Life

This is how often you should be seeing your best friend, according to science

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Megan Murray
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We should be scheduling in quality time with our best friends regularly, and doing so could improve our mental well being and life expectancy. 

We never need another excuse to spend time with the women we love. However, there’s now actual scientific research which has confirmed something which we’ve long suspected: spending a certain amount of time with your friends doesn’t just boost our happiness, but our health, too.

We already know that having a tight network of female friendships can help us progress in our careers and that having a variety of friends from different walks of life brings a unique joy to our lives. But this new research hones in on exactly how much time we should be spending with our pals, to reap all of these benefits and more.

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From concentrating on our careers, to making the most of travel opportunities, to getting some hours in at the gym, we’re all guilty of letting the weeks go by with proper quality time scheduled in with our friends. According to researchers at The University of Oxford, though, we should be seeing friends twice a week. At least.

As Dr. Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford, told Huff Post: “Having a large, well-integrated social network has a significant impact on both physical and emotional health.”

How female friendship benefits your mind and health
How female friendship benefits your mind and health

He continued to explain that for women having strong friendships is particularly important because it impacts their coping mechanism, which is a lot more effective when they have other women to confide in.

Not only does this benefit their mental health, but investing in friendships has a tangible effect on life expectancy too. In fact, Dunbar says there are a number of physical benefits: “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.”

Researchers say “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” to optimise these benefits.

So we think it’s about time you sent this article to your Whatsapp group, and get a date in the diary, pronto.

Images: Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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