Can Bosom Buddies Be Bad?

A bosom buddy is someone very near and dear, with who you can share your most intense feelings and difficult challenges. Also known as “bosom friends,” the term is a bit antiquated and the wording not embraced by all; however, just Shakespeare said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” a true friendship is special and unique regardless of what you call it.

Can such friendship start to sour? According to a recent New York Times article entitled “Talking is Good; Too Much Talking May Not Be” by Sarah Kershaw, this intense sharing can become more negative than positive. Some researchers studying the nature of female friendships believe that friends' excessive dwelling on their emotional difficulties can lead to additional challenges, such as anxiety and depression. Referred to as “co-rumination,” the article gives examples such as “Why didn’t he call?” and “Should I break up with him?” as such so-called obsessive discussions. These researchers also believe that technological advances such as e-mail and instant messages can exasperate the problem. Some of these adults feel that “kids giving kids advice” can be bad and contagious, while acknowledging that the talking in such friendships can help shield against aggressive or unkind behavior by others outside the friendship.

While the article does raise some good points, I believe the positives outweigh the bad when it comes to supporting and sharing with friends.

For example, while parents and adults may mean well and often be right, it’s a fellow teen friend who provides the most desired support in a tough time. Additionally, such gender-oriented thinking can feed prevalent stereotypes held by many girls and women themselves: “Oh, I can’t stand being in a room with just girls, because it just gets too bitchy!” Finally, there is a bit of ageism at play in the piece. For all the bad or misinformed advice from peers, there is a great deal of wonderful support and assistance – just look at the Scarleteen message boards for fantastic evidence.

Taking things with a grain of salt and thinking critically about what we are told and see is a good way to go through life. Ending or altering “bad” friendships, just as changing the status of a romantic or sexual relationship that is unhealthy or just not working out, can be like removing an emotional band-aid.

However, good platonic friends, regardless of gender, are worth their salt in a world full of individuals. These relationships spice up our lives and provide salve for our souls, be it celebrating the good or contemplating the bad. What do you think?

*Literally, bosom refers to the chest area; figuratively, it has been considered to be the “heart” of a person, often a female, the place of our intimate feelings and emotions.