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Psychology, Relationships


>If there is one thing I have discovered it is that men and women are different in many ways. One thing I have always noticed is how men and women conduct their friendships in a unique way.

Men seem to remain loyal for years perhaps because they stay a ‘safe’ distance from friends, never delving too deep into the workings of the individuals mind set (ignorance about a person can be bliss!) and are generally more accepting of differences. Men really aren’t concerned if they don’t hear from a friend for years. They will just have a beer whenever the friend resurfaces again. Men do bitch, however they tend to laugh and joke as they tear a friend to pieces so hey that’s OK!

Women approach friendships differently. We need to connect and feel comfortable with friends. We need to feel like our friends are our cheerleaders, our sisters. We naturally want to support each other, reach out to one another and talk about the issue’s that matter. Women can expect a lot from other women. Sometimes too much which can lead to great upset. Also women can be more vulnerable to passive aggressive behaviour, jealously and competition simply because we can jump in too fast and allow ‘negative’ souls into our personal life. Sometimes the male approach of keeping a safe distance is attractive. However, women do seem to enjoy feeling cherised and loved by their girl friends. The risks of being hurt seems worth it. Anything is possible when you have just one amazing friend who has your back.

I have found a fascinating report on the differences in the female and male friendships. Although I do feel you will find exceptions to the rule, generally most findings are pretty accurate. Please do comment below on your own experiences with female and male friends.

The Report
Women typically describe their friendships in terms of closeness and emotional attachment. What characterises friendships between women is the willingness to share important feelings, thoughts, experiences, and support. Women devote a good deal of time and intensity of involvement to friends. Friendships between women, more so than between men, are broad and less likely to be segmented.

That is, women usually make a deep commitment to their female friends and their friendships usually cover a broad spectrum, while men’s friendships tend to be segmented and centered around particular activities.
Men have significantly fewer friends than women, especially close friendships or best friends. Although the majority of men may not have close friends they do not conduct their lives in isolation. Most of the men in this study had a variety of same-sex relationships. These include “activity friends,” such as a weekly tennis partner or drinking buddies; “convenience friends” where the relationship is based on the exchange of favors; and “mentor friends” typically between a younger and an older man.
While women’s friendships are usually defined as self-revealing, accepting, and intimate, men usually shy away from intimacy and closeness. The three barriers to close friendships among men: competition between men, traditional masculine stereotypes about “real men,” and fear of homosexuality.
In a discussion of gender differences in friendship, the report points out that although men rate their friendship as less intimate than do women, at least in terms of self-disclosure and emotional expressiveness, men’s friendships nevertheless serve to buffer stress and reduce depression in the same way that women’s friendships do. The report states that when men do achieve a high level of intimacy with other men, they usually follow a different path than women, one that emphasises activities and companionship over self-disclosure and emotional expressiveness.

So what do you think ladies? Have you any experiences you would like to share?


About Alana Munro

Writer. Mama to three, wife to one. Red wine consumer.


4 thoughts on “>Friendship

  1. >I have always loved the quote 'Friends are the family that you choose'.And sometimes I think that their love and support can mean even more than what we get from our families because they are not bound to us they are 'choosing' to stand beside us. A clever chicky told me that 'A good friend is the 'must have' accessory'. And I am inclined to agree…

    Posted by Debbie | October 19, 2010, 8:34 am
  2. >Friends can come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It takes maturity to learn this however.. as a teen you think your friendships are going to last forever and a day.When you lose a friendship it is difficult, like a grieving process (with hindsight we learn we were probably better off losing the friendship as it was likely toxic anyway!) As we become a little older and wiser, we (hopefully) learn that we don't need negative energy or poisonous relationships. We also learn that quality wins over 'quantity'. Perhaps we just start to think more like men do when it comes to friendships?!

    Posted by Carla | October 19, 2010, 10:23 am
  3. >Different people have different definitions of friendship. For some, it is the trust in an individual that he / she won't hurt you. For others, it is unconditional love. There are some who feel that friendship is companionship. People form definitions based on the kind of experiences they have had.

    Posted by Jenny | October 21, 2010, 1:49 am
  4. >Thanks girls, some really good points! Really enjoyed reading your insights about friendship xxx

    Posted by Honey | October 21, 2010, 9:01 am

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