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, honesty, 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 part of her much larger support network.


"I love my husband, and he is my rock, 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 calmed 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 just 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 (women) 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 just 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 friendship researchers (a real job!) have been saying about men for a while.

Men do need more friends.

Studies show that chronic loneliness is a near-epidemic in adult men, 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 men is more than three times that for women.

This doesn't happen by accident. We live in a society that encourages men to suppress feelings from a young age so they don't appear "weak." The emphasis on "strength" in men 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 men, but what does that strength mean?" Obama mused. "You know, does it mean respect? Does it mean responsibility? Does it mean compassion?"

It'll take a big cultural shift to get more men opening up to each other, but having someone as influential as Michelle Obama addressing the issue is a good start.

You can watch the full interview below:

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

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It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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