Ever since the book came out, I've received feedback about how it's made women think about friendships throughout their lives, as well as who is in their lives now. The goal of this blog is to open up and create a dialogue about friendships: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Each week I will post my thoughts, experiences, as well as various articles, topics or quotes that I feel are important when examining female friendships. Please feel free to leave comments; I look forward to hearing from you!
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
What a concept! I've never been a fan of the term "frenemies" but I do believe that we all have them due to various reasons: jealousy, competition or the mere fact that we have people in our lives who we don't get along with but can't get away from. However, is it possible to become friends instead?
There's a lot of research out there that shows the health benefits of female friendship, so one could argue it's not only possible, but it also could improve your health! (See Good Friends are Good For You by Tom Valeo)
An excerpt from Koppelkam's article:
"For women, oxytocin promotes stress reduction and relaxation, has antianxiety and antidepressant effects, and increases social intelligence, trust, and generosity. While these feel-good effects can also arise from intimate male-female relationships, researchers believe women can reap the benefits of oxytocin simply by spending some quality time with the girls."
That seems like a good enough reason to me to put aside any ill-will and figure out a way to relate to and get to know someone whom you consider a frenemy. Who knows, you may realize you have something in common and actually become friends!
More from Koppelkam's article:
"Our brains’ decisions to trust or mistrust someone are affected by our biological “friendship expectations” — i.e. qualities we look for in friends that will benefit us in some way. Researchers have found that men and women report different criteria for choosing new friends: In general, women have significantly higher expectations for trust, loyalty, commitment, genuineness, and acceptance (while factors such as common interests, status, power, and physical appearance hold approximately equal value to to all genders). When we detect a behavior that goes against those values, that’s when mistrust happens."
From my own personal experiences, I can confidently say that women have higher expectations in their friendships, and that's why there can be more drama, tension and intensity. Thus, if a woman is not trusting or accepting of another woman, she may view her as a frenemy or someone she greatly dislikes. However, how many times have we made assumptions about other women and they turned out to be false or completely far-fetched?
All I ask is that we look at those around us (and even look at ourselves and our expectations/views of others) and try to be more accepting and understanding. We may realize we're adding unnecessary drama or being too judgmental of other women. (If the woman is so horrible of a person and you just can't seem to find any positive or redeeming qualities in her, then fine, at least you tried.) As it is, we got a bad rap for being "catty" or overly dramatic, so let's all try and put this frenemy label to rest. Who's with me?!
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
How to Overcome Jealousy Within Friendships by Karen Kleinschmidt
We don't like to admit that we get jealous of our friends, but let's be honest: we do! Maybe a friend recently got an amazing job promotion or is now dating a very handsome and funny guy OR maybe your friend just won the lottery (hey, stranger things have happened!). It's normal to feel conflicting feelings for our friends; we feel happy for them but at the same time, we feel jealous. As it says below, I believe it's important to acknowledge what you're feeling, and if you feel comfortable, to let your friend know. If you don't, it will start to feel like there's a polka-dotted pink and blue elephant in the room. In other words, it would be hard to ignore!
An excerpt from the article:
Regarding Step 3, I think it would depend on the friend. If it's a close friend, I would tell her how I'm feeling rather than pretend I'm feeling something I'm not. For example, you could say, "I'm thrilled for you but it's bringing up my own struggles with being single/jobless/whatever the situation may be. I hope you can understand." In genuine friendships it's important to be truthful about your feelings instead of hiding them. If it's more of an acquaintance, I'd force myself to put my feelings aside and try to figure out what's going on with me.
What do you think? Have you ever felt jealous of a friend? If so, did you tell her?
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
I think it's safe to say that some of us struggle with asking our friends for help and/or sharing stuff we're going through (you know, the icky, negative, not-fun-to-talk-about stuff). Feeling vulnerable isn't an easy emotion for many women, especially if we fear being judged or rejected or have been in the past. Add to that, if our friends work full-time, have a family and/or seem to be juggling various responsibilities, we can easily rationalize why we shouldn't be going to them for help. Sometimes I feel (for lack of a better word) bad for venting or dumping on a friend; even though I know that is what friends are for: to be there for us in good times AND bad.
I recently spoke with a very close friend of mine (I'd even go so far to say she is one of my best friends). She lives in a different state, so we keep up our friendship via phone calls, emails and text messages. She is one of few I feel comfortable enough to share my ups and downs, so as I was sharing some emotions and situations I've been experiencing, I told her that I didn't want her to feel I was burdening her. My friend's response was so heartwarming and accepting that it only validated why I consider her one of my closest friends. She is the definition of a genuine friend.
Later that same day, I experienced a similar situation with another friend with whom I've known since college. We met for dinner and since it had been months since we last saw each other, there was a lot to catch up on. As we both were sharing - our good and bad news - it was amazing to watch how smoothly the night flowed and how much we were on the same page. I felt confident in sharing with her parts of my life that I hadn't before, which made me feel more connected to her.
The next day, I felt very grateful for these friends I have in my life; friends who genuinely care and want to know not just about the good things, but also about the not-so-good things. This is what a friendship is about: not being afraid to share one's thoughts and feelings in fear of being judged or the friend running for the hills because it's too much to handle (c'mon, does that really happen?!). The truth of the matter is that we ALL go through rough times and we ALL need people to be there for us. We'd be lying to say otherwise.
Have you experienced something similar? Is it difficult for you to go to your friends for help/advice?
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I agree with what Laura writes, especially #4:
"Know when to forgive and when to let go.
You're busy, your friends are busy, and it's inevitable that at some point, you may feel disappointed. Practice patience and empathy, and remember that your most important friendships should be more or less unconditional. And if a friendship does start to feel draining or painful, recognize when you need to create some extra distance. No need for dramatic friend breakups — just create the boundaries that feel right for you."
Good advice to remember - not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year.
Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I am a hugger; I like to hug my friends and family. When I see close friends, I embrace them and give them a hug that lasts for a few seconds. For friends that I may not be as close with, the hug does not last as long. If you hug for too long, it can become awkward...right?!
I have memories of hugs from certain people and I clearly remember the emotions from that hug. For example, when I was going through a difficult time many years ago, I remember a close friend hugging me while I cried. I was still sad, but I felt a burst of energy and love from this friend. It's amazing what hugs can provide in times of crisis or need. Furthermore, I've given hugs when I felt the friend needed it.
Hugs can say so much more than words can, especially when we're not sure what to say. Hugs can provide emotional and physical comfort, and it sends a message of affection, connection and friendship. There's something very intense about a hug, especially with a close friend.
However, I realize not everyone likes to hug and is the huggy-type; it depends on the person. Some of my friends just don't seem to like to hug and even though we may be close, the hug is more of a quick thing and not an embrace. It truly depends on the person and the comfort level she has with physical touch. It's one of those things you notice right away about your friends.
What are your thoughts on hugs? Do you hug your friends or are you not the huggy-type?