Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shocking Revelation!! I'm a Woman!!! least when it comes to friendships. From time to time I'm going to blog about books I read, especially if they pertain to me as an introverted gay mormon guy. Sorry to disappoint my readers, but I won't be reviewing Twilight (but Go Team Jacob!!!!) Anyway, I picked up a book that looked interesting called Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend by Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. Chapter 1 is called "Understanding Female Friendships", but it could also be called "Understanding David's Friendships With People Gay and Straight." She talks about a Friendship Pyramid, with a big group of Casual Friends making up the base (people you know but don't really know well, linked to you by situational circumstance), a middle area of Good Friends (friends that you feel close to, hang out with, and spend more time with...but lack the intimacy and closeness that typifies a best friendship), and a small area of Best Friends at the top. She states that "compared to male friendships, female friendships tend to be far more intense and intimate...women are more likely to provide each other with emotional support, while men tend to share companionship and activities." In a female relationship, the main ingredient that "turns acquaintances into good friends and good friends into best friends" is "the willingness of two women to become increasingly open with each other, to reveal their true selves."

So I'm a woman when it comes to friendships. I like intimacy in my friendships. I like people that can give me emotional support when I need it and come to me for support when they need it. I'm not the most open person in the world, but I like having friends that I can tell my secrets to, and when people are open with me I feel much closer to them. I like to know what's going on with my friends and what they are thinking and feeling at any given moment.

How does this affect my relationships with people? First off, maybe it's why I in general I can get closer to females than males in day-to-day relationships. My best friend in high school was a girl, I hang out with the girls at work rather than the guys, and I prefer a female authority figure (boss, teacher, etc.) to a male one. Wanting emotional closeness naturally brings me closer to females and pushes me away from males. That's probably why I have a hard time having good friendships with straight guys at work or at church...I get nothing from them emotionally, intimacy pushes straight guys away, and we don't have alot of commonality in the activities we like. What about relationships with gay guys? Depends on the guy I guess...I think I am realizing that just because a guy is gay, it doesn't make him a female-type friendship guy. I would say that the two guys I am closest to right now both look for the same things in a friendship that I do. But I think that the friends I talk about in this post (at least Friend #1 and especially Friend #3)are more male-type friendships guys. We have one big thing in common, our sexuality, and we also share other interests. That was enough to move them into the Good Friends category. But where I wanted to move the friendship up to the next level, they balked and I got hurt. Emotional intimacy scared them, I wasn't getting my emotional needs met, and the friendships suffered. So now that I have come to this realization, here's a topic for discussion...what do I do differently to better my relationships and be able to form Good or even Best Friendships with straight guys and "male-type friendship" gay guys?


Anonymous said...

I don't think anything makes you necessarily a female or a male when it comes to needs and wants. Though there are generalizations that can be argued up and down, you are who you are. I don't think the innate desire for intimacy is of female capacity alone but is a hallmark of humanity.

Ben said...

I found the insight you gained from the read fascinating! I mean, I agree with miketheasian, that there are too many factors to generalize that this is how men are and this is how woman are. But learning more about yourself and how you view friendships/relationships, understanding what you expect and what will be expected of you, and identifying where past friendships turned sour--it's impressive.

Now I guess the trick will be to apply that knowledge to your benefit.

Great post!

Hidden said...

If this is true, then I am a Goddess among Women.

Sean said...

If this is the case then many of us are women in friendships.

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