Monday, July 19, 2010

Friendships Among Women - Building Friendships

There is some sad news for friendships in this era. A 2006 study from Duke University and the University of Arizona showed that Americans have almost one-third fewer confidants than they did in the 1980s, Another disheartening statistic was that there are now twice as many people who report not having any close friends to share their problems with.

Lynn Smith-Lovin, one of the authors of the report told, "This change indicates something that is not good for our society. Ties with a close network of people create a safety net."

Perhaps an important question to ask is: How does one build and maintain a friendship?

Interestingly, building friendships can be just as complicated as maintaining friendships
. In some cases, it may be more complicated to build the friendship than it is to keep it going over time. Meeting someone new is often an awkward situation, especially in regards to friendships of women. You don’t know how the other person is going to respond to you, and you fear rejection. You may begin the conversation with a comment about the weather or about an article of clothing the woman is wearing, but there is no depth at this point in the friendship. Depth takes trust and it takes time when it comes to friendships of women.

According to All friendships of women must start with a period of putting yourself emotionally out on a limb. Depending on your personality and the personality of the woman you are meeting, self-disclosure can occur over several meetings. Human beings tend to put up an emotional walls to protect them from being hurt or embarrassed by another person. When two women are meeting each other for the first time, a period of evaluation and assessment can occur. It doesn’t matter how young or old the woman is, because the friendship of women begins like this even on a school’s playground.

What usually sparks the flame of a friendship between two females is the ability to actively listen to one another. When you feel like you are being completely understood by the person you are talking to, it becomes easier to break down the protective walls around your emotions. The conversation starts to flow effortlessly and you begin to make connections over similar things in your life. Once that initial sense of trust is established, the friendship can begin to blossom. explains that another reason the friendship of women begins is that two people are experiencing similar things at a certain point in their life. You can easily see this when women start to have families, and are thrown into social settings with other moms. You begin to swap various tips and suggestions about raising kids and before long, you are inviting each other over to the house for coffee. Friendships are often began and solidified because of the similarities you share with another woman, especially if your social paths cross often.

As I contemplated this information I realized how true it is. We can all remember as teens and young adults how our friendships usually evolved from commonality. We were in the same class, same neighborhood and had some similar interests, as we began to have families we connected with the women who had children the same age as ours or the same church or work place.

As the studies also said after an initial time of assessing each other and deciding if we can trust this person we usually begin to open up more and more and become more vulnerable with each other. If that other women was worthy of our trust, held our confidences and didn't judge us then the friendship continued to grow and flourish.

The wonderful thing I have found with friendships among women is that although we start with a common interest, social gathering or work, once the friendship is established those things may change but the friendship continues.

Next post we will talk about the difference types of friendships we have as women.

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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