Tend and befriend

One of those observations that makes so many things make sense:

Under Threat, Women Bond, Men Withdraw

Of course, not all women 'tend and befriend' and not all men withdraw and we all do some of both in our lives, but interesting line of thinking, indeed.


  1. how true, indeed. i wonder why. it's funny with men -- those awful "rules" kind of do apply. they do seem to really prefer being the hunter. they do seem to have a harder time talking about "stuff". what would we be without our women friends? although, men are nice too.

  2. Interestingly, I have long observed that I withdraw under stress and 'disappear' into my own world, becoming very obsessive and ritualistic.

    Not only that, I get stressed very easily - by things that cause most other people little stress, and I rarely call upon others for support. This contrasts to my female friends who prefer to 'talk things out'. Based upon these observations, I don't possess a typically female brain, at least in the context of emotional processing.

    The onset of my anorexia nervosa (AN) occurred after many months of very extreme stress. Both food restriction and over-exercise (in which I engaged to relieve anxiety) raises cortisol levels via hypoglycaemia and tissue damage. Starvation, including AN, is accompanied by chronically elevated cortisol levels - which is known to contribute to bone loss and to alter brain neurophysiology. Furthermore, research has shown that people with AN are less responsive to facial expressions and have difficulties with Theory of Mind/empathy.

    Thus, perhaps the brains of females with an inherent risk of developing AN respond differently to stress than the brains of the typical female? However, such a hypothesis is arguably at odds with data relating to the prevalence of AN in females vs. males.

  3. Interestingly, I have the same response as Cathy- when I'm under stress, I retreat and hide very turtle-like, and I don't like talking about my feelings.

    But this research is useful in that it helps me understand both my own response to stress, how others may respond differently, and also why some people find my withdrawal and retreat so annoying!

  4. Maybe oxytocin is involved?


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