From the Toronto Sun, May 27, 2008


Bond girls
Friendship is what life is all about.
Just ask the stars of Sex and the City


By JOANNE RICHARD, Special to Sun Media
Last Updated: 27th May 2008,

The world's most glamorous gal pals are back with a brand of girlfriend power that resonates with many.

In good times and bad, the women of Sex and the City have mirrored how partnerships in secrets, silliness and support play a starring role in women's lives everywhere, say experts.

"Friendship, generally speaking, is what women do best," says psychologist Harriet Lerner.

The four main characters in the series, which first premiered on HBO in 1998 and evolved into a feature film opening Thursday, are the poster girls for female friendships -- each one so different, yet they're always there for one another.

"Maybe we all are each other's soul mates," said Carrie in one episode, talking about her friendship with Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha.

According to therapist Heather McKechnie, female friendships are powerful and the Sex and the City phenomenon highlights just how much help women can give to each other throughout a lifetime.

"Girlfriends are extremely important no matter how old you are. Since women live longer than men, girlfriends are often the people who help us get through the difficult stages in life such as kids leaving home whether it be grade school or college/university, illness, deaths, moves, social activities," says McKechnie, a registered marriage and family therapist.

"It is my hope that this movie highlights how important women are to women and encourages more women to pick up the phone, e-mail, text, drop in or whatever pleases them to keep in touch with their girlfriends. Tell women to stop thinking about calling girlfriends and just do it," she says.

Great girlfriends talk it out. Their gabfests are the RX for good health and personal success. Strong social relationships enhance our quality of life and physical and mental well being, reports the Harvard Medical School's nurses' health study.

Embrace the friends you're with: Lerner, author of the bestseller, The Dance of Anger, says, "It is important to have a number of friends. When we depend on one friend to meet all of our needs, that person can't help but disappoint us."

And, she adds, "Recognize that friendship doesn't always go well. Probably everyone has felt hurt or deeply disappointed by a friend at some time, or dismayed to recognize mean-spirited feelings of one's own. Friendship is not immune to anger, envy, competition, and the entire range of emotions that make us human."

Meanwhile, Dr. Renee Bondy admits she can't wait to follow the continuing friendship adventures in the upcoming Sex and the City feature film.

The University of Windsor professor teaches a women's studies course titled Gal Pal: Women and Friendship.

"The show has definitely drawn attention to the topic of female friendships and opened up discussions," says Bondy, adding that women have tended to put other relationships first, but now female friendships are receiving much more formal recognition in being central to women's lives.