We all know how a great friend can sometimes just make our day with a perfectly timed text, as a shoulder to cry on when we need it, or with warm chocolate chip cookies baked from the heart. But few of us know just how crucial our friends our to our health. Rebecca G. Adams, PhD and professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, said in an Everyday Health article that friendship “has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships.” And you may be getting more from those gossip sessions than you think: a University of Michigan study found that spending time with our girlfriends “increases levels of the hormone progesterone, which helps boost mood and alleviate stress.” But don’t worry; you don’t have to be Queen Bee. Even just having one good friend who supports you and connects with you on a deeper level can mean the world. Here is a list of famous companions and amazing acts of friendship that will leave you wondering just what YOU would do for a friend.
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler
Fey dedicated a whole section of her book Bossypants to love letters addressed to her BFF Amy Poehler. Despite her enormous success and incredible popularity, Fey says that when Amy joined her in the Saturday Night Live cast, she “felt less alone.” And make sure to mark your calendars: this dynamic duo is hosting the 2013 Golden Globes together. To prep for what is sure to be a night full of laughter and razor-sharp wit, watch these videos compiled by Hollywood Reporter that highlight Fey and Poehler’s dual comedic timeline.
Busy Phillips & Michelle Williams
These besties met on the set of Dawson’s Creek, but they have certainly helped each other through a series of real-life dramas. They have experienced the ups and downs of motherhood together, organizing play dates between Busy’s 3-year-old Birdie and Michelle’s 7-year-old Matilda (Phillips is also Matilda’s godmother). When Matilda’s father, Heath Ledger, passed away unexpectedly in 2008, Phillips was there to help her best friend through the gloom. If there is one tip you should take away from this star-studded yet very real friendship, it’s that friends should be by each other’s sides at all times. Quite literally, in fact – after Michelle received her second Oscar nomination, Busy was her red carpet date!
Oprah & Gayle
These women have been friends (and pretty much soul mates) for over 30 years. They have managed to stick together through “fame and fortune, kids and dogs, marriage and divorce, [and] shoulder pads and miniskirts,” according to O! Magazine. They even stuck it out through the storm of tabloid rumors that they were “together” in a relationship. “I understand why people think we’re gay,” Oprah told the magazine. “There isn’t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women.” A bond in which Gayle says they both always want the best for each other, and Oprah adds they have “a level of intimacy where someone always loves you, always respects you [and] admires you.” If that isn’t the definition of friendship, then I don’t know what else is.
Colts’ Cheerleaders go Bald for Blue
Head coach of the Indianapolis Colts football team Chuck Pagano has been enduring a battle with leukemia. After accepting a challenge sent out via Twitter by Blue, the Colts’ mascot, Colts cheerleader Megan said she’d shave her head “if Blue could raise $10,000 for cancer research by Nov. 25.” Fans ended up raising more than $22,000 for the CHUCKSTRONG fund. Fellow cheerleader Crystal Ann joined Megan on the field during the game against the Buffalo Bills when they both lost their locks in tribute to Coach Pagano. Would you go bald for your buddy?
A Penn Miracle Friendship
A friendship between Philadelphia psychotherapist Deborah Anna Luepnitz, PhD (and who is in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania) and Tahoma Ironfeather began to form after just one phone call. As told to Lise Funderberg in O! Magazine, in 2002 Tahoma read a passage from the book Last American Man written by Deborah’s friend Liz Gilbert. She felt a strong connection to one of the characters that, after much dedicated searching, she figured out traced loosely back to Deborah. Following her gut, she called Deborah up and told her all about her relationship troubles that sparked the connections. Only two months later, Tahoma suffered a grand mal seizure, caused by a malignant brain tumor that was already in stage 3 out of 4. Deborah took a leap of faith, knowing that this was situation that could lead to immense sadness, and promised to be there for her new friend. She was “honored to share in such a momentous part of another person’s life.”
They stayed connected through months of radiation treatment and chemotherapy, exchanging letters and emails. It turned out that not any old friendship would do in this situation—it was precisely Dr. Luepnitz that would become the Miracle Worker in this situation. She read about an experimental drug protocol going on at Drexel University and secured Tahoma a spot on their waiting list. The night before Tahoma’s treatment, the women had a full-on slumber party in a Philadelphia hotel, complete with double-fudge cake. Chocolate frosting aside, the thing that really cemented their friendship was that the treatment worked!
Tahoma said that having “faith in the goodness of other women” is what could lead someone to returning a call to an “eccentric stranger”—a returned call that, in this case, ended up saving a life. “I’ve loved a number of men in my life,” Tahoma declared, “but the thing that makes me feel safe is my trusty gaggle of girlfriends.”