The Importance of Female Friendship
Q&A with PurposeGirl
February 1, 2019
About Carin Rockind
Carin Rockind is a leading expert in the science of women’s happiness and life purpose, women’s thriving and positive psychology, and the science of human flourishing. As the creator of PurposeGirl, a movement to empower purpose-driven living, and the founder of Women’s Global Happiness Day, Carin empowers women worldwide to follow their dreams and be the creator of their own lives. With her passion for teaching women to thrive, Carin shares her insights about the science and importance of female friendship.
Q: Why are female friendships so important right now?
A: Studies show that women are twice as likely to be depressed as men, and women are less happy than they were 30 years prior. There are many reasons for this, but women are trying to do it all and do it by themselves, and it’s not working.
This is where the impact of female friendships can help because women nurture each other’s souls, uplift each other’s spirits and have the capacity to hold each other through dark times. It is in our DNA to need female friendships. When baby girls are in utero, their brains begin wiring for connection and communication more than those of boys, so research has found that, in general, girls and women need more connection, and communicating with each other supports women’s needs.
Q: What is it about female friendships that are different?
A: Several studies have found that women’s friendships are more intimate, personal, emotionally-based and supportive than men’s friendships. Women have higher levels of oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love” or “cuddle” hormone. Men and women both have oxytocin, but women secrete more and it helps to combat stress. In fact, studies at both UCLA and Stanford showed that during times of stress, women release oxytocin, which makes them want to connect and nurture. It’s called “tend and befriend,” which means that in stressful times, women support others and lean in for support.
Q: What kind of impact does female friendship have on our overall wellness?
A: Women’s friendships are special and they improve our well-being. Friendship helps us in times of stress. This may be because women are nurturing, supportive, compassionate, and great listeners. Interestingly, research has found that women tend to reference their friendships with other women as closer and more satisfying than men do.
Q: What makes a good friend?
A: Someone who believes in you 100%—who believes that all of your dreams are possible, and that you have everything that you need to achieve them.
Someone who listens and will be there for you when you’re in a puddle of your own tears on the floor. They will hold you just like a mama and bring you ice cream. They help pull you back up.
Someone who holds a mirror for you to lovingly call you on your BS.
Someone who celebrates your wins as their own.
Someone who is fun, and with whom you can be the wild woman, silly, mysterious, playful muse that you are, without judgment.
Someone who knows you better than you know yourself, at times.
Someone with whom, it doesn’t matter how much time passes, you pick up where you left off, and they don’t give you grief for losing touch.
Someone who gives you permission to change your mind. For example, they can listen when you’re upset with your husband and completely support you being with him the next day.
Q: How can we be better friends to each other? Any additional advice or guidance you would like to give around the importance of female friendship?
A: It’s so important for women to have a sisterhood of close female friends. Too many women judge each other, compete with each other, and try to tear each other down. One woman’s success in any area of life is every woman’s success.
Every woman is your sister. Love her like your own. Compliment at least one woman every day on her talents, courage, strength, or beauty. And be a really good friend to the woman in the mirror, because the more you love her, the better woman and friend you will be overall.
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