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I recently came across this article in the Wall Street Journal about the differences for men and women in the friendships that they have. It's interesting to me, because I have had a very conversations over the past few weeks with my husband about this very same topic. I read another article from a friend (not sure the link for that one) that said that part of the reason that women (generally speaking) have more drama in their relationships than men do is because we have a hard time drawing a line between an acquaintance and a friend. Whereas men have a clear definition of who is their friend, who they can talk to and confide in, and who is just their "bud" that they pal around with and hang out with, women don't have this distinction. Subsequently, women end up in situations where they have opened up too much to someone who really hasn't earned their trust - revealing too much of their lives to someone who really should just be an acquaintance.
In the WSJ article, it takes a different approach to the ways that men and women handle relationships, and I find that, at least in my life, its pretty true. I think that my husband could sit around for two weeks with a friend from childhood, and they may talk about work, but they would never really delve into anything emotion or deep. They focus more on the activities that they are doing rather than how they are feeling or how they are emotionally bonding. Alternatively, I feel pretty certain that if I got together with my college friends for a weekend of fun, we'd reminisce about the fantastic times we had living in the sorority house, but we would also move on to the present - work, husbands, houses, children. Probably there would be a little (good natured) gossip thrown in there about whichever friend wasn't able to make it for the weekend. The WSJ article adds that often times, men don't even divulge enough about their personal lives for their friends to know their children's names. I find that hard to believe - unless you have friends that really just never listen...surely children have to come up just in casual conversation... like "sorry I can't come to the poker game. Little Jimmy has a baseball tournement." Regardless, the point is made. I could name my friends from high school's child that I have never even met. I know the names of my pregnant friends' future babies. Knowing the details of my friends lives is not something I am lacking for sure.
Although I do see where the WSJ is coming from, I do disagree that every friendship is that way for me. From the men I know closely in my life (dad, brother, husband), there is always an exception. For the most part, I would say their friendships certainly fall under the heading of what the WSJ has described. However, each of them also has that one friend that they can turn to - the one friend that they really can talk about their problems, wives, home life, struggles, etc. They do not allow this priveledge to just anyone, and maybe it can only be one person at a time depending on where they are in their lives, but they do have all have at least one close friend that they really open up to.
I suppose I should rest easy knowing that my husband doesn't sit around and gossip about me and all my flaws to just anyone. I just think its interesting that men and women are so different in how they approach every relationship that they enter in. But alas, differences are what makes the world go 'round!
I'm reading this: Gender Differences in FriendshipsTweet this! Posted by Lauren on Thursday, April 08, 2010