Girl Talk Has Its Limits

But recently female friendship and girl talk, particularly among adolescents, has drawn growing interest from psychologists and researchers examining the question of how much talking is too much talking. Some studies have found that excessive talking about problems can contribute to emotional difficulties, including anxiety and depression.

“When girls are talking about these problems, it probably feels good to get that level of support and validation,” said Dr. Rose, whose latest study on co-rumination was published in the journal Developmental Psychology last year. “But they are not putting two and two together, that actually this excessive talking can make them feel worse.”

Teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to co-ruminating — and depression and anxiety — because “there are so many stressors in adolescence and a lot are ambiguous,” Dr. Rose added. “So things like starting dating or starting serious relationships with boys, concerns about cliques, being popular — these very social stressors, they can be really hard to control and they really lend themselves to rumination.”

“It’s like you want to solve a problem whatever it may be, but the advice of one person never satisfies you and you’re constantly on the hunt for more advice,” she said. “I think a lot of times you are looking for empathy and you want someone to feel the way you do. You want your feelings to be justified. In the end, I hope to feel better. You want them to say, ‘It’s O.K. he dumped you, you failed the test.’ You’re seeking reassurance.”

In other words, women talk and talk and never solve anything.

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