Hello SOTGC community,
All my life I have had almost as many guy friends as girl friends. I can’t tell if it’s because I grew up around 13 guys (my parent’s friends had almost all boys) and I got used to the way they interact and communicate. Or if it’s because I have the sense of humor of an 18 year old guy and not all women understand (or enjoy) my sarcasm or jokes…
Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of my female friends also have an equal amount of guy friends. Once again I wonder why this is. Is it because we are surrounded by large groups of men due to the fact that we’re in male dominated industries, or that we enjoy sports and activities more than we enjoy crafting or talking about decorating and none of us have children yet? I’ve also found that most guys both don’t understand how we are able to have platonic friendships with men, and almost all of us have been harshly judged on this. A couple guys I’ve dated have even flat out said “that’s weird and I think they all probably want to sleep with you.” I’m sure you can guess that said guys and I did not date for very long.
In my ponderings of how it is that men and women CAN have JUST platonic relationships, I found an interesting article in the wall street journal called “Friendship for Guys (No Tears!)“. The article cites stories of men who have had long standing friendships with their guy friends, what they do during their “bonding” trips. It also looks at studies of how guys pick both friendships with their guy friends as well as girl friends and what they avoid when choosing these relationships. It even goes into defining a general idea of what comprises female versus male relationships. “Researchers say women’s friendships are face to face: They talk, cry together, share secrets. Men’s friendships are side by side: We play golf. We go to football games.”
When I read this I started looking at what my girl friends and I do when we get together for “girl time” and what my guy friends and I do when we get together for “guy + Marney time”. I realized that it’s not much different, with the exception that I’ve never done or seen one of my girl friends haul off and tackle their girl friend into a set of patio furniture, nor have we ever tipped over a porta poty (newly cleaned) with their girl friend in it…both of these events I’ve witnessed my guy friends do…and laughed hard.
Most of my female friends and I are into sports, we like to stay pretty active, those that don’t like that much outdoor activity go along with it because we basically mock them until they join. We have pretty interesting senses of humor, and when it’s just us we basically sit around making fun of each other (in a loving and lighthearted way) for most of the time. At this point you’re probably picturing a bunch of chicks with mullets, wearing overalls and hiking boots and carrying some piece of sports equipment with us at all times. And you’re wrong. These women have long hair (most of the time it’s curled or styled in some interesting way that I’m still trying to figure out how to emulate), they wear sparkly accessories, have mild obsessions with stilettos (I’m pretty sure two of them would like to operate in their heels if it wouldn’t hurt so bad, and I’ve personally seen one wear wedges during our golf lesson…the Pro was quite impressed). We also cook elaborate multi-course meals, talk about our “feelings”, and do the normal “girl things”.
I personally believe where the friendship with men and women that is purely platonic works is when there are common interests, a common sense of humor, and respect for the “just friends” boundaries is upheld.
I found another interesting article from psychologytoday.com called “Can Men and Women Just be Friends?” (here’s a spoiler alert….”I like articles”) that talks about the cultural shift in society and how that leads to more and more platonic male/female friendships. It also talks about the “challenges” that must be overcome and the “truths” that must be upheld by both parties for this friendship to remain….Just Friends.
Marney Reid is a Marketing Program Manager for a global industry leader in medical device. She is also the Founder of Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling. She has nine years of sales experience in male dominated industries and is transcending the Glass Ceiling by using her authentic value proposition as a competitive advantage.