I can say this with 100% honesty: The women in my life have saved me. My mom. My sister. My friends.
I’ve always wondered why this is the case–not just from an anecdotal perspective, but from a therapeutic one.
Just last week I had cognitive psychotherapist Niro Feliciano on my podcast, and we dive into this topic in such amazing detail. But here are the basics of what she said.
Niro said in our conversation that women are wired for connection, and meaningful, platonic connections with other women bring us value that the men in our lives don’t. They tend to listen better, with more of an objectivity, she says.
Not only that, but our female friends are actually activating different parts of our brain than our romantic partners. Niro says there are parts of our brain that light up when we’re in the presence of friends.
And anyone who has had a good friend can confirm that; our girlfriends give us validation and satisfaction that the romantic partners in our lives just can’t.
“Good friends are almost like a mirror that we hold up to ourselves; they let us see the good in ourselves, but they also challenge us to do better.”I mean… can we pause for a minute and marinate on that? Niro said that during our chat I know this made me think about ways I can be a better friend. It made me think, what have I done that may have inadvertently hurt others? What would I want someone to say to me to let me know I need to do better? That’s what I loved so much about this discussion; it’s not just about Niro telling us how to “screen” others as friends; we also delve into patterns we need to break to be better friends, as well.
There is a “but” coming here, but first things first. When I asked Niro during the course of our conversation if there are any non-starters when it comes to friendship, she said no, not necessarily.It’s possible to believe different things and still be friends with someone. I know I’m friends with people who have different political and religious affiliations than me, and most of the time, no biggie!But what does become a problem, as Niro notes in the podcast, is the level of respect that person can give to you–and you to her–when you share your differing beliefs.”What we have to look at [is,] is there balance in the relationship? Is that person considering your desires, your requests … are they asking about yourself? Do you feel drained being friends with this person? … It shouldn’t be all about you. But there should be a balance to it.”
There is always someone whose conversations revolve 90% around what other people are doing, what other people are wearing/saying/posting on social media/etc. etc. etc. I’m not saying I’m perfect here–because honestly no one is completely innocent of the terror that is Shit Talking–but what I am saying is that you should pay attention to the people whose world revolves around taking down others. And then don’t be their friend.Niro agrees. “Are they talking about everybody else who has different beliefs? Because that will turn back on you at some point.” BINGO. Let’s just leave that right there.
Niro’s answer is simple, but perfect. So feel free to refer back to this simple line if you’re wondering about a friendship in your life being true, or not.
Niro says, if your thoughts and feelings are excluded, or if you just walk away feeling not so great, then it may be time to honor that instinct and walk away.Listen… Do you have a few? You’ve gotta listen to this episode because there is SO much more that Niro and I get into, it’s insane. Promise it’s worth your time, and promise you will come away with some more insight into your friendships and what you’re doing right/wrong.