Study reveals key role of friends
Almost a third of women have more fun on a night out with their female friends than with their partner, according to a survey.
Some 29% of women questioned said they had a better time with their friends and one in six said they would opt for an evening with them rather than a romantic night with their boyfriend.
Women also get a great deal of emotional support from their friends, the survey found.
About one in five (19%) said they were more likely to be themselves with their best friends and more than half (54%) said their friends made them feel more secure in themselves than their partner.
More than a third (35%) of women polled said they laughed more with their friends and a quarter said they thought their friends were funnier.
More than four out of five (84%) said an evening in chatting was just as enjoyable as a night out on the town.
According to the study, by Green's cupcake company, the average woman has five close friends and nearly a third (32%) have known their best friends for more than half their life.
Psychotherapist Christine Webber said: "Women's friendships with other women are the backbone of their support system.
"Many of us have girlfriends who have outlived several of our romantic relationships. In fact, they are friends for life. We love the dependable humour of our female friendships and the unconditional support we know we can expect. Our mates keep us young.
"Recent research also shows that having good friends actually keeps us healthy - and may help us avoid dementia, strokes and heart disease. So, friends are not just fun, they're very good news for our longevity."