The heart of an onion is similar to that of a female to female platonic relationship. Layers of an onion stem deep within the heart of its tunic, like a women’s circle of friends.
Dubbed “emotional creatures” or “catty”, women share a common confidence which is drastically different from that of men. According to a study by Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC), the three factors that determine close friends for women are the following:
*NOTE: The selected orders range from highest priority.
1. Someone you could be yourself with (71%)
2. Someone you can mutually trust (63%)
3. & Someone that you don’t have to explain yourself to (24%)
In contrast, men found the best fit for a close friend often began with the following:
1. Someone you trust (61%)
2. Someone you can be yourself with (60%)
3. & Someone you have known for a long time (31%)
The above findings suggest why longevity for close friendships may be more prominent in men than women. According to SIRC, as women get older their third most important factor, “Someone that you don’t have to explain yourself to”, becomes less important.
The research conducted at the Social Issues Research Centre, examined women platonic relationships in three female focus groups of varying ages. It placed an emphasis on women who were between the ages of 25-35. The study was determined to find the clandestine messages between women, the benefits and answers to why gossip occurs, and the platonic relationships that are educed between them.
In a recent article, “The basis of friendships and personal relationships” which was featured in the journal, Current Anthropology, anthropologists discussed identity. They confirmed through their own studies that relationships are first sought to validate decisions, opinions, and give a complete sense of self. SIRC also confirmed similar findings in their own exploration of women platonic relationships.Reflecting back, SIRC addressed in their study of the three most important factors that label “close friendships”, that the women in their focus group acknowledged the first factor, “Someone I can just be myself with” as the most important. It was later discovered in the study with SIRC that women between the ages of 25-35 were more likely to have several friends than a single best friend, unlike the younger focus groups which ranged from the ages of 18-25.
The “I can be myself phenomena” omitted the fear of being judged, and replaced it with a profound sense of security, stability, and freedom. Close friendships are not the only type of friendships that hold positive effects in the platonic relationships of women. A UCLA study of friendship, led by Dr. Laura Klien, found a positive correlation of reduced stress levels between women with their new encounters of friendship and their congregations with other women.
Dr. Laura Klien’s discovery showed that when women become stressed they release a hormone called, Oxytocin, which encourages women to congregate and befriend other women. The results of this study showed reduced stress levels from the befriending process, with continual releases of Oxytocin which ultimately resulted in a “calming effect”. Gossiping has also prove to reinforce social bonds and reduce anxiety and stress, according to SIRC and scientific journals such as the Scientific American Mind.
Gossiping has been deemed a “women’s trait” that’s both negative and the result of hidden insecurities. Recent studies suggests gossiping to be more of a women’s right of passage, which plays great part in their development of female bonding. In most cases, gossiping is defined as statements which are communicated and have one or more facts that allow room for speculation.
Evolutionary psychologists have inferred that gossip is an evolutionary adaptation based on research. It is believed to have been used both as a survival mechanism and a technique to strengthen the relationships between members of a group. It is meant to build a relationship with the individual receiving the “gossip” . In some cases it is also done to separate or ostracize the individual that is being gossiped about. In the past, this was needed to help ward off unwanted persons who may have been a threat to a specific group. Today it used primarily for entertainment or the development and breaking of social bonds.
Women platonic relationships are safely attributed as being very complete yet whimsical in nature. This is what makes it one of the most interesting relationships to observe, learn, and study from. There is beauty in the undiscovered. New discoveries are being found everyday.
Also published at the Examiner