Irene interviewed by Women’s Health Magazine

Published: August 18, 2009 | Last Updated: October 15, 2009 By | Reply Continue Reading

When Your BFF Goes MIA

September 2009

Women rely on their girlfriends to celebrate life’s ups and survive its downs. That’s why having a once-loyal sidekick slip away can hurt like hell. Learn how to crazyglue the bonds of friendship.

By Leslie Goldman

From the moment I spied Jordan,* with her dark hair and kooky glasses, on our first day of college orientation, I knew she would be That Friend. The one who would listen to me blubber after my dating disasters and have me laughing my ass off by the end of the night. The one who would huff beside me at the gym and go along with many ill-fated experiments, like our infamous Friday Night Jell-O Shot Dinner Party. And for a long time, she was.

But in addition to having a wicked sense of humor and a life-of-the-party aura, Jordan was a consummate flake, a quality that came into sharp focus after college, when work demands made girls’ night trickier to plan. We both got married, and while my husband and I remained happily child-free, she got pregnant right away. We lived about five minutes away from each other, yet I saw her about as often as Amy Winehouse changes her eyeliner. Soon my real-life BFF was nothing more than a postage-stamp-sized photo on my Facebook page.

Buds on the rocks

Behind the warm fuzzies of women’s friendship lies this reality: Even the most loyal friend can expect to lose many pals over the course of her life, says Irene S. Levine, Ph. D., author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Break-up with Your Best Friend. Losses can be triggered by moves, marriage and pregnancy, evolving interests or career changes, or something as serious as X sleeping with Y when Y belongs to U.

Which is too bad, because friendships have benefits that reach far
beyond having someone to go dancing with until 2 a.m. "When we’re with
friends, we talk, we laugh, we’re active, we hug, we have skin contact.
All of these can increase endorphin and serotonin production and lower
blood pressure, encouraging better health and longevity," says Mary Jo
Barrett, M. S. W., director of Chicago’s Center for Contextual Change.
Last year Harvard researchers reported that strong social ties protect
against memory loss as we age.

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