As clichéd as it sounds, relationships between women do shape so much of our understandings of ourselves, starting with our mothers. I think all women can relate to the feeling of having merged with best friends. We begin to look alike, talk alike, even take on the same mannerisms. They are as close as family. We give a lot of attention to the heterosexual, nuclear family, but our friends determine as much, I bet, of who we are, how we feel, and how we behave.