If you’re a guy reading this, I apologize in advance. This is about chicks. Not hot botox babes with shiny lip gloss but about girlfriends, the kind that I can spend an afternoon with when I’m not wearing make-up and maybe not shoes – even if I haven’t had a pedicure. The kind that I belly laugh with and then cry alongside when one gets divorced or another’s child is struggling to learn to read.

The older I get, the more enjoyment I receive from connecting with girlfriends. Sometimes we meet for lunch, sometimes for a prayer and sometimes over the space of a couple days. And yes, we share and laugh and connect at a deep level and I’m convinced that it improves my mental health.

In doing my research for this post, I was surprised that the health benefits of friendship are expressed as a universal truth. I was unable to uncover any clandestine study indicating that health would deteriorate with increased friendships but also very few studies supporting the value of friendships on the immune system.

Yes, there is a piece of psychological research that studied the effects of friendship on stressed-out hamsters with skin wounds. Not surprisingly, when paired with other hamsters, they healed faster than those left alone to heal. Hamsters with friends also produce less of the stress hormone cortisol, which has negative effects on immunity.

I’m definitely not up for being compared to a hamster with skin wounds but I am willing to accept a universal truth that healthy friendships do in fact, improve my life. I might even succumb to the fact that some of those friendships are with men. But the unfortunate fact is that when I get busy between work and family and other obligations, I’m quick to slide those friendships to the back burner. So what are some ways to insure that friendships remain vibrant and relevant to an abundant schedule?

  • Go to a zumba class together or meet at the trailhead for a hike.
  • Meet at the pedicure shop and get chairs side by side.
  • Stroll through a Friday night art walk together
  • Invite them to lunch or over for a meal

So, tonight I’m trying to replicate an amazing dish. And if I’m successful, I’ll wash off my make up and invite a couple of friends to share…

Broccoli Raab Pesto
Courtesy of Desert Roots Farm
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound broccoli raab, stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 12 tortillas, 10 – 12 inches in diameter

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 Tbs kosher salt. Add the broccoli raab and cook until tender – about 7 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain well. In food processor: with the motor running, drop the garlic. Add the broccoli raab and pumpkin seeds and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mustard and blend well. Drizzle in the oil. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in parmesan.

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  1. If you’re a guy reading this, I apologize in advance. This is about chicks. Not hot botox babes with shiny lip gloss but about girlfriends, the kind that I can spend an afternoon with when I’m not wearing make-up and maybe not shoes – even if I haven’t had a pedicure. The kind that I belly laugh with and then cry alongside when one gets divorced or another’s child is struggling to learn to read.

    I was a guy reading this blog and you don’t have to apologize.

    I have been married to the girl you have just described for twenty years now.

    It has been a very blessed twenty years.

  2. I agree wholeheartely, emphatically, and emotionally to this post. My girlfriends (and, to be fair, a few guyfriends) help make me believe life is worth living and I am worth living it. I’m working really hard on maintaining these ties consistently. And I also really like your pesto, as the traditional version doesn’t do it for me sadly!

  3. This post made me smile, especially: “the kind that I can spend an afternoon with when I’m not wearing make-up and maybe not shoes – even if I haven’t had a pedicure.”

    I never wear make-up
    Or shoes if I can help it
    I’ve never had a pedicure
    Or a manicure

    And . . . my BFF is a guy. 🙂

    Friendships, which allow us to be exactly who we are, are worth their weight in gold.

  4. I like Nancy even though she’s not wearing make up or shoes and has natural-looking nails 😀

    Brilliant post, Tammy. I love my girlfriends, even though Phil’s my closest friend. They are such superlative empathisers….

  5. Lisa

     /  February 4, 2011

    Great girlfriends are life-blood to a healthy and fulfilling life. My dearest friends are those that I can call, literally, for just a minute to hear their voice. We share good, bad and normal together, whether over the phone or over a cup of coffee. They keep us sane, let us know we really are OK, and love us entirely. I am forwarding your post to each of them, as you have beautifully written what it truly is to be “friend.”

    And your pesto? I cannot wait to try it out! Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, my broccoli raab did not sprout this year. If it did, I would have to hide it as soon as it blooms, as the kids and their friends eat it right off the stalk! (This is a great “problem” to have!).

  6. Debbie Bedoya

     /  February 4, 2011

    This is so true. What a great way for me to start my day off. I’m laughing out loud. Gonna call my girls to make a date!

  7. This post struck a chord. There aren’t too many people who have seen me sans makeup. This past summer I decided that was ridiculous and purposefully pushed myself to not wear makeup when we had friends over. Guess what?? No one screamed in terror or ran from the room! I realized they didn’t care if had makeup on, or shoes or if my house was spotless. This is something I am still working on.

    I do need to nurture my friendships better and that is a goal for myself this year.

  8. True friendships, no matter if with girlfriends or guy-friends, are priceless and so rare to find. They really do help make us happier, and I have to admit to having them on the back burner myself… I’m working on changing that though! 🙂


  9. But not all men like botox babes with shiny lip gloss making duck faces in every picture. Real men like classy and elegant women, who are beautiful from the inside as well as outside. I am happy to know that you have good friends that bring you joy … having friends and mingling with other people is an important need for our overall psychological well being 🙂

    • So happy to hear that you are amongst the men who like real women.

      • of course darling … real women are hard to find, most are too involved and worried about pleasing and fitting into society … no individual/unique personality … most of them (men and women alike) just go with the flow never thrive toward a different noteworthy goal and ambition.

        However, many of them are really classy and elegant … at least at first glance 🙂

  10. God bless women friends. Amazing how we happily take an hour to express something that could be said in a sentence. Who cares? That’s not the point. My friends’ voices are medicinal. Never mind their wise counsel.

  11. Tammy, I love reading this post. You said it all! Girlfriends are PRECIOUS! I treasure them!

  12. sounds like a great meal to share with great friends! 🙂

  13. lol, apology accepted 😀
    Friendship improving health, now that does make sense. we humans are after all social creatures.
    Ooh pesto, i could eat that stuff with practically anything

  14. Wow Tammy! You really created a long string of great comments! I love what Lisa said about “good, bad and normal”. Me too, I love my girlfriends and my sisters for just that. I love to travel with my girlfriends when we can get away, even for an overnight. It is so much fun to laugh while wearing pajamas.
    Also, I have been in a women’s circle for 13 years. My “Moon Circle” meets on the full moon every month. This means I see them more than I see a lot of people, because that regularity brings a surety into our gathering that can’t be switched out for another responsibility. Sure, one of us might miss it once in a while, but we have never, ever missed noticing the moon, contacting each other to create our gathering where we are together, good, bad and normal.

    Thanks for the post! All my love, Suzi

    • Oh Suzi, I love the idea of your womanly circle meeting on the full moon of every month. I have a woman’s prayer group that I have been participating in this year and I feel so close to each of them even though I haven’t known them for a long time. Thanks for stopping by Suzi.

  15. I don’t know how you get inspired to write your topics, but don’t stop. They’re a source inspiration and mediation (taking time to slow down and ponder your message) I agree with everything you wrote, I am blessed to have a few close friends to count on and its very empowering to know they are there.

  16. good reminder.

  17. Friends, girls or guys, are so precious for all the good and less good moments you share freely. Either around a table, during a walk or in a letter, the moments you spend together are slices of life that build long lasting friendships. I love this blog, Tammy. Thank you.

  18. “Hamsters With Friends” would be a great blog/band name

  19. Eric

     /  February 7, 2011

    Do hamsters without friends get topical cream? Friends make happy. Happy is good for the heart. When its good for the heart, it must be good all over. I always enjoy your writing, sister. E

  20. That’s great that you have such grand girl friends!! It is much better having a few really good ones than 10 that you don’t know that much!

    This is a grand & lovely written post, dear Tammy!

    I love broccoli raab & especially pesto of it!! How clever you are!!!

    MMMMMMM,…Kisses from Brussels to you!

  21. Tiffany Anderson

     /  February 7, 2011

    My life is enriched in so many ways thanks to your friendship. It makes a simple prayer become a deeper form of communion and connection.

  22. Oh, that pesto sounds incredible! Too bad broccoli raab doesn’t exist here. 😦

  23. Kath (Eating for Living)

     /  February 7, 2011

    Good friendships are so pprecious and enrich your life so much! They also make me feel that there’s more about life than just going for my own things. Those friendships have brought a lot of happiness and occasions to grow.

  24. As I have grown older, the connections with my girlfriends–now spanning decades!–have become more important–such a supportive part of my history, and my unfoldment. at the same time, that circle of friendship widens, as more people enter my life–out in the world, here on line. it’s a source of wonder and joy,
    part of why we are here.

    a kind and open hearted post, thanks Tammy!

  25. This is so true. I am just really realizing it as of late. I think it’s easy to expect that type of friendship from your husband, but marriage is so much more enjoyable when you spend time with your same-sex friends.

    Great post, Tammy!

  26. Love this post. It reminds me that I don’t make enough time to spend with my girlfriends. I am going to call my best friend today, she makes me laugh like no one else I know. She thinks I am so funny I should have my own TV show. Gosh, I just love her!

    Speaking of love, I can not wait to try the broccoli rabe pesto. That sounds yummy.

  27. You’re so lucky to have a group of friends to do stuff with.
    We moved around so much and since I never had kids, I never found a niche with a group of friends. I’ve always hung out with the guys. Not bad but really… you do need to have the girls to talk to. Thank goodness I have my sister!… Oh! .. and my bloggy friends of course 🙂

  28. The pesto looks awesome! Look so forward to making it. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  29. I love this post. I treasure my girlfriends–deeply!

  30. yes friends get you through so much, we are humbled by our friendships in this time of Yasi, just to let you know we are alive and you can read about the cyclone and aftermath on my blog. So much to do.

    • Hallelujah June! I am so happy to hear from you. Just talking about you with my husband today and saying I hadn’t heard anything.

  31. Naomi

     /  February 18, 2011

    Oh yes, bring on the firends…beautiful post, Tammy!

  32. Some of my happiest times have been with friends, and I’m very grateful to have them there for me. Nice post!

  1. Confessions from a Non-Conformist « Spirit Lights The Way

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