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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Novel Idea

Guys, have you noticed how women tend to hang out with each other?  They like to be together in small groups; they like one-on-one time---just time together, not apparently, doing much.  Visiting.  Talking.  Sometimes like men, they do activities together---they go shopping together, they run marathons, they play ma jong, but---by and large the motivation for women is simply time together.

So, what's the big draw?  Spending time in one another's company is of great benefit to females.  There is simple comfort being in the company of female friends.  There is talking, yes, but it is a special kind of talking.  While one is sharing a trial or a joy, the others listen.  In that moment, they temporarily take it on.  As a result the speaker feels less alone, receives suggestions regarding problems she's presented or enhancement of happy feelings she's offered.

Of course difficulties can develop between women; all interpersonal relationships have their challenges.  I think it is largely a myth that women compete for men.  Most women friends abide by an unwritten law, again very different from males with each other, which amounts to, hands off  your friends' men.  However, other problems like envy, or feeling excluded or, misunderstood can come up.
Yet, the rewards for maintaining female friendships usually make it worth working through such problems.

The phenomenon of women seeking and demonstrating value on time with other women is so common and enduring that there have now been a few studies conducted trying to answer the question of why.  One result is that this experience causes the release of one of our natural human hormones, a chemical our own bodies make.   It is a feel-good, bonding, calming chemical.  

There are  a minority of men who have been able to tap into this experience, at least in part.  True friendship is posssible between a man and a woman.  This is a relationship wherin the man, who may well think of his friend as attractive, is not angling to get physical with her, whose focus is not on her beauty or sexuality.  He's in it for that other good stuff, described above.  Most men though, have not discovered this option.  Most heterosexual men find women so interesting physically that they don't think of taking that out of the picture in favor of another priority.  
Friendships between men can be wonderful in their own way.  It's just that this is another, not often considered, possibility:  To be friends only, and nothing else, with a woman and to benefit from that would be a novel idea for many men.

UCLA Study on Friendship Among Women
"...when she actually engages in ...befriending, studies suggest that...oxytocin is released which...counters stress.
Friendships among women ...shape who we are and who we are yet to be.  They soothe our tumultuous world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are."
Gale Berkowitz

1 comment:

  1. Although I love being with a man, I would never, EVER give up my friendships with other women - because they are vital to me! And...what man do you know who loves to shop? Good article Paula! Karen