Monday, October 3, 2011

Women are from Venus why aren't Men?

The famous book title Men are from mars and Women are from Venus kind of says it all.  While I have never actually read (or listened to) this book I am constantly amazed about how differently the 2 sexes communicate. This was magnified on a recent Thursday evening at "knitting night". We had actually gotten to the evening early as there was a guest jeweler The Queens Beads.  She set up her beautiful (yet very affordable) jewels and as the women arrived it became like a fashion show. I bought 3 beautiful items (a pair of earrings, a laborite necklace and a  very sparkly necklace. 

"C" from the Queens Beads was known by an employee of the store but none of the knitters. By the end of the evening you would think she had been part of the Thursday night knitting group for years.  Everyone was bonding on zillions of levels ranging from the farmers market to granola bars to favorite patterns to schools to kids and it just kept on almost like a free association. One thing lead to another and we came to find out that our resident granola maker may have some competition from "C" at the Queens Beads. We are setting up a bake-off so we can all decide.  I had to sneak out early for the little guys back to school night and had my hand on the door for at least 1/2 hour before I actually left (only to meet several members of the group after back to school night at our fall back location after the store closes- Barnes and Noble which we shut down at 10).

Why is it that a group of mostly unconnected women can bond over almost anything and it can be very personal while not being judgmental. In my experience men tend to relate on a much less personal level (unless managing your rotisserie team makes it personal). Their talk is frequently about business or sports rather than more deep things.

I remember when my now husband lived with a roommate all week and I would come spend the weekends there. On Saturday mornings his roommate and I would be up earlier and get a chance to speak and in 1 hour I knew all about the women in his life, what was going on at work and more. This was frequently much more than my husband knew from a whole week. Women just seem to connect on a more emotional and personal level.

Another instance was when years ago I went to a gym (not my regular gym) and was getting dressed. I had a book on the bench and a woman asked me about it. We got into a conversation about the author and we ended up walking out together. As we left it was pouring- as we were both heading to the subway she offered that I share her umbrella. A quick easy connection. I never saw her again but I am convinced that that encounter would not have occurred with the boys from Mars.

After writing this someone sent me the following article and I felt I needed to add it here.

I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just p at yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. So let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health.

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