We could give you a thousand arguments as to why friendship is beneficial, healthy and necessary for human beings. But even then, we’d fall short.
However, there are many studies and work done in the field of social psychology and health that show us something much more particular and interesting about this phenomenon.
Friendships between women have a much more intense and positive impact than friendship between men, so much so that that feeling of connection and established mutual understanding is a sufficient way to reduce stress and anxiety.
Nonetheless, it’s important to get something clear: the positive effects on our health and well-being is not caused by having many “friends”but instead having authentic and meaningful friendships, that you can count on the fingers of one hand.
In today’s article, we want to talk about this.
In a world of emptiness, what counts are positive connections
To this day all of us are more connected than ever, but in turn, more distant than ever.
We have dozens of friends in our social networks. Furthermore, we communicate through instant messaging systems. We use emoticons to represent the emotions that we don’t express as easily later in real life.
We create Whatsapp groups, say good morning and good night through these types of platforms. Yet, the more interaction we have, the greater the emptiness that feeling that we’re “miss something” we experience.
A satisfactory personal life might be missing, where special people surround us. These are people who make us happy face to face, who make us feel safe with their closeness. These are special people who we can offer our friendship and mutual understanding to in exchange for nothing.
In turn, a sensational way to combat this well-known existential emptiness is to foster good social relations, where friendship is very relevant if we’re talking about women.
Also read: “5 Thoughts on Women Who Do Everything For Others
Women react to stress differently
In order to understand how and in what way both men and women deal with stress, we must delve into the ever fascinating world of neuropsychology.
- When a woman experiences anxiety and stress for a long time, a true “cocktail” of neurotransmitters in her bloodstream. Cortisol and epinephrine make up this cocktail.
- This raises her blood pressure and blood sugar.
- For women, there’s a hormone that simultaneously acts as a neurotransmitter. It is key to reducing the impact of the aforementioned scenario. This is oxytocin.
Oxytocin, in addition to counteracting the production of cortisol and epinephrine, makes women calm, reduces their fear and gives them a pleasant sense of security.
However, stress impacts men in a more complex way.
- To begin with, there’s one aspect that’s in itself interesting: men produce fewer amounts of oxytocin.
- Because they don’t benefit from the presence of oxytocin as much as women, they experience the fight or flight response more profoundly.
- They also, on average, engage more with emotional restraint. For instance, they don’t open up as easily to talk about that intimate and personal universe that are their emotions.
All this makes stress a deeper and chronic aspect for men.
Discover: 5 Things You Need to Know About Anxiety
Friendship, a great supplier of oxytocin
Women have a biological need to “connect” with others, to build links based on empathy and recognition.
All this is undoubtedly explained by the high presence of oxytocin in the female brain. This is a hormone that aims to promote care and attention for others.
- So, when life becomes a roller coaster when stress and fear strikes, women seek friendship with other women to regulate those fears and to achieve that comforting mutual understanding, which helps to calm those fears and relativize problems.
- Moreover, it should be noted that friendship is a dimension that gives women different and at the same time, complementary, aspects of a romantic relationship or a relationship with a relative.
- If you have a solid and meaningful friendship, you know that you’ll be able to vent your thoughts and emotions to them without being judged just as you can when opening up to a family member.
- You also know, in turn, that your friends are not obliged to solve your problems. It’s not their function nor do they seek to have it. What you need is to feel heard and understood.
To conclude, a positive, solid and respectful circle of friends is key to a healthy and fulfilling life for all of us.
However, for women, this emotional bond is more intense and more necessary. This is because, let’s face it, nothing is as therapeutic as having a cup of coffee with your old friends. You’ll forget about your problems straight away.
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