| May 21st, 2007

* what are women looking for in their friends?

“The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for.”
-Homer

Friendship is a priceless gift, which provides intimacy, rapport, trust and affection when we need it. Both men and women are fond of their friends. Some find it hard to make friends as they grow old, at the same time the two sexes often look for different qualities in their friends. A few find it hard to maintain childhood friendships, while others believe you can never make as good friends as you have in your childhood. Many of us have no time to socialize and are losing their old pals, some others spend so much time socializing yet have not found a true friend!

Talking with some of my female friends and colleagues recently, I found out that more or less every one have complains about their social life or find it hard to get along with the people they meet in their everyday life. So I decided to ask readers of Adhunika what they think are some of the things they look for in their friends? Or what are some of the characteristics their best buddies have in them for which they are still such good friends?

Many young women claim that they don’t seem to get along well with female friends as they reach their 20s. Previously the sexual tension between a man & a woman was too obvious to ignore in any relationship. But as women have come out of the era where they remained at home and contact to the men of the outer world was made only for romantic interest the sexual tension has decreased quite a bit. The new problem now is the tension between partners about one of them being close friends with a member of the opposite sex.

I personally think I need both male and female friends in my life. There is no compromising the girl talks, the shopping sprees together, the gossips, the long discussions on just about anything and everything with my girlfriends! The sharing of the wonderful things one’s boyfriend or husband does, no man will understand and appreciate the cutest gestures the way girlfriends can. A study from Manchester University concluded recently that women share “deeper and more moral” friendships than men. At the same time I must mention guy friends are often a lot of fun too, they are informative about things I don’t know much about, are more adventurous, and sometimes can also help one out is relationship issues as they bring in a male perspective. And more importantly there is less jealousy and competition between friends of the opposite sexes than same sex friendships.

As I am growing older I find it hard to endure certain traits in people, which I probably have put up with earlier. The friends that I have made earlier in life come from diverse backgrounds, and I have accepted our differences and have built a companionship which is hard to devalue over petty matters such as competition and jealousy. But when socializing with people I didn’t know before, I prefer individuals who have similar interests, are in the same career field as I am or can come to some use for me! Maybe I’m becoming a bit too selfish, but then again aren’t we all at times?

My friends and acquaintances mentioned many other factors which influence friendships of women like time, common values, respect and trust between the two, openness to sharing and caring, common friends, family friends, extended family and others of the sort.

There are many websites on friendships. Here is a list of a few- The 6 Must-Have Friends:

http://www.lhj.com/lhj/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/lhj/story/data/5MustHaveFriends_07062004.xml&catref=lcat53
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There are many websites on friendships. Here is a list of a few- The 6 Must-Have Friends: How does Men and Women Make friends:
http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article2347451.ece

On how to make friends:
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Friends

 

We are looking forward to all our readers opinion on what is it that you look for in your new friends, or what is the reason you are such good friends with your old friends? What are the problems you face among friends? What can be the solutions?

 

9 Responses to “* what are women looking for in their friends?”

  1. Samiha Esha says:

    I believe Friendship means sharing and caring for each other with true feelings. Well in our daily life we go through many people. But its really not easy to friends among them. Friendship can be really so beautiful between a boy and a girl if they know how to deal with that. But I found most of the time whenever a guy and a girl become good close friends then either a girl fall in love with the guy or the guy fall in love with the girl. and thus they destroy their beautiful friendship.

    But its nice situation is not like this before. Nowadays that way of thinking changing. But still a few facing the same problem.

    I’m really lucky that I have my best friend among my family. My Little uncle(my mom’s youngest brother) is my best friend. I do have very wonderful junior friend who’s my schoolmate’s youngest brother. I also have good friendship among my colleagues. And I do really enjoy my times with all of them. Its really important to understand the meaning of friendship first. Then things become easy…:)

    So to me its you who can makes good friendship if you want to. Because friendship is the only gift you can give it to yourself.

    Anyways, Nazia Excellent post…keep it up. Congrats 🙂

  2. Sharmin Islam says:

    The qualities that I look for in new friends are a humble character and a friendly personality. Other than that, I don’t care if they are of a different ethnic, socio-economic or religious background.

    I think that one of the reasons childhood friends tend to be our friends for life is because we are nonjudgemental in our early years when we develop these friendships. We are more tolerant of other people’s different backgrounds. Where people fit in the socio-economic structure is less important to us at that point.

    Unfortunately, as adults, we tend think with a more ego-centric and oftentimes materialistic mind set when determing who we choose as our friends, and place a higher value on the socio-economic, cultural or even the religious background of a person. It’s usually due to these reasons that as adults, we limit our “selection pool” and thus have a harder time in making the same quality of close friendships as the ones we used to have in our childhood years.

    One of the big problems that I see among adult friends is competition to keep up with the Jonses. This competition for attaining materialistic things unfortunatetly prevents true friendships to blossom. I wish that this was not the case. I sometimes truly miss my friends from my childhood years when this was not the case. The friendships back then were straight from the heart.

  3. Emma R says:

    Wonderful topic and I wholeheartedly agree with everyone’s comments. Personally I treasure my friendships and I would go just about any length to sustain my friendship with my friends. Having said that I find that its much easier to keep the old friendships going than the latter ones. It is so much easier and comforting when you pick up the phone and just be able to talk….and not hold back…I think a person is completely blessed to have only one friend like that in your life time….but unfortunately I find that my friendships with the younger generation is not the same no matter how hard I try to build a good friendship. I get the impression that often times they simply dont like to go “deep” and as such it simply does not come from the heart… also I find that the “caring” and “appreciation” does not come readily….having experienced that many times, I totally changed my outlook on my friendships and simply reduced my expectation much lower for the the younger generation. I am very fortunate to have some amazing lifelong 30 + years of friendship with friends I went to school with when I was in kindergarden. So,instead of chasing new ones, I simply cherish my treasured friendships with my childhood friends…and I don’t mind sharing it with the whole world today on her birthday that I am truly blessed to know my kindred spirit Shahnaz well over 3 decades longs…and it makes me so very very happy 🙂

    Happy Happy Birthday Shahnaz! 🙂

  4. Iffat says:

    Gender to me is not an issue when becoming friends with someone…just like nationality, ethnicity or race is…but what’s important is how much I relate to that person, and how much mutual understanding we have…and in terms of relating, I think it’s becoming harder and harder, we are more and more aware of how fascinating the world is, life is not as bounded that perhaps it once was, and each of us are building ourselves with the ideas and aspirations we want and as a product of this, we are all unique…so relating is becoming more and more relative…there are plenty of cool people out there, who we like in a day to day basis, but not all of them can I become good friends with…in my case I definitely have a trust issue when it comes to becoming close to someone, the trust builds over time, so in the end the childhood friends who have proven their worth still remain true friends…also sadly I think with the fast pace of life these days we don’t really have time to get to know the people who could potentially become closer to…

  5. Nandita Mitra says:

    Nice topic!
    I have both female and male close friends. One of my closest friends is a guy. He is my school friend. Also my another very very close friend is a girl. She is from my university. I do agree that when a guy and a girl becomes close friend any one of them might fall in love with the other and I don’t really know if there is any solution to this problem! But my closest guy friend and I didn’t fall for each other. we have a very very nice friendly relation. Coming back to the questions, I think in my friends first thing I look for is honesty. If a person is not honest I cannot be with him/her. Then, I am a very emotional person so the next thing I look for is emotion: for friends, for family, for country.. I also think that in any relationship two important things need to be present: Trust and Respect. I have both for all my friends. If I lose any one of these for anybody I cannot think of him/her as my friend.

    Now, the most dangerous problem I faced in friendship was “not telling the problem.” What I mean by that is let say I am mad with my friend or if he/she has done something that I didn’t like, but I am not telling it to him/her. I am keeping it inside and thinking on my own and getting more mad. But if the friendship is really good then this is not a problem. Both can say anything to each other. Communication is the key. Staying in the United States while most of my friends are in Bangladesh , another problem I face is “why you are not e-mailing me?” It is sometimes hard to keep in touch with everybody every time. Though I would say I am lucky, as most of my friends understand this.

    About old friends vs. good friends I can say, most of my friends are from my high school and university life and they are in Bangladesh now. I came to USA two years ago. I got some good friends here. So it is a bit different to compare them as there are cultural differences. So what I feel sometimes my friends here miss the main point I am saying, especially if it is related to Bangladesh or my past college. But on the other hand, they understand the problems related to my US daily life better than my friends in Bangladesh. But I think old friends usually know more than the new ones, they know every little part of my character. So it is easier to share with them.

    In conclusion, I want to say, I think true friendship is one of the most pure and beautiful relations someone can have. There is no profit, physical attractions related to it. Two people care for each other just because they like each other, they miss each other, they enjoy each other’s company. They do everything they can for each other, but don’t want anything in return. I love all my friends and I miss them when they are not with me.

  6. Shahnaz says:

    Emma,

    It is truly a blessing to have a friend like you, who still cherish our friendship with all my shortcomings, thanks for being there…by the way even though we are friends over 30+ years – i am celebrating my 16th birthday today:)…

    now here is my definition of a friend, ‘a friend is someone who makes me think, who helps me grow, always there in my good time and my worse, sincere, respectful, even if we don’t agree
    on every topic, would listen to the ideas… accept me as who i am, be with me not only when i am succesful but when i fail miserablly,
    and i can be myself when i am with my friend.’…

    I am blessed to have many people (women and men, young and old) who constantly teaches me the meaning of having a friend in life…

    although these days I do regret one thing which is not being able to keep in touch with the friends who are not easily accessible via on-line or I no longer have their updated phone numbers… does anyone miss those friends, or it has become more difficult to cherish those friendhip? any thoughts on that?

    thanks,

  7. Sharmin Islam says:

    I think that our need for a certain type of friend changes over time. When we are single, we like to hang out with other people who are also mostly single. Married couples like socializing with other married couples usually. I think one major event that has brought on a whole new set of friends into my life (while also distancing me from my old ones) has been the birth of my son. I could no longer find too many things in common with my old friends who did not have a small children. While I still maintain contact with them, I feel like my main circle of friends now consist of other mothers who also have small children. These new friends have been a life-savior for me. We all share the same trials and tribulations in raising a baby. We are able to relate to one another better and share each other’s joys and pains. My heartfelt thanks to all my “mom” friends whom I have met through different parent’s networks. You have all made my life as a new mother a much more enjoyable experience.

  8. Melissa says:

    It is definitely difficult keeping in touch with friends after a long move, as well as making new friends. I think it’s especially difficult to make good friends, after having children. You really need to dedicate time to your friends, and it is difficult when your day is so busy with your children. (I write this as I am running back and forth into the other room while checking on my one year old). I have kept in touch sporadically with a few from high school, a few from college, a few from the last place we lived, and now have a couple good friends in the new place we live.. Even though it’s sporadic, even with some of my new friends, we still can communicate as we once did from before, or where we left off from last time ..Maybe quantity of friends to relate to day to day, needs to be less to have better/stronger friendships under time constraints. Don’t want to turn anyone away either by writing that I don’t have time for more friends! I remember the year I spent abroad in France where I had lots of friends (I seemed to know the whole school), though not many close ones.
    Some of the friends I keep in touch with do not have children but I love talking to them about what they are doing as it seems to keep my business brain going as well as stay aware of other things going on in the world and helps me reminisce of my childless days of the past.
    I definitely am open to people, where I don’t have to change who I am to be their friend. Besides those who are like me, I also like making friends who are very different than I am as I can learn a lot more about other people/cultures.

  9. mithila says:

    Thanks for starting this nice topic. I have realized the need and importance of good friends even more since i moved here in USA. I don’t remember when I really became friend with my best friends. Feels like they were always there…. I never knew how lucky I was to find a true friend even before I was old enough to understand how important a really good friend is. Luckily we went to the same university and my best friend and I graduated from the same department.
    There are both positive and negative things about having your best friend around all the time. Positives are easy to assume. The negative thing is… as I already had some really good friends that even though I became friends with more people….I really dint had the time, energy or need to invest into a new relationship to take it to the next level… where you really become “friends”.
    since I came here, I really miss having somebody to talk to who I can trust. ( after marriage that i think becomes more important… because there are things you can only tell to some body who is not a family member.. partly because you dont want you family getting worried and 2ndly there are things that can only be shared with friends). I live in a city where I dont have relatives, dont know anybody else other than my husband. I was basically introduced to my his friends’ wives and they are the only people I hang around with now. Being a full time student, managing a house and a husband, the only free times I have is mostly filled with household work and attending “daoats” and inviting in return. It was not long before I realized that, may be we all are past that age where we could really be ourselves. I faced some really bad situations because of speaking my mind. Through bad experiences, now I know how lucky I was to have those few very special people in my life. I think its highly unlikely to find someone like childhood friends. not only because with age we all become hard to reach, but also because the packages that come with getting older ( marriage, job, children, all shorts of responsibilities) makes it really hard to invest into a person to be come real friend. Also our choice to choose friends gets smaller over time. But I still long for some one with whom I really can talk without holding myself back and just have some carefree time together. may be once I start job things will be better.

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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more

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