Last update: 10 September, 2022
Friendship between women does not have the same implications or the same meaning as that between men. Female friendships, female friends, are a fundamental part in the life of women. We women, during our conversations, talk about many topics by analyzing them in depth.
For us women, time and distance are not important: a friend is a friend forever. Even if we spend years without seeing each other, the affection and trust we feel for each other do not change. We build a sisterhood that makes us strong, it is an integral part of our DNA, it is there, it has always been there.
"Female friendship is a leap into the circle of sisterhood, and this circle can generate a very powerful force."
In fact, in ancient times women shared more moments than they do today. They took turns looking after their children, got together to cook together and shared an intimacy that could only be reached through a very deep bond of friendship. This shared life was a source of strength and consolation towards their daily life. The women learned from each other and could always count on mutual support.
Today we women live much more divided and isolated than in the past. Opportunities to meet have become less frequent. This does not, however, reduce our need to feel united, and in fact, women who are not often in the company of their friends are the bearers of a great inner emptiness, which they cannot fill with anything else.
“Friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and what we still need to be. They calm our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional voids of our marriage and help us remember who we really are "
The power of female friendship
The benefits of friendship are invaluable. Friends make life better, and by the way, studies show that friendship has a greater impact on our physical and psychological well-being than even family relationships.
Female friendship has a tremendous impact on our physical and psychological well-being as women, given the great bond we share when we are together with our friends. Thanks to them, we find the support and strength we need to overcome our limitations and our problems.
In fact, according to scholars, the release of the hormone oxytocin is, especially for women, the panacea for friendship and health.
"Lasting female friendships are relationships in which women help each other as they would for themselves."
Friendship, stress and women
An important study has revealed that women respond to stress differently than men, a phenomenon that also has evident effects on health. When a person experiences stress, they automatically activate a fight or flight reaction, thus releasing hormones such as cortisol.
Oxytocin is another hormone produced by men and women in response to stress. In women, it is meant to allay that sense of fight or flight, prompting us to protect our children and reunite with other women.
This is an active mechanism not only in humans, but in many other species. When we dedicate ourselves to the care of our loved ones or our friendships, in fact, we women release oxytocin. As a result, our ability to overcome stress and calm down increases.
Men, on the other hand, when they find themselves in stressful situations, release high levels of testosterone, a factor that reduces the calming effect of oxytocin. For this reason, they are more prone to react with anger and violence. We women, on the other hand, produce estrogen, which increases the effect of oxytocin, a factor that pushes us to seek social support to be able to release this hormone.
Apparently it is precisely here, in the difference in seeking social support during stressful times, that the greatest difference between men and women in reacting to stress resides, as well as one of the most basic differences in the behavior of both sexes.
A further tumor study revealed that women without friends are four times more likely to die from the disease than women with 10 or more friends. Curiously, the proximity and amount of contact with friends appears to be closely linked to survival. Just having friends is more than enough protective agent.
"Many women have no idea how important friendship is to them"