February 12, 2017

Men and Women are not that different

Dear Bloggers,

It took me a little while to write a story again as there have been a lot of things going lately in my life and this can make it pretty hard to sit down for a while and relax and get the brain going on and find a suitable subject to spread my thoughts on the net. This time I made the choice about the friendships between the guys and girls, well according to me there are not that many differences although I think that most women are a bit more tactful in their answers and men have more often a stronger opinion about difficult issues.

Women surprise themselves regularly about the fact that men can settle a big fight with a beer, a men's night which consists watching football, poker, a game night or going out to the pub, important events are superficially informed towards the other guys, and so we can still go on.

Men are amazed about the women; why every single event needs to be told in detail as it can be done in two minutes? Why are women being so difficult in this and remain stuck in that one remark made by that one friend? Why must everything be so over analyzed?

Are there real differences between the friendships between men and women, or is it most based on prejudices and stereotypes? To me one thing is clearly. Men do more physically and talk less. Women find talking just more important than sharing their hobbies. The emphasis is on friendship between women therefore more based on intimacy and openness, while men believe more in things as status and physical fitness being more important.

This would be a confirmation of the stereotypes: by itself being men and talkative women.

But is this so, is there really so much duality? There are hundreds of studies on gender differences put together in a meta-analysis, and there were still be some other results coming forward! They looked at the differences in language and feelings and guess what? Men and women were not as different as we previously were thinking. The conclusion is that men and women normally are psychologically seen the same. This rule has some exceptions, but these exceptions are not important in terms of friendships. What is particularly relevant for friendships is how easy intimate and frank a person with another person speaks. And about this fact, there were precisely these supposed men and women differences. But there appears to intimacy and frankness there is only a very small gender difference. Women were found "showing a little something more" of themselves than men.

How is it possible that friendships between the two sexes still are as different as the needs for intimacy and frankness on both sides is present? The answer is simply that we focus too much on the differences between them, and they will be made much bigger in mind. With the result that the idea that we have on men friendships and women friendships would be different from the reality. Conclusion: We are brought up to think in stereotypes. Silly isn’t it?

Mostly studies that are done about these subjects are build up with questions in which people are asked how they would describe their friendships. And because this is such a general question, we can not but give a general description, or fall back on the idea that we have about it. And that idea is influenced by stereotypes.

The idea that there is a totally different between those friendships is a myth. It is often culturally rooted and we get to hear things now and learned at once from childhood. It is in fact a story that we tell each other about how it works and how it should be. And because we tell it, it occasionally will be true. Conclusion again: Yes we are brought up to think in stereotypes.

"If people define situations as real, these situations have real consequences." The only differences in male and female friendships because we believe that they exist. Furthermore, we are all like friends alike. This is what the American sociologist William Thomas said already in 1928.

In the end we are physically different but mentally quite the same.

The Old Sailor,