August 15, 2015

ALL MEN ARE FRIENDLY; NO TWO WOMEN ARE FRIENDS:

Men Need Friends : Male friendships often center on groups and activities. But without strong one-on-one ties, men are more likely to feel isolated when romantic partnerships fail or don't happen at all. (ALANA MASSEY,  AUG 12, 2015, Pacific Standard)

A study published in PLoS One in March revealed that, while women prefer intimate one-to-one friendships, men are more likely to experience friendship in larger groups. The study was based on how men and women appeared in social media profile photos and, overwhelmingly, men appeared in large groups while women preferred to appear with another female friend. (The researchers acknowledged that these photos might not represent real-life social relationships but noted: "[N]o existing research suggests that profile pictures would include imagined or random social relations to any significant extent [not least because the other person is likely to object].") Though they ruled out the prospect that men do not appear with one another for fear of homophobic suggestions, the language we use around male friendship suggests that it is abnormal. No one would automatically assume that there was a romantic interaction if a woman said she was going out with a "girlfriend," but a man spending time with a "boyfriend" is unheard of outside romantic contexts. When men do have especially close relationships, we teasingly call them "bromances," as if there must be something amorous between two men who choose to spend time together one-on-one.

When men do have especially close relationships, we teasingly call them "bromances," as if there must be something amorous between two men who choose to spend time together one-on-one.

Studies have consistently found that male friendships often center around activities rather than conversations, meaning self-disclosure and intimacy are not prioritized. While some might dismiss self-disclosure as a matter of taste, there is evidence to suggest that it helps people become better at resolving conflicts and at feeling empathetic.

The major difference, of course, is that any two of the men in those photos can sit at a bar and talk sports amicably for hours, while the two women pictured probably aren't even talking anymore because of some imagined slight.

Posted by at August 15, 2015 6:54 AM
  

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