Day 297 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

Today I have spent a lovely morning and lunch with my 84-year-old friend Shirley and three of her other good friends.  At the end of lunch, I asked Shirley how she had met the other women who were present.

Shirley began to tell the tale of how she had formed good friendships with each of the women and although there was some good-hearted disagreement and much laughter about the times and places of meeting, there was a general agreement that at some point, she had made a connection with each of us that had blossomed into a fully fledged friendship with her.

When I came home I began to think further on how women seem better then men at forming lasting and meaningful friendships. Last week I read an article in The Australian Women’s Weekly headed: “Why men have NO FRIENDS” which certainly captured my attention at the time. From it I learned quite a few things.

The author, Michael Sheather, quoted a psychologist Rebecca Shaw, whose research showed that men who start out in their younger days with lots of male friends, change once commitments and the responsibilities of children and career take over. Then, upon approaching their middle years, they find they have no close male friends because they have basically neglected these friendships.

However another psychologist, Dr Elizabeth Celi says a little of the responsibility for this must be put onto the woman in the relationship! Oh no, us poor women have to bear some of the blame it seems? She goes on to say:

“The simple fact is that women and men are different and they do things differently. But it doesn’t mean that men necessarily have poor relationships. they just don’t need the same things that women need. “

Well that does make a whole lot of sense doesn’t it? If we are going to hold up women’s relationships “as a gold standard,” men’s relationships may be perceived as wrong … but this is not strictly true folks.

The fact is we need to understand these differences and in doing this we understand then why men’s friendships often fall by the wayside. And I like this next part which I think explains exactly what the differences between men and women really are:

“For men, friendship is built around a shared activity – playing golf, going to footy or just going to the pub. For men, friendship is side by side, for women it’s face to face.”

Now, this ‘face to face thing’ was so obvious with us five women this morning (although a pub was involved in lunch!). It really was all about face to face  and plenty of talking at once, to which Shirley reminded us: “no wonder St. Paul in his Epistles told the women they had to be silent in the prayer meetings, because all of them couldn’t stop talking at once!”  Touche.

Furthermore, I read this interesting piece online at women-s-friendships-with-other-women  “that the tendency of women to form strong friendship bonds with other women begins with our DNA.”

What woman amongst us can fight DNA folks?? So, it seems that inbuilt in us women is something so powerful that friendships between women result in “increased longevity, lowered stress levels, higher self-esteem and better overall health.”

No wonder after being with women friends, I come away feeling bullet proof, as if I could walk on water and the effects last for another 48 hours! It is not simply imagination folks, it is actually those endorphins kicking in and helping us along as we walk the long winding road of life.

This quote by Dianne Ruth, PhD, on the same website gives further evidence of what I have discovered:

“Female friendships can be extremely powerful….Friends eliminate isolation and loneliness. Having a friend is what keeps us sane, makes us laugh and allows us to be who we need to be. We empower each other and appreciate each other when no one else will. Sharing ourselves with another woman contributes to our emotional well-being.”

There you have it  my friends, no wonder us women love to meet up with our women friends. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to have a number of wonderful women friends in my life.

And as for my friend Shirley who has no family of her own, she continues to be sustained, loved and upheld by connection with her many women friends.

But what’s the final word on the men? I think it can go to Michael Sheather  in the Women’s Weekly article who says:

“Masculine company is vital for a man’s own masculine development and women need simply to let it happen – it’s not all about her! “

Oh really Michael? Who IS it about then … hee hee