Sat | Aug 19, 2017

We Need Each Other

Published:Sunday | April 9, 2017 | 4:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

"Friendship between women is different than friendship between men. ... It's my women friends that keep the starch in my spine, and without them, I do not know where I would be," were the words of American Actress, Jane Fonda.

There is always the assumption that women do not get along. However, many women will say that this is not the case. They may not have a Taylor Swift-like entourage, but they have that one best friend who has their back.

Associate Clinical Psychologist Justine East dismisses the claim that women do not get along. However, she does note that there is a difference in how women interact versus how men interact with each other. Men tend to interact based on shared activities - partying, playing football, etc, with emphasis on reciprocating favours, and collaborating on projects, and are less likely to stay in frequent contact. Women, however, are more open and interactive in their friendships. With this being the case, there is more room for differences in opinions, criticism, and annoyance.

She noted that we cannot rule out a women's competitive nature when it comes to relating to each other. They compare themselves and pay keen attention to how the others looks, sizing them up to see who is better. Labelling each other based on the way that they look and carry themselves does not help.

 

STRONG FEMALE RELATIONSHIPS

 

But she noted that having strong female relationships is important. "Strong female friendships are important because they are likely to consist of empathy, honesty, trust, compassion; enjoyment, emotional support and encouragement and result in stress relief."

She noted that strong friendships in general are important to everyone, as having social support from others helps to make people stronger by being able to get advice, sharing experiences to gain insights, and feeling listened to and reinforced. While the lack of friendships and a sense of community can become discouraging causing anxiety leading to less productivity, and as such persons often need and seek counselling or therapy.

Here are five tips to maintaining healthy female relationships.

1. Choose friends wisely. You do not have to be everyone's friend. Choose those who make you stronger, not tear you down.

2. Be the friend you'd like to have. supportive, trustworthy, reliable

3. Put the technology down sometimes and listen attentively

4. Know yourself. You have to know who you are first. Don't compromise your values. Keep your standards and don't alter them just to fit in.

5. Be honest and genuine.