From Business Day
By Marika Sboros
Of course, I appreciate all the benefits the internet has to offer. It helps to reduce stress in my life in other areas, including cutting down the time it takes me to do research.
And I do understand that the net is simply a cyber-microcosm of life itself, with all the good along with all the bad. It’s the same with friends.
Thankfully not all the unsolicited e-mails from “friendly” strangers turn out to be gross and unwelcome. The most recent contained information that wasn’t even all that new, but was certainly worth reading and passing on (unlike all those irritating chain letters, which I instantly dispatch into the trash folder).
It concerned a report of a study by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) some years ago into “the power of friendship among women”, published in Psychological Review, a journal of the American Psychological Association. At the time, it was described as a “landmark study” which proved that friendships between women are “special”.
Nothing too landmark about that sentiment, you might think, but you would need to read the whole study to see quite why friendships between women can be seen as special.
“Love doesn't exist, that's what I'm trying to tell you guys. And I'm not picking on love, 'cause I don't think friendship exists either." That's a line from Wedding Crashers. If you can make it through the first handful of paragraphs lamenting spam email, then the article actually gets pretty good. It mentions everyone’s favorite social hormone, Oxytocin. “Tend and befriend” is a good alternative to “fight or flight,” but clearly these scientists haven’t been to Macy’s at the beginning of their Labor Day sale. One question that they haven’t been able to answer is: are men and women capable of being friends? A perfect, unanswerable koan, worthy of debate in the Tango Forums.