My sweet sister, my girlfriend – a tender undiscovered flower on the trampled down meadow of human relationships…
True friendship is certainly a domain of true men. True friendship between women does not exist – either they just pretend to be friends with an idea to snatch each other’s men or they are most probably hiding their “romantic” feelings of homosexual attraction. That is what the greatest Guru of today, the Internet is teaching us. That is what is hidden or openly said in the popular and classical literature. That is what most of us have been always told and some of us even believe to have experienced. Have enough of it?
Let’s have a closer look at one of the most beautiful mysteries of the human race.
The Classics of Friendship
Philosophers and theologians of the West have always devoted considerable attention to the topic of friendship (though until the seventeenth century, many of these philosophers defined friendship as something only men could engage in). Aristotle wrote that to experience the good life and happiness, we must share in the happiness of other people. If we want a life in which we flourish, says Aristotle, we must have friends — relationships not based on crass utility, but on common interest, affection, and, finally, commitment.
The rabbis of the Talmud saw friendship as a key part of faithful living. When reflecting on such figures as Honi Hamaagel, who wanted to die because he did not have a single friend, the rabbis declared “Either friendship or death.” Christian thinkers, too, have stressed that friendship is part of Christian discipleship and Christian love.
However all of it was said considering the male friendship.
Dry facts about dewily matter
As one can guess, friendships between women have been traditionally considered inferior to friendships between men. Researcher Robert Bell argues that the historical picture is wrong. He says women more often see the total person and that women have more friendships, that these friendships are more significant, and that they are more involved with their friends than men are. According to his studies, women average about five good friends, while men average only about three.
In more recent years, scientists and social scientists have begun to study friendship between women. Researchers at UCLA found that when women get stressed out, their brains produce a set of chemicals that push us to make and cement friendships with other women. This new research from UCLA suggests that, for women at least, the response to stress is not “fight or flight” but “flight, fight or friendship,” and that women tend to go for option number three. UCLA’s research results may explain why, if you’re worried about an upcoming exam, you don’t immediately head to your carrel to study alone; instead, you sit down with your girlfriend and have a cup of caffe latte.
Actually, our girlfriends may play a far greater role in our lives than even the glam gals from Sex and the City – today’s poster girls for female friendships – might imagine. New studies on women and stress provide strong evidence that those long gabfests with your girlfriends are vital to your health and may well help prolong your life. In June 2001, the renowned Harvard Medical School’s Nurses’ Health Study concluded that women’s social networks play an important role in enhancing our health and quality of life. The study went so far as to conclude that not having at least one good confidante is as detrimental to a woman’s health as being overweight or a heavy smoker.
There may well be a biological basis for the empathy women seem to so easily give one another. The hormone oxytocin – the calming “cuddle chemical” released into a woman’s bloodstream after childbirth to facilitate mother-infant bonding – plays a role in pumping up women’s tending instincts.
Dr. Shelley E. Taylor, professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles theorizes that oxytocin – which is also released during stress – may be one of the driving forces behind forming and maintaining close social bonds because it enhances the ability to nurture and be nurtured.
The ocean of sweetness
Whatever may be the reason of the existing – and flourishing! – of this fantastic flower, friendship between women, lets enjoy it!
When I was a child and then a very intellectual young girl I was seeking the friendship of boys/men (why and how it works, read here) as I enjoyed their cleverness and strengh. I had a sister who was more than a friend and may be one or two female friends. That is all I knew and felt about friendship. Years passed and suddenly at the age of 25 I discovered the sweetest ocean of female love and support. Why was I avoiding it before? Must have been be some lack of oxytocin.
But is it the same “true friendship” as men have? Friendship is an universal term, beyond the sexes. However there is something very special about the female one.
You call your female friends with the sweetest names. You see them as little girls, little princesses. You love to give them cute presents. You pull each other’s legs and keep the top secrets. You love to hug and kiss them as your own sisters (cause that is what they actually are!). You can express as much tenderness as you want, and get it back. You know that it is all pure, without any hidden interest. You feel safe and secure. You mother each other. You just dissolve yourself into that sea of rosebuds, that ocean of speckles…
This is what you can not compare with any other kind of human bounds. Just one more petal on the Flower of human LOVE. Just one more message that we are ONE.