It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“When it comes to substance abuse, girls appear to have a positive effect on boys, but boys have a negative effect on girls. Girls who initiate friendships with boys in early adolescence are more likely to develop substance-abuse problems later in their teens… [But] boys who become friends with girls in early adolescence were not more likely to develop substance-use problems as older teens.” (“Teen Boys Benefit From Female Friends, But Revese Is Not True: Study,” The Globe and Mail 3/10/2011)
There seems to be a recurring theme in the research I’ve discovered since writing this blog: We all need women in our lives.
No matter the life phase—childhood, teens, adulthood—science is constantly proving that both males and females benefit more from being close to women.
And now a new study has found that teenage boys benefit from having female friends, but the reverse is not true. “Boys reported receiving higher levels of emotional support from their other-sex friends, whereas girls receive more support from their same-sex friends,” said the author of the study.
Like I said, we all need women in our lives.
Of course this reminds me of an episode of Friends I watched yesterday, in which Ross discovers that women tell each other everything.
Here’s how Rachel explained it to Ross: “You’re missing out on so much, Ross. I mean, the bonding and the sharing, you know? And knowing that someone else is going through the same thing you are?”
And how Ross explained it to Chandler: “Women tell each other everything. Did you know that?…Everything! Like stuff you like, stuff she likes, technique, stamina, girth….”
I love that show.
I get why it’s so important for a man to have a woman he trusts that he can talk to and lean on for emotional support. That said, I’m surprised that having male friends would have such a negative impact. Isn’t the ability to get along with both halves of the population a valuable trait?
I could use this research opportunity to wax poetic about how females are better in relationships. But instead I’d like to go in the opposite direction. We all need women in our lives, but, despite the research, I’d argue having some guy-friends isn’t too bad either.
So you tell me: What are the benefits of friendship with men that you can’t get from female relationships?