Your Life, Your Rules

Surprise – science says that men fall in love faster. Here’s why he’s more likely to say the L word first.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
<b>Images</b> <b>Text</b> Sophie Hong.
<b>Images</b> <b>Text</b> Sophie Hong.

Loves me, loves me not

Surprise – science says that men fall in love faster. Here’s why he’s more likely to say the L word first.

Wise men say only fools rush in. But, according to a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, it seems like men are the ones who are guilty of that. The findings show that men fall in love faster, and are quicker in expressing their feelings too. Psychologist Marissa Harrison, who co-authored the study, explains that women are more cautious when it comes to love because we “have a lot more to lose reproductively by committing to the wrong man.” Another reason for this might be traditional gender roles, where men were expected to be assertive, so they’re more likely to vocalise things. 

<b>Images</b> Everett/Click Photos <b>Text</b> Karen Fong.
<b>Images</b> Everett/Click Photos <b>Text</b> Karen Fong.

T oxic relationships are nothing new – whether you’ve been at the mercy of a gaslighting boyfriend or an overbearing friend, all of us have had some experience or other with a person we’ve had to get rid of. As women, we’re known to share more emotional bonds with other ladies (while men tend to base their friendships more on shared activities), making it particularly hard for us when it comes to letting go of toxic friends.

Occupational hazard

Unlike in a relationship, where you and your partner have to have frank discussions about your feelings, it can be awkward to discuss your problems when it comes to friendships .

In their book Toxic Friendships: Knowing the Rules and Dealing with the Friends Who Break Them, authors Suzanne Degges-White and Judy Pochel Van Tieghem identify two types of toxic friends. First, there are the people you intuitively feel are bad for you. Usually, they make you feel worse after you’ve been hanging out with them, or you suddenly realise you’ve been trying to avoid them without realising it. The other type revolves around actual situations that could be toxic. For example, when a friend only wants to hang out with you when she needs something, or when she isolates you from other relationships and you feel like you’re constantly defending them.

The space between

Getting away from a toxic relationship can be awkward but it’s not impossible. Singapore isn’t a very big place and you’re bound to run into that toxic friend you’ve been trying to avoid sooner or later. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to lessen the chances of that happening.

“As long as you still feel quite triggered by the person it may be a good idea to give yourself physical space from them to allow yourself to rebalance and heal. Stay away from events that you know they will be attending until you feel you’re in a more peaceful place and can be relatively civil,” advises psychologist Anoushka Beh of Abeh Psych. “Keep things light and brief if you do run into them – this is how you can practice kindness to yourself and support your movement away from the baggage of the past and into a cleaner and clearer future.”

If friends ask you what happened, be the bigger person. There’s no need to throw your ex-friend under the bus – they’re probably working through some stuff of their own. A simple “we aren’t that close anymore” should be enough.

Toxic friends can be pretty dangerous – <i>Mean Girls</i> totally proved that
Toxic friends can be pretty dangerous – <i>Mean Girls</i> totally proved that

The breakup

According Anoushka, the best way to heal and move on is to start filling up the space created in your life with good things. “This could be in the form of new hobbies you’ve been meaning to try, or social events you’re excited to attend. This may be more difficult at first, especially if you’re still grieving the loss of the relationship, but the more you open up to new experiences and usher in fresh energy into your life, the easier it will become over time.”

Naturally, there will be a gap, especially if this was someone you spent most of your time with. So it’s important to get back to being you and do the things that make you happy and remember what that was like. One of the problems with a toxic friend is their tendency to put you down all the time – now that that’s out of the way, you can – as Taylor Swift once said – begin again.



This is the friend who constantly puts you down in front of others all in the name of “fun”. Even though she writes it off as a joke, if you feel unhappy, they should go.


Even though you constantly make plans to hang out with this friend, she always manages to flake out at the last minute. Sometimes, things legitimately come up… but all the time?


So much is going on with this girl that you really want to be there for her. But sometimes, people are more invested in the drama than in actually solving them. Also, it doesn’t leave much room in her life for you, and friendships are made to be equal, not one-sided. 

Hello from the other side

So you’ve survived the awkward run-ins and you’ve started doing things that you enjoy again – congratulations, you’re well on your way to getting back to your old self. At the end of the day, as cliché as it may sound, time really does heal all wounds and, with enough space, you’ll soon be older and wiser. Ultimately, we count on our friends to help us grow, and when that doesn’t happen, it’s natural for people to fall by the wayside – and that’s fine. Just know that one day, you’ll wake up and realise you don’t need that person anymore, and it will feel great.