Every woman knows that there is nothing quite like a girl's night. Being able to meet up with a group of girlfriends to share dinner and a few drinks while reconnecting with your friends is so much fun, and definitely something that most women would say they don't do nearly enough. Work, kids and other responsibilities often take priority over many women taking the time to enjoy a few hours of much needed girl bonding, but one researcher is saying that not only should women prioritize girl's nights, but they should be doing them twice a week in the name of better health.
Robin Dunbar is a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University who says that not only is prioritizing social interaction with your friends good for your health, but so is gossiping while you do it. He says that going out with friends twice a week to actually 'do stuff' which can be engaging in a sporting event, having dinner and drinks, meeting for coffee and yes, gossiping is actually good for your health!
“The figure of twice a week comes from our findings that this is the amount of time that you typically spend with your closest friends/family,” Dr Dunbar explained to The Huffington Post. “For both sexes (no surprise) having a large, well-integrated social network has a significant impact on both physical and emotional health. People with larger and/or more integrated networks suffer less illness, recover quicker from surgery, are less likely to die — and even their children are less likely to die.”
Dunbar even told the Vancouver Sun that gossiping shouldn't be frowned on as something negative that women do when they get together, because it's simply an act of human nature. He said that gossiping allows us to know who we should trust.
"The most important thing that will prevent you dying is the size of the social network," Dunbar said. "That has a bigger effect than anything, except giving up cigarettes."
"The problem we have is how to maintain our social networks. Language evolved to allow us to keep the oil of the social network flowing, keep us up to date, and tell stories, which is really important for community cohesion. Gossiping is just chatting with people and keeping up to date with the social world in which you live. So gossip is what makes us human, he said, before adding that gossip wasn't always seen as negative. "The use of gossip in a negative sense is not seen until the 18th century."
Mom guilt is very real and often keeps women from taking time for themselves. While a twice weekly girl's night may not be realistic or even feasible for many women, it does show that taking time even once every week or once a month to have some bonding time with friends is not only good for your soul, but good for your health too.