Posted by: Emily | October 7, 2008

Female Bonding

Last week I found myself walking alone down Newbury Street and suddenly felt depressed and very lonely. Seeing groups of women shopping together, eating together, and just talking made me crave female company. Most times in my life I have had almost constant female contact with either roommates or coworkers. Now I find myself living with my husband, not working, and having very few friends in Boston. Of course I love that I am finally with Frenchie but I feel an actual craving for female friendship. That day, I called a friend and we went to our favorite pizza place and after an hour I felt refreshed. It didn’t matter what we talked about or that we ate fatty pizza, it is just that we talked and we listened.

I decided to do some research into this feeling to see if anybody was studying this phenomena. I found a researcher, Shelley E. Taylor, who studies how women and men deal with stress differently. She found that while men seek their mate when they are stressed, women tend to seek other females. She points out that primates have this same tendency but while female monkeys will groom each other, human females bond by talking about feelings, gossiping and doing social activities together.

Psychologists discovered this intriguing benefit of the company of women by doing stress studies in the laboratory. The invite women individually into their labs to do stressful tasks like mental arithmetic and public speaking and provide the company of a supportive woman or man during the stress tasks. Women’s stress responses are typically greater, not lower, in response to a supportive male companion (even if he is the woman’s own boyfriend!), but when the supportive companion is another woman, stress responses usually go down.

This probably seems obvious to the women reading this because it is so natural for most women, but I think it is nice to be reminded of this option. So if you are feeling stressed, call a friend! And if you are reading this and are one of my friends, call me. I miss my girls!

Oh, and check out the new Followers gadget on the side. If you do read my blog, become a follower!

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Responses

  1. Ooohh! I’m a follower! Seriously, I check your blog daily!

    We definitely need to get together more. We were talking about wellness in my wellness class and I decided that I need more hugs and more time with friends!

    This week is INSANE, but hopefully soon!!!

  2. Definitely. Let me know when you are ready for some more Pig. I mean Penguin…


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