Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Toxic Talk and Friendship

“Isn’t personal conversation with girlfriends a good thing?” asks Washington Post Staff Writer Laura Sessions Stepp in a past story, “Enough Talk, Already.”

Yes and no.
This is what she found out:

Social scientists are realizing that while talking may strengthen female friendships and leave pals feeling temporarily better, it can also lead to increased anxiety and depression if perspective and problem-solving aren’t included rather quickly. And what about the husband who listens every night to his wife complain about her job, then one morning at breakfast offers her steps to get out of her funk? Perhaps he deserves credit rather than having a cup of coffee thrown at him.
“There’s a distinction between healthy catharsis and unhealthy rumination,” says Alice Rubenstein, a clinical psychologist in Rochester, N.Y. “Catharsis is a form of venting, of not leaving stuff inside.” When it turns into rumination with others, she says, “it becomes contagious. You have a sinking ship, and rather than bailing water, you’re making more holes in the ship.”


Amanda Rose, an associate professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri at Columbia, discovered this when she surveyed about 800 boys and girls, ages 8 to 15, twice over six months, attempting to assess depression, anxiety and friendship quality. Rose and her colleagues found that both boys and girls reported drawing closer to their self-identified best friends. But girls also demonstrated symptoms of increased anxiety and depression as their friendships deepened. Boys showed no such symptoms. When she repeated the study on college students, she got the same results.
Advances in the science of the brain help explain this. According to Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco, the female brain picks up emotional cues, both verbal and nonverbal, more quickly than the male brain. Starting at about age 12, girls put feelings into words more efficiently than boys. The key thing, though, according to Brizendine, author of the controversial book “The Female Brain,” is this: Brains learn by repetition. Repeating negative thoughts can make not only the injured party but those around her more, rather than less, distressed and angry.

To read the rest of Stepp’s intriguing article, click here.

  • Larry Parker

    Probably why most of my friends are women. I have to talk things over.
    The “So, how ’bout them Patriots?” stuff only goes so far …

  • Wisdum

    Here’s the problem, we ALL speak different languages, either ethnically, religiously, spiritually, and sexually…especially sexually ! Sex is what separates male from female…men and women speak an etirely different language, and there will never be a consenses of opinion or communication beteen the sexes if communication is only to be ongoing with only male to male and female to female. The only Way it will ever work itself out is if you proverse between the sexes with uninterested parties. (connected parties have bi-assed opinions, and never the twain shall meet !) This is what is great about this site. We don’t know each other, and we can say anything we dam well please, and either save it or delete it on your puter or brain. This site can literally through words (or Word) change your perspective on your Life and the rest of your Life… Other than that I don’t give a crap about any of you !
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Ok, WISDUM, YOUR DISCLAIMER DOESN’T FLY, OR AS OTHERS MIGHT STATE IT,”THAT DOG WON’T HUNT!” yOU’VE TAKEN TOO MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO RESPOND T VRIOUS MEMBERS OF THIS LITTLE FAMILY–myself INCLUDED–TO NOT”gIVE A CRAP” ABPIT ANY OF US! Your insight, sense of humor, creative word play and willingness to tackle any and every subject have made you one of BB.’s most prolific and contributory responders, and today’s comments are no exception (except, as I noted, for your unbelievable disclaimer at the close of ir.) Different languages notwithstanding, you ae a true communicator, and the regard you have for your fellow tracelers on this journey is obvious betweeb the lines of what you write! Een your tradematk closing gives you away, my friend. I might pass you on he street without even knowing who you were, but I recofnize a kindred spirit when I encounter one!

  • Wisdum

    Re – Margaret Balyeat | November 13, 2007 8:04 PM
    Dam! You found me out Margaret. I have had this problem for most of my Life … I am one sarcastic SOB ! (ask my wife, she will verify that !)What I do, with everybody is Confrontation and Provocation. What allowed me to function in this Life, was I cheated. I literally surrendered all to God. For all intensive purposes, I am dead (to self)… (like The Greatful Dead) I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. This pisses off my wife,(who is pathetically middle-class) because she now has absolutely no control over me (not that she ever did anyWay, or anbody else over me, for that matter) When I wake up in the morning, and A. Frenda Meine,(who I like to think is the Holy Spirit) doesn’t tell me what to do, I got the day off … That doesn’t happen very often, and sometimes He keeps me up all night.. and all day too ! Everybody says “You can’t do that ! It will kill you” or “That’s a cop out !” … So what, I’m dead already ! Yeah I was lying about not giving a crap about ALL of you, I just don’t give a crap what you may think of me. (oh yeah ! My other internet name is “The Toothless Old Fool On The Hill”, the one that the Beatles wrote about many years ago!) All I care about is the Truth, the Light and the Way (and that’s all I am, just a witness!)
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL

  • Kay

    I suppose that accounts for the strange feelings i get after meeting with a female friend. I get these mixed feelings and never know whether i have enjoyed myself or not. I like writing here but it seems that i dont write anything controversial enough to be answered…but at least i get to express myself to someone. Its a lonely life!

  • Wisdum

    Re -Kay | November 14, 2007 5:15 AM
    In the Truth, the Light and the Way, Yeshuah would have commented “You must cut the ties that bind, that you shall be free” … or “I have come to set you free!” … Beware Romans, who would put you into bondage !
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Kay

    Wisdum… do you know that i am tied down to family responsibilities with parents and a half functioning relationship?
    True i have ties that bind and i wish so much to be free but i am afraid it would mean more loneliness!

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Re: Kay
    What an interesting perspective, and as Wisuum would (correctly) observe, perception is EVERYTHING that I get responses to mt postings because I’m controversial! (Funny, that’s not how I see myself at all!(the perception thing again!) maybe you simply seem less pathetically in need of enlightenment than I or less needy PERIOD!

  • Wisdum

    Re – Kay | November 14, 2007 7:21 AM
    Wisdum… do you know that i am tied down to family responsibilities with parents and a half functioning relationship?
    ** Guesss what ! We are ALL in the same boat ! This is what the Bible refers to as Tribulation…and it ain’t gonna get no better, we are heading full steam into Armegeddon/Har Meggido. As I said before, “I cheated” (I surrendered it all to God, it’s God’s problem…I don’t give a crap !)
    True i have ties that bind and i wish so much to be free but i am afraid it would mean more loneliness!
    ** Lonliness is perception ! You are never alone “I AM with you all days (and nights) even till the end of Time”…”All we are is words (or Word) and words get in the Way!” … There are those who can stand in the middle of a hundred thousand people and feel totally absolutely alone. Those are the peole that commit suicide…their perception is total absolute des-pair ! Those that commit homicide, are crying out “I AM here dammit! I AM somebody ! What do I have to do to make you notice me ?” … “So sad, so sad, but sorry seems to be the hardest Word” (Elton John)
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL

  • victoria

    Hi Kay
    and really everyone out there that feels lonely………..
    I just got off the phone with a friend ( 800 miles away) and she is very lonely………..
    Lonely can be caused by different reasons and they are hard to understand………….
    My friend’s family and best friend have moved away and her boy-friend of the last two yrs —-has called it quits and therefore she is quite lonely………….At this time she has turned to prayer to help her and hopes that the next yr will bring her true friend and love ( again ) ,,,,,,,,,,At 55 this is something ,,,,,,,,
    I suggested to her, to meet with women and get to know them better and learn to smile, chuckle and laugh all over again……
    The most important is be yourself and talk about everything, but keep
    secrets to yourself, as those things always seem to find themselves at
    another coffee table ……..
    I like people and I talk too much, but I always kept secrets that people have shared with me and I must brag, that at 65 yrs old, there is no one that can say that I ” spill the beans “……….
    I must say, that with all the people I speak with and all the people that I email, I still get lonely …………For me, its because I have had to leave my boy friend and now i realize a close companion is important ……We need to feel cherished etc etc ……..
    Now, most mornings I get up and when I look outside, i realize that there is a creator and I give thanks, to-day it was for the snow flakes, and to-morrow who knows———-but it will be something and maybe I will meet a very close friend either gender and a friend is a wonderful thing..
    Well enough of me just talking, but keep smiling and remember to love
    something in our life …
    TO YOU >>>>> (((((((((( ))))))))))

  • Suey

    Shoot, Look at “Sonny & Cher”
    How cohesive can a relationship be when one is forever condemning the other, making fun of, belittling, insulting, the other?
    In public even….
    Love one another

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