Not too long ago, I stumbled across an article that caught my interest. This eye-catching article in Psychology Today claimed, ““men’s friendships tend to be more “instrumental” and less emotional, as well as “less intimate and less supportive than friendships between women.” This article continued to discuss how men in general tend to be less close to each other and invest less in their friendships, while women felt the need to frequently stay in touch more, and even proved to know a lot more about their friends.
However, this “report” provided no real evidence to prove these claims, and I wondered how accurate they really were. I decided to do some research of my own and interview various people from CA, to test these claims. Does this supposed barrier between female and male friendships exist at our school? This survey has been made anonymous to respect participants’ privacy.
Almost all interviewees, half male, half female, shared that they were not only friends with people of the same gender, and multiple said that they actually had multiple friends of the opposite gender. Additionally, all participants answered “yes” when asked if friendship was important to them, and added that friendship was, in fact, very important. Both males and females gave similar answers for the number of close friends they have, which tended to be around 10.
Some differences aroused in my survey when asked about emotional connections in friendships. Some answered that they did not need to be emotionally connected to their friends to have a friendship, while others strongly disagreed. However, this disagreement was not on a gender basis and an even number of men and women answered both yes and no.
Differences arose in participants’ levels of need to be emotionally connected with their friends to have a friendship. For example, “I can be really close to my friends without an emotional connection, we just hangout,” in comparison to “I would say to be a friend I need there to be an emotional connection, otherwise, they are an acquaintance.”
However, this disagreement has no correlation with genders, for an even number of both males and females ranged from needing the emotional connection to strongly disagreeing with such needs.
In fact, many interviewees denied the alleged large friendship “gap” between different genders. One notable trend was that about 75% of the participants agreed that their female friendships feel different than their male friendships. These differences were felt in different ways, such as either being more “careful not to cross boundaries” with female friends, or “finding it easier to make emotional connections with female friendships as they are often more open and trusting.” Based on CA’s results, there actually is not much difference between male and female friendships. Everyone experiences friendships differently and has different expectations and emotional needs. Generalizing people’s experiences solely based on their gender is inaccurate and one’s identity should never be a deterrent to friendships.