Part of the reason concerns opportunity, says Molly Farrell, 29, mother of a 2-year-old daughter in San Rafael, CA. "By the time my husband gets home at night, I'm trying to get dinner ready and it's not a great time for a serious discussion," she explains.
And Sheehy reveals that we're all more likely to turn to women when we need to talk. "Studies show that single people, whether male or female, go to female friends for help," she says. "Women tend to give emotional support and walk each other through problems; men are more inclined to instantly offer solutions."
How You Make the Connection
When mothers need a sympathetic ear, technology often provides the means. More than half (54%) noted that they do most of their communication by talking on the phone, sending e-mail, or chatting online, compared to 35% of men.
So why are dads reaching for the phone and mouse less? Again, it may be due to the dynamics of men's friendships, which tend to be more about activity than discussion. Privacy is also a factor. "Women often share intense feelings with friends, and as moms, they worry that their anger or sadness might alarm their children if they talk to their friends when the kids are present," Sheehy explains. When she interviewed women for Connecting, she found that many felt closest to friends when talking to them on the phone or online because they didn't have to censor themselves.
While communicating electronically may be convenient, our survey indicated it's important to see people face-to-face. The more people relied on technology to keep in touch, the less content they were with their friendships. Sixty-four percent of those who feel less than satisfied say they do much of their chatting online or on the phone, versus 41% of satisfied respondents.
How You're Hanging Out
Socializing is often a family affair for today's moms and dads, with more than 38% of women and 23% of men saying they commonly go to their friends' homes with their kids.