“I don’t like to get involved in my friends’ personal lives,” a man once told me. Is that typical? And is it different from something a woman would say? Are men and women’s friendships different?
Novelist Anne Tyler writes in one of her books that men typically talk about gas mileage, the score of the football game, real estate prices, the temperature, the stock market, the age of vehicles and their cost, their golf handicap, business overhead and the salary of sports stars.
A study of French women and their topics of conversation with female friends found women tended to talk primarily about their children and partners, problems and successes at work and in their families, event planning, their homes, and things to do with their physical appearance.
I read the book Friendship Processes while preparing for a talk at a women’s retreat. Winnipeg author Beverly Fehr offers insights into the differences between men and women’s friendships. She says ‘talk’ is the substance of women’s friendships, but men prefer to engage in activities with one another.
Women look for a confidante in a friend, men seek an adventures partner. Fehr quotes research studies that found the most likely conversation topics for women are feelings and relationships, while the top three topics for men are sports, work and vehicles.
Jeffrey Zaslow in an article in the Wall Street Journal claims researchers have found women’s friendships are more often face to face–they talk, cry together, share secrets. Men’s friendships are side by side–they play golf and go to football games. Zaslow cautions however that we should not think men’s friendships are in any way inferior to women’s. Men may not be as emotionally expressive in their friendships or share as much personal information but this does not mean they don’t gain great support from their friendships.
I read a study by a University of Michigan professor who says over the last century women and men’s friendships and their topics of conversation have become more alike. I agree. I notice many women now include physical activity in their relationships and………….
Perhaps men and women are learning from each other.