• Keeping Friends

Friendship and self-disclosure: The times they are a-changing

Published: October 6, 2007 | Last Updated: June 30, 2020 By | Reply Continue Reading

Female college students are twice as likely as their male peers
to use social networking sites like Facebook (their favorite) and MySpace (ranked
second), according to a market research survey from Anderson Analytics. The findings,
reported in Advertising Age this week, examined the likes, dislikes, and media preferences
of college students between the ages of 18 and 24. The same article mentioned that
older women are more reticent than younger ones about networking with each other and sharing
information on the internet…

The findings are reminiscent of generational differences in friendship
found a decade ago by researcher and investigative journalist Sandy Sheehy in her
book, Connecting: The Enduring Power of Female Friendship (HarperCollins, 2000).
Her landmark study of female friendships found that while some
ground rules governing friendships were shared by all women regardless of age,
others were age-related.

Women born prior to 1940 placed their relationships with men
and family ahead of their female friendships and were more likely to be guarded
in discussing personal or family problems with other women. Those born after
1950 were more likely to make their friends a priority in their lives (equal to
that of romance and family) and were more open in talking about and sharing
their problems with them.

Taken together, the two reports suggest an inverse correlation between age and intimate friendship, both real and virtual.

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