It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“19.5% [of women] have a friend they hang out with strictly out of obligation .” (“Girl Bonding”; Women’s Health, September 2012)
Women’s Health conducted some research about female friendship in this month’s issue, and they found some pretty interesting stuff. 53 % of women have been dumped by a friend. 63% have done the breaking up. 66 % are still friends with an ex.
But in my opinion, the stat above about friendships out of obligation is the most interesting. It made me wonder: Are these 19.5 % of women the ones making the plans, or are they just accepting invitations because they feel they have no other choice?
I’m guessing the latter. According to the same Women’s Health information, of the 63% who have broken up with a friend, 55% say they slowly cut the pal out of their life. Slowly cutting a friend out sounds to me like they just stopped issuing invitations. But actively cutting ties with a friend–choosing to reject invitations and not answer phone calls–takes initiative that I’m guessing feels too mean for some women. So they accept invitations out of obligation, and nothing else.
Truth be told, I’m surprised at that 19.5 number. I actually thought it would be more. From what I can tell, a good amount of women have someone they hang out with because they feel like they should, or they must. It’s amazing to think about, really–friendship is supposed to be this very active relationship. Two people who enjoy each other, choosing to make time to spend together. But so much of friendships come from other influences–families, offices, spouses that force you together.
So I’m wondering, how many of you have friends you hang out with out of obligation? Are there pals you wouldn’t see if it weren’t for their invitations?