Most girls I know love to talk. Incessantly. So, I don’t now, nor have I ever had, very many female friends. And, while I have spent at least the last 11 of my 21 years trying to figure out why I, a female, avoid the infamous “Girls Night Out” by any and all means necessary, a recent article in the New York Times suggests that I am, in fact, not the socially awkward anti-social that my friends accuse me of being. I’m just smart.
Friendship and girl-talk has become of particular interest to psychologists and researchers, namely: How much talking is too much talking? Many studies have found that excessive talk about problems can lead to emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression.
The overall tendency for females to over-rely on one another has been termed “co-rumination,” also characterized by frequent discussion or obsession about the same topic. Needless to say, male counterparts are most often at the center of female gab, and unfortunately, such an obsession has significantly intensified with e-mails, text messaging, instant message, Facebook, and other online networks.
How many times have you asked a girlfriend why Love Interest One didn’t call, despite being well aware that he wouldn’t even settle down for Beyonce, or whether or not you should break up with Love Interest Two after you have already determined that he is an unfaithful, pathological liar who only cares about his own well-being? Or, better yet, how many times have you gone to a friend with ANY question that you already knew the answer to?
Females are very thoughtful beings. Almost too much so. Thus, it is easy to fall into hyper-analyzation mode, which entails brooding over a particular topic, and then taking that topic to anyone who will listen. Friend One says, “Girl, you know your man is no good.” You agree, but you love him, so you move on to Friend Two in hopes that she will advise you to give your man another chance. Because that’s what you want to hear. And, if she let’s you down, you take your qualms to Friend Three, and the vicious cycle lives on because God forbid you make a decision about your life that Friends One, Two, and Three don’t approve of. But, be careful, for there are times when the advice from those closest to you is guided by ulterior motives that require tossing your best interests to the wayside.
Getting a second opinion, support, or validation from friends, male or female, can be comforting, but girl-talk as a phenomenon should have its limits. There is a difference between asking for feedback on an idea that was originally your own, versus asking how to handle a situation altogether.