The Power of Female Relationships

Posted July 2, 2012 by Monica O'Connell in Networking Buzz

We’ve been busy the past two weeks looking at our negative self-talk and getting ahead of shame. To supplement our internal dialogue shift, I thought I’d talk about how female friendships turbo kick our ability to positively change. While our male counterparts have tons to contribute to relationships, female relationships tend to contribute quite a bit to our emotional healing.

Here are the 3 best gifts women give each other.

  1. Empathy – Women tend to relate to women’s experiences. This may be party because women tend to experience similar things and it may also because women have a great capacity for empathy. Our brains naturally seem to find connection and therefore make it easier to understand another woman’s story. This makes sharing parts of us with another woman a little easier. Women are far more likely to share a vulnerable part of self with a person they perceive likely to understand their experience. Relationships with understanding women is a great place to start sharing our shame messages so that we aren’t letting them stay cooped up in our heads.
  2. Shared interests – There  was recently a crafter’s extravaganza at a mall close by and while there were men in the mix, the majority of the people in line at this event were women. I find this true as well in group fitness classes. Women pick a yoga class to go together and make a date of it. You may be trying something new, taking care of your body and spending time with a friend. Finding a few girlfriends who share interests with you tend to make you more likely to participate.
  3. Accountability – This builds off of the previous two. Let’s say for example, you got brave enough to share with a girlfriend that you want to start dating, you’re nervous about doing so and your own shame messages are getting in the way. She totally related and empathized. Turns out, she’s single as well and was thinking about joining a dating website and convinces you to do it with her. She can now hold you accountable for making the dating profile a reality. You can set mini goals with one another. A colleague of mine calls them “by when’s” in that she takes a goal and sets a specific time to have completed the goal. This way you can both hold each other accountable for taking action.

Having girlfriends has helped me take more risks than I would have alone. They’ve seen my strength before I’ve been able to even imagine it existed.

So answer this question with a comment today, readers: how has having female relationships benefited you?

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”