Most friendships typically form for the same reasons, e.g., shared interests, support, and companionship. However, the type of relationship appears to differ between male and female relationships.
Men, unlike women, tend to prefer more activity-based friendships while women tend to prefer more friendships relationships. Although, the dynamics of male-male friendships and female-female friendships are more similar than they are different, there remains a difference in how the genders view and engage in friendships. While one is more casual (male friendships), the other is more intimate and personal (female friendships).
Not surprisingly, female friendships tend to be more dependent on face-to-face contact, are more emotional, include the sharing of thoughts and feelings, and include more support. Friendships between males tend to be more side-to-side rather than face-to-face. Males tend to value relationships that include shared activities, are less intimate, and transactional. There are also gender differences in the manner in which males and females form and sustain friendships.
Another key difference between male and female friendships include the frequency of contact, investment in the friendship, and types of personal challenges/issues discussed during the friendship.
Unlike women, men often do not feel the need to discuss all the changes in their lives with a friend or a need to say in touch. Interestingly, men can go extended periods of time, months or even years, without having contact with a friend, yet still consider the other person a close friend. In contrast, if a woman does not have regular contact with an individual she views as a close friend then she is more likely to assume they have grown apart, is no longer interested in the friendship, and assume the friendship is over.
Although, male friendships tend to lack intimacy, they are less fragile than female friendships. Men are more likely to bond by engaging in shared activities, such as sports (side-to-side), while women tend to bond through the disclosing of secrets, talking, and spending time together (face-to-face). It should be noted, men tend to make friends easier as they do not question the motives of the other person or feel the same pressure to disclose personal information to maintain the friendship as women. While men may not share their inner-most feelings with their close male friends, studies have shown they are more apt to share these feelings with a wife, girlfriend, sister, or other platonic female friends.
Notable Differences in Male-Male Friendships and Female-Female Friendships:
- Male-Male friendships are side-to-side, fostered and maintained through shared activity
- Female-Female friendships are face-to-face, fostered and maintained through intimacy, communication, and support
- Male-Male friendships are less intimate than female-female friendships
- Male-Male friendships are less fragile than female-female friendships, e.g., men will consider someone a friend even if they do not maintain or stay in constant contact
- Emotional attachment – Female have and desire a strong emotional attachment with persons they perceive to be a friend
- Men are more likely to remain friends after an argument or a fight whereas women are not
- Women require more frequent contact with someone they consider to be a friend
- Men are more likely to use humor to taunt a friend while viewing this as innocent fun
- Women are more likely to refrain from taunting and humor out of fear it may hurt their friend’s feelings
- Men tend to hang out more in a group, “the more the merrier,’ while women typically prefer to go out with one good friend.
Although these differences do not apply to all male-male and female-female friendships, this provides a general idea of how male-male friendships differ from female-female friendships.
Regardless of the type of friendship you are in, it is important to identify what you are looking for in a friend. By identifying what you need and want out of a friendship it can assist you with determining if the person you would like to be friends with can provide the type of connection you desire.