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: survivingfemalefriendships@gmail.com

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Article on Frenemies

I recently came across a great article called Why Women Should Stop Being Frenemies and Start Being Friends by Sarah Koppelkam.

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?!  

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