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How Girls are Wired

Last week I visited a kindergarten class.  Two little girls sat on the floor side-by-side and stacked blocks on each side of a balance weight scale.  I watched and asked them what they liked about school.  Millie answered quickly.  “I like my two best friends.  Lydia and Lora.”  She didn’t know their last names.  Lydia said, “I like my teacher.  She’s nice.  And my two best friends.  Millie and uh……..What’s her name?”  I laughed.  It’s good to know that some things about little girls haven’t changed since I was a child.

Young children are friends and don’t know each other’s last names.  And sometimes, just like Lydia, they don’t know first names.  And it hasn’t changed that girls have best friends.  Boys have friends, but seem to run in packs.  During the twenty-five years that I taught elementary age students, and more than that as the mother of a son, I’ve never known a boy who wrote BFF (best friends forever).

According to a study reported in TIME Science and conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and Georgia State University, girls are hardwired to care about one-on-one relationships with their best friend forever, while the brains of boys are more attuned to group dynamics and competition with other boys. (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1911103,00.html)

I was ten when my best friend’s family moved twenty miles away and my friend went to a different school.  I cried for three nights.  Who would I sit with at lunch?  Who’d swing with me on the playground?  And who’d ask me to spend the night?  On Friday, the girl who sat behind me in my 5th grade class wore her red shirt that was just like mine, and she went home with me after school.  And the next Friday night, I stayed all night at her house.

We females latch onto a friend and declare her my BBF.  In high school, a best friend loans her glittery sweater and keeps secrets.  As maid of honor, she stands beside us when we say, “I do.”  She babysits so we can get a haircut when our days are filled with dirty diapers and play dough.  She picks up our children at school when we’re sick.  She plans our surprise 40th birthday party.  She’s the first person we call with good news.  Or bad news.

Among a listing of Truths for Mature Humans I read, “I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history when you die.”  I agree.  And I hope she cleans my bathroom and throws away the molded casserole on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator before my relatives arrive.

As Millie and Lydia grow up, I predict that they’ll have many different best friends and they’ll know their names.  First and last names.  But the names aren’t important.  What’s important is that they have a close friend for each stage of their lives.  That’s just the way girls are wired.


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