is an online community for women that aims to celebrate, appreciate and inspire women with blogs, a weekly podcast and BlogTalkRadio
Show (interviewing inspiring women), contests, reviews, shopping and more.
I was pleased to recently interview Debba Hauppert, the “girl” behind Girlfriendology. She has a background in corporate marketing, is an award-winning author, and has been a television spokesperson and contributed to dozens of magazines. “Girlfriends make us healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and feel more beautiful so our goal is to help women prioritize and appreciate their friendships,” says Debba.
Why did you start Girlfriendology.com?
After a second girlfriend was diagnosed with cancer, I felt helpless and scared for them and for me. I decided to record my girlfriend love and appreciation in a blog. Wondering why I felt so strongly about friendship, I did research to justify my efforts and time. My search led me to a book that details the need for close social bonds between females (The Tending Instinct
, by Shelley S. Taylor). It gave amazing examples of how the need for female friendship is part of our DNA – we actually NEED friends.
That book and the support of a great group of girlfriends energized me to grow Girlfriendology. Girlfriends make us healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and even feel more beautiful so I somewhat look at Girlfriendology as a public service announcement or even a ‘magic pill’ to making us all live better lives – with our friends by our sides.
What are the most popular posts on your site?
Each month we hold a contest where we request women’s stories about their friendships. These are then recorded in a podcast that is just good girlfriend inspiration! We also share ideas on girlfriend celebrations (like alternative ideas for Super Bowl Sunday with your girlfriends), gift ideas for girlfriends, the podcasts and BlogTalkRadio show interviews with inspiring women (like you Irene!) and more.
What affect has the growth of social media had on female friendships?
I’ve spoken on women and social media to several groups, and work with companies to assist them in reaching women through social media. Research shows that women are social (who knew? Right?!) and so we’re the future of social media. Some of us are Twitter-buddies (follow me at Girlfriendology) while others are Facebook friends and have reconnected with friends and family on Facebook and other social media sites. Social media can be an excellent way to make and stay in touch with friends. How else would we all be able to share photos of our kids, updates on our adventures and insights into our lives with so many of our friends? However, it can also be overwhelming and may even make them feel isolated because they need face-to-face connection with other women.
Personally, I recommend a good mix of both. Often you can take online relationships offline by meeting your local Twitter friends or contacts from a LinkedIn group at social events or arrange meetings at conferences, etc. You can stay in touch with your local friends and family on Facebook and stay aware of their updates and more. The basics of friendship online or off are the same – to listen, care, assist and support and just be a friend to someone else. That doesn’t change so it’s still just a simple one-to-one connection.
What advice can you give to women who are balancing career, family, and friendship?
One of the goals of Girlfriendology is to inspire women to ‘be the kind of friend they’d love to have.’ We really do HAVE to make time for our friends and to prioritize them. We have to make the extra effort to remember their birthdays, listen - even when we want to talk, go out of our way to make their life better and to tell them how much their friendship means to us. I know that may be overwhelming when we have crazy busy schedules but just a few of the benefits of girlfriends are stress reduction and health so spending time with your girlfriends is very much worth the time and effort.
My girlfriends are very important in my own life. They really do inspire me every day and help me so much with Girlfriendology. Friends are always sharing ideas, contacts for the podcast/BlogTalkRadio show guests, etc. In addition to Girlfriendology, they help relieve me of the stress of being an overly-committed entrepreneur! I meet girlfriends Jill and Becky every week for a coffee date, I email with three college girlfriends every Friday, I connect with dozens of women on Twitter and I try to sneak in some time for walks or talks with other female friends.
What is the most important friendship lesson(s) you’ve learned from your readers?
I’ve learned how friendships make us stronger. Stories submitted to us (through our monthly contest and just through comments on Girlfriendology.com) share sad, overwhelming and amazing tales of women helping each other through huge challenges from cancer to the loss of a child, marriage, partner or job. If not for friends, often we wouldn’t have the strength to go on, but we do, and we find that inner strength often times from a friend who helps us bring it back to life. This alone is a reminder to build friendships. Someday we may really need them or they need us and, if we’re blessed with friends, we don’t have to face hard times alone. That makes a HUGE difference.
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