I’m always fully aware of how much I appreciate my friends, but there’s something about summer that really sends that sentiment home.
My theory is that it’s the automatic pull to slow down and hang out; as a kid, whether you went to camp or stayed home, friendships were cemented poolside, lakeside, in bunks, plopped down in front of the TV, at the ice cream stand, in backyards, and on beaches — all of the places we went when the school year receded and time to bond was left in its wake.
Now that I’m a grown-up, the urgency to connect with my BBFs (Best Bitches Forever) comes from a slightly different place: stress. Making time to catch up with friends — which definitely is more possible in the summer months — is just what the doctor ordered to take life down a notch.
And by “just what the doctor ordered,” I am being literal: there is a ton of clinical research supporting the idea that gals need pals. A landmark study by Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor revealed that women are “hard-wired for friendship” as a hormonal response to stress: when the anxiety-causing cocktail of cortisol and epinephrine kicks in, our lady hormones (particularly oxytocin, but also reproductive ones, too) rush to the rescue…. and create the common female stress response of “tending and befriending.” Men, on the other hand, with their dinky doses of oxytocin, have the opposite response: they tend to escape stressful situations by fighting back or shutting down.