It’s National Girlfriends Day — how important are yours to you?

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Cheerful friends doing make-up while enjoying in party at home

AUSTIN (KXAN) — What would you do without your best gal pal?

August 1 is National Girlfriends Day, which, according to National Day Calendar encourages women nationwide to celebrate their friendships and let their friends know how much they mean to each other.

National Girlfriends Day reportedly dates back to 2002 and was created by mother-daughter duo Kathleen Laing and Elizabeth Butterfield.

How important are friends?

Research in 2017, published in the journal Personal Relationships, indicated that as people age, friends became a stronger indicator of overall happiness than even family.

The study looked at over 270,000 people in nearly 100 countries found that strong friendships contributed to better mental health in advance age.

“But the really surprising thing was that, in a lot of ways, relationships with friends had a similar effect as those with family—and in others, they surpassed them,” said the study’s author, Wiliam Chopik, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University.

Chopik said that unlike our family, we get to choose our friends.

“A few studies show that we often enjoy our time with friends more than with family,” he says. “We do leisurely things with friends, whereas family events are often serious or maybe a little monotonous.”

He said that over time superficial relationships fad and only the really strong ones will stay.

“The general point is that the more support, the more positive interactions, the better,” he says. “The important thing is having people you can rely on, for the good times as well as the bad.”

Tell her what she means to you

Even though it’s less likely you’ll see your girlfriends amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not impossible to reach out to her via text, phone or video chat.

Princess Diana once said, “If you find someone you love in your life, then hang on to that love.”

So who is she to you? Let us know at kxan.com/report-it/send-us-your-news-tips/

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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