Sunday, October 26, 2008

Women Make Friends, Men Join Clubs

As I am sitting here, I'm looking out the window and a man and his two huskies have just run by. It looks like all three of them were enjoying themselves. Half way through this sentence a woman and her dog jogged by going in the opposite direction. And now I hear my husband and our dog coming in the basement door, Jujube tearing up the stairs - he always has to be first like any good dog. Now my dog is perched on his chair in front of the window so he can monitor all the rest of the dogs that are going to go by. Important stuff for a dog!

A dog is man's best friend, right. Take that literally and then ask "Who is woman's best friend?" Is it her children? Her husband? Her pets?

How about all of the above! Friendships are a female gift, a study from Manchester University concluded and quoted in an article by Sarah Sands. Women live for their friendships in childhood and adulthood. When I first met my husband I systematically introduced him to ALL my friends. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if he had any friends. I met all his working relationships, but they didn't seem to be "best friends".

But of course I had forgotten the adage: "Women make friends, men join clubs".

The University of Western Ontario came up with a simple formula on male/female friendship. Women are face to face, men are side by side. Women have lunch, men go to matches. Women keep friends, men lose them.

It is visibly true that women are far more aware of each other. They conduct spot checks on other women in the street; they notice hairstyles and fashion and weight and degrees of ageing. Men look at the finished effect, women dissect the work that has gone into it. Their friendships start by being analytical and progress through psychotherapy. They acknowledge vulnerability and conflict in a way that men would not dream of.

Can you imagine a man on the touchline asking, "So how do you manage work and children?" Women are much better at the maintenance of friendship in the same way that they are better at organising Christmas and remembering dates of the school calendar. They monitor friendship, they make sacrifices for it. It is an end in itself. Men prefer a context for friendship, which is why their friends are often work colleagues.

To read more on this topic click here.

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