Stephanie Ashe
Updated April 04, 2016 9:17 am
Warner Horizon

When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s a normal thing that your social circle starts to change, and you surround yourself with more friends who are coupled up than single people. No one wants to be a third wheel, and because of this, you often lose touch with some of your best girlfriends. It’s not your intention — it’s just a thing that happens, unfortunately.

This is something that recently happened to me. What started off as, “We should hang out with more couples!” turned into exclusively hanging out with people in pairs. While it was great for a little while, I realized that I was missing my girls — and more importantly, I was missing girls’ night.

A girls’ night can look differently depending on what it is you need right then. Maybe you’re all putting on your cutest dresses for a night out, or maybe it’s a Sex and the City binge on the couch with your own pints of ice cream. For me, two years had passed without a single ladies-only night, but last weekend I changed that. I went back to my hometown and spent the weekend with my best friend, reminding myself exactly why girls’ nights are so important, in whatever form they take for you.

On girls’ night, it’s okay to feel all of your emotions. Like literally, all of them.

Before last week I had been feeling anxious, and I didn’t know why. I realize now it’s because I had all these emotions built up and felt like I had no one to share them with. Whether it’s ranting about an inconsiderate driver or crying over an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, your girlfriends just get you. The other night, we went from happily dancing across the room in our pajamas, to laugh-crying about 10-year-old high school drama, to sad-crying about loved ones we had lost recently. All of that happened in the span of about 20 minutes. To jump between those emotions might seem strange to some, but when you’re with your bestie, it’s totally normal.

It’s a good time to catch up on celeb gossip with someone who cares.

I love my fiance. I really do. But the day he confused Zayn and Joe Jonas, 2 things happened. The first was that I relentlessly mocked him on Twitter. The second was that I realized there would always be a void that he just couldn’t fill. That’s where a girls’ night comes in. We took turns sharing music videos; I hadn’t seen the new Selena, and she hadn’t seen the new Justin. We exchanged a lot of, “Can you believe she’s dating him?!” moments. Then we shared our current celeb crushes, which just led us back to more Bieber videos.

Your girlfriends know you better than anyone.

With new friends or casual friends, you have to constantly try to remember if you’ve told them that story, or if they know about that one guy you dated. Giving them all the backstory required can seem exhausting. With long-term besties, you don’t have to worry about any of that. The other night my bestie was bringing up things I didn’t even remember happening, and I’m still not sure how she remembered them 10 years later.

Girls’ nights are really an act of self love.

The same way that you might get a massage or take a bubble bath or do any number of relaxing things, a girls’ night can sometimes be what you really need to fully unwind. This is something I personally have a hard time with. It feels like I’m being selfish if I choose to abandon my errands, chores, work, side hustle, cats, and relationship to drink on the couch with my bestie, but so what if it is? Self love is about focusing on your own happiness and well-being. Part of that means taking time for yourself and spending time with your girlfriends, even if you know you know you have work to do. If you take time to do that, you return to your other responsibilities much happier, and much more ready to take on life. Life is about balance, and what would a balanced life be without taking time for girls’ nights?