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:

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others. Watch as refugees try it out.

We could all benefit from breaking down some of the walls in our lives.

Images via Amnesty Poland

This article originally appeared on 05.26.16


You'd be hard-pressed to find a place on Earth with more wall-based symbolism than Berlin, Germany.

But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."