually help you in the long-run!
While more research still needs to be done, it’s certainly a reminder that we need to make time for what’s truly important in life, and clear our schedules to nurture those close friendships — even when we feel like life is swallowing us whole. That personal connection with someone who gets us is just what we need in those moments of overwhelm, and it’s okay to put something else off to catch up with a friend. In fact, it may be critical.
And on that note, BRB — I’m off to nail down a date with my friend. She’s been asking me to go to lunch for weeks and I keep playing the busy card. That ends now.