Emotional Health · Family & Friends

On the Bright Side: Are Women Better at Having Fun?

Women have long been under the social constraint that dictated that your social time should be “couples’ time,” and that time should be organized around pleasing your mate. If you were unattached (heaven forbid), your social time needed to be spent fixing that problem. Generations of women found themselves leaving parties just as the fun was starting, avoiding foreign films, and rushing through museums because their husbands didn’t share their interests.

That no longer holds true, as women have recognized the power of female friendship. Couples no longer feel compelled (at least not all of us) to spend every moment together. It is now recognized that spending time apart is often healthy for your relationship. Psychologist Arthur Aron says that “quality time” is not the most important factor in keeping things good. He has found that the strength of a relationship is often correlated with the extent that the partners encourage each other to grow and expand their talents.

Partners of both sexes are more likely to pursue their interests on their own. It seems that women today book more travel alone, and men do not need to drag their wives on so many camping trips (I am overgeneralizing and depending on stereotypes here). It has been observed that women (generally) define intimacy as “talking” about personal issues. Men are more likely to define intimacy as “doing things together,” and have long been bewildered by this. They feel that when they spend time engaged in an activity like golf or going to a movie, they are “close” to someone. That is partly why some men can consider themselves to be “best friends,” yet rarely discuss personal issues.

Besides the ever-popular book group or luncheons, women should be encouraged by the changing of social norms and schedule more time together. Dr. Pat Allen, Women’s Voices’ publisher, told me that the other night she attended an event with female friends “held at the New York Botanical Garden, where the flowers were astonishing and we found a table to talk during the cocktail hour. Serious talk, silly talk, supportive talk, girl talk. Too much fun.  I feel like I had a vacation.” She says “women who are unencumbered by child care (should) . . . occasionally have a night out” to pursue the kind of pleasures that they know best. And definitely deserve.

RELATED: “Why ‘Women Over 40’ Belong Together



Arthur Aron, Elaine N Aron
Love and the expansion of self: Understanding attraction and satisfaction. (1986).




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