We define a friend as someone we can count on to pick us up when our spirits are lower than a snake’s belt buckle. They are your confidant, the person to keep you grounded, the person who is full of phrase when you need it. But did you know that the friendships that women have with other women is different than that of their male counterparts? We are all aware of the “buddy” movies with the likes of Newman and Redford, Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, and Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin which is sort of a platonic love story of male bonding and true friendship. But Lillian B. Rubin, Ph.D., a researcher at the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California in Berkeley says it’s women friendships, not men’s that ought to be center stage in the movies.
After interviewing 300 men and women about relationships Dr. Rubin determined that “women at all stages of life have more intimate close, nurturing relationships than men do.” Some say that women’s ability to maintain close friendships may even be a contributing factor as to why women living alone live longer than men who live alone. That grumpy old man who lives alone down the street who never associates with anyone has a predicted life span of about 9 years according to two researchers who did a study in 1979. That determination was based in part on a study of 5,000 residents in California and the number of social ties they had. Social relationships are good for your health and some studies have concluded that social relationships has the ability to alter our body chemistry which could protect us from a host of diseases.
Friends are there to throw us a safety net when we feel like where going over the edge of life and they stand between us and loneliness. Is picking a true friend a science or just random chance? It is said that we gravitate toward people who have the same traits as we have or traits that we admire and wish to have. Friends should never be judgmental as we often find ourselves talking to friends about things that we dare not mention to family.They are the independent sounding board to pour your heart out to knowing that your secrets will be kept in the strictest confidence. That brings up the question can men and women truly be platonic friends? Research says yes, but it’s a different kind of friendship. With women, the definition of a friend is someone you can lay bare your innermost intimate thoughts. The hallmark of a women to women friendship is intimacy whereas you’d be hard pressed to find a man having an intimate platonic relationship with another man who’s not his partner.
In these changing times the subject of sexual attraction between same genders has been thrown into the mix and some feel that being that close to a friend that you truly admire could become a sticking point at some time during the friendship. In a study that was done, most men and women agreed that sex would ruin a friendship so acting on that type of feeling is taboo among real friends. Hearts become involved and that leads to the green-eyed monster known as jealousy emerging which is the beginning of the end. But above all else, in these times of social media it is very important that you take time out to actually spend some “face to face” time with your true friends because real friends are worth their weight in gold.