Why Michelle Obama says Barack needs more friends.

Speaking at the Obama Foundation Summit earlier this week, former first lady Michelle Obama heaped praise on her husband — with one big caveat.

Photo by Paul Morigi/ Getty Images for Glamour.

She praised Barack Obama’s decency, integrity, and integrity and talked about how important those things were to her own growth and success — but she was careful to note that he is just one portion of her much larger supporting network.

“I love my husband, and he is my stone, but my girlfriends are my sanity, ” she said while being interviewed by her friend, poet Elizabeth Alexander.

Obama spoke about how close-knit friendships with other women pacified her during a frenzied existence in the White House, kept her grounded, and even held her accountable to her values and ideals.

Then, addressing the men in the crowd, Obama added: “Y’all should get you some friends.”

It’s well known by now that men and women generally do friendship differently. Women’s friendships are known to be much more emotionally intimate and rewarding while men’s often are more likely to be surface-level and based on shared activities. According to some real talk from the former first lady, women only do friendship better.

“I’m, you know, sad for you guys, ” she said. “Y’all should get you some friends. Get you some friends and talk to each other,’ cause that’s the other thing we( females) do; we straighten each other out on some things, our girlfriends.”

Her husband, she says, is no exception.

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Barack, who you talking to? And it can’t only be Marty[ Nesbitt ], ‘” she joked. “Y’all need to go talk to each other about your stuff because there’s so much of it. It’s so messy.”

Speaking off the cuff, Obama pretty much nailed what relationship researchers( a real chore !) have been saying about men for a while.

Men do need more friends.

Studies indicate that chronic loneliness is a near-epidemic in adult humen, with both the quantity and quality of our friendships falling off a cliff once we reach adulthood, and that the suicide rate for middle-aged humen is more than three times that for women.

This doesn’t happen by collision. We live in a society that encourages humen to suppress feelings from a young age so they don’t appear “weak.” The emphasis on “strength” in humen often comes at the detriment of many other( arguably more important) traits.

It’s time for this to change. “It’s powerful to have strong humen, but what does that strength mean? ” Obama mused. “You know, does it mean respect? Does it entail responsibility? Does it entail compassion? “

It’ll take a big cultural change to get more humen opening up to each other, but having person as influential as Michelle Obama addressing the issue is a good start.

You can watch the full interview below:

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