Social Question

thorninmud's avatar

Dudes or "blokes" if you prefer : Do any of you find it much more difficult to establish friendships with men than with women? Why might that be?

Asked by thorninmud (20495points) June 7th, 2012

For me, I can easily fall into friendship mode with women. Not that I want to, say, go shopping with them, but conversation comes effortlessly, my guard goes down and my heart opens up. Around guys, I have to muster my attention and remind myself to keep my guard down, and the ease of interaction suffers. I’m an introvert anyway, so social interaction is always a bit draining, but much more so around men.

The upshot is that I’ve had very few close male friends. Even in the abstract, the idea of hangin’ out with the boys really doesn’t appeal.

I’m not sure why this is. Thoughts?

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7 Answers

Paradox25's avatar

I usually find it much easier to talk to guys in general, mainly because most women don’t seem to share any interests of mine. However, I’m a very introverted person with unique interests and hobbies, so I don’t even relate to most guys either. I don’t need to hang with the guys myself, or need ‘guy time’, so to speak. In the end I have found it much easier to make friends with animals over humans of either sex/gender. I don’t think you’re a rare case, and people tend to put up facades.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m very similar. I’ve had two close male friends since college, with whom I felt I could share anything. Both of them were gay. Both of them have drifted away, though, in the intervening years.

I became friends with them before they came out. Both were seeing women at the time that I got to know them. I think they both suspected they were gay, but weren’t entirely sure, at that time. But they could have known for sure, and just not been willing to fully admit it to themselves or anyone else.

I always thought I felt safer with them compared to other men, because they weren’t as competitive. They didn’t make fun of me. They were more sympathetic and empathetic. They seemed to understand feelings. I didn’t feel like I had to protect so much of myself with them.

In general, with men, it is that way. It’s tough to be vulnerable. Men seem to have an instinct for going after weakness. For competing to see who is the most powerful or who gets to lead. There seems to be less cooperativeness.

I hang out with men who are fairly unusual in the sense that they are artistic folks. They are dancers and musicians and very liberal, politically. But since college, I have never felt able to let my guard down, even with straight men of this kind. These are men who attend mens groups and are into sharing feelings and crying and showing emotions, but even so, the way they do it is kind of competitive. As if there is a position at the top for the man who is the most sensitive.

I’m not saying the other men are this way. I don’t know. I don’t share my thoughts with them. This is just how I feel about them.

In comparison, women are so easy for me to talk to. I never feel threatened by them. I feel like I can share all my shit, and they aren’t going to judge me—well, not all women, but the ones who become my friends. They seem sympathetic and supportive and it feels very intimate. Indeed, almost all the women who are friends with me are also women I was once intimate with. It’s as if we have to be lovers for me to trust them, and if that’s the criteria for making a friend, then I’m just not going to have male friends. I hope that’s not the criteria. I would like to have a male friend I could share everything with and not feel like I am putting my secrets in unsafe places.

Is this only in my head? Only my perception? Or are men truly more competitive and dangerous and less trustworthy? Or is it that people who can’t talk about their interior lives are boring to me, and far more men are unable to do so because they don’t know their interior lives? I know that male writers and other male artists are generally much more interesting and they do seem to be much more in touch with feelings, although I still don’t trust them the way I feel I can trust women who are intelligent and artistic.

I have no interest in hanging out drinking with guys or shooting the shit with them, or horsing around, playing games or busting on each other. I don’t want to go fishing or playing golf. I don’t like playing most games, although I do enjoy football. My favorite physical activity, though, is bicycling, which isn’t exactly conducive to communication.

My wife and I are couple friends with another couple. Both my wife and the woman are really big yoga fans. They are trying to get the husbands to take up doing yoga together. They said we could go out and have beers after, no questions asked, if we did the yoga thing. I like the guy, but I still don’t really trust him, and somehow, doing yoga together seems a little too uncomfortable. If I’m going to do yoga with guys, I want it to be with guys I don’t know. Guys at the Ashram, where we can all be weird and none of us have to admit in real life that we do this.

So you can see, I am high evolved….. NOT! I may look like a sensitive man, but my inner neanderthal is hovering there barely hidden beneath the surface, like some giant sea snake coiled to leap out and destroy any life form that gets too close. Except for female life forms. Somehow they seem to emit anti-threat hormones that put the neanderthal to sleep.

I’ve often wondered if this is just how it is. Many women have told me I’m more sensitive than most men, which is great, but I feel like an imposter, able to be sensitive around women, yet completely closed off around men. It’s sometimes strange being such different people depending on the gender of the people around me. I wonder if I trust women I shouldn’t, and fail to trust men that I should? Who knows. I like to think everyone has a chance. But I have no idea.

Great question!

thesparrow's avatar

There’s been some study done (and I’m not sure this is legit or not) that says women are better at bonding and social relationships.. partly because we’re responsible for raising children. Back in the day, women didn’t need to be competitive simply because they had no place in the public sphere; they didn’t need to fight off other females for positions. Men need to always fight—for women, for food, for resources, for job positions. It would be normal to see other men as rivals and to not want to reveal any vulnerabilities.

We women—well, we simply smile and say ‘you poor, poor creatures.’

I’ve had friendships with men before but I’ve never had male best friends, and the men I’ve been closer with were more of the emotional, quiet, non-aggressive kind. The sad thing about this is that if you ask any woman, she’d just LOVE to tell you how she wants a man who is in touch with his feelings! But introduce her to that mopey, starving artist and watch her recoil in horror.

flutherother's avatar

No, I’ve always found it a lot easier to establish friendships with men. Men are less complex than women and easier to relate to in my experience.

Blackberry's avatar

I was essentially raised by women, so it’s a bit harder for me to identify with some men. If a man is too macho, for example, I can’t identify with him.

thesparrow's avatar

@flutherother Lol, I’ll go to guys if I want to talk about video games or movies, and girls when I want to talk about my feelings.

MilkyWay's avatar

I’m a girl and my closest friends have always been boys. I just get along better with them, as we share simliar interests… girls can be well. Bitchy at times.
Most of the time.

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