Is it normal to be a female and not have many (okay, any) close guy friends?
May 6, 2011 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Is it normal to be a female and not have many (okay, any) close guy friends? Should I actively pursue friendships with guys?

I mean close guy friends. The type of guy friend you call up to "hang out" and watch a movie, or whatever else it is that girls with guy friends do with them.

I didn't grow up with brothers. My older sister and mother are the two most important people in my life, and they don't seem to worry about guy friends either (referring more to my sister, obviously). I'd describe my sister and myself as independently-minded, feminine ("girly"?) ladies who are generally well-liked because we're good conversationalists and nice to people. I'm tall, attractive (men hit on me a fair bit), educated, well groomed, interested in other people and the world, articulate, and smile/laugh easily - approachable, no? I have 3 or 4 very close female friends, with whom I share my hopes/fears/feelings and all that great stuff involved with close friendships. My female friends are exceptional. They are all very secure with themselves, smart, and supportive. I repel dramatic and insecure women naturally, I guess.

It's not the case with guys at all. Sure, I've met guys with whom I've interacted in the context of various student groups and clubs. We are always on friendly terms, and have good conversations and banter in person. One of them texted me to hang out a few times, but then I figured out he had feelings for me and I put an end to that, so as not to have to let him down later.

I tried to ask a couple of guys to lunch, and they didn't seem keen on it. Honestly though, I am also confused about why you would be friends with a guy in the first place. The couple friendships that have started to grow have turned into crushes from my end (whereas in the beginning, there were no romantic feelings). Reflecting on that, I've never made an effort to be around some guy I see having zero dating potential.

Should I try to ask guys to "hang out" more? Why aren't they asking me to do buddy-buddy type stuff?

This issue is confusing for me, and as an reflective, introspective person who loves exploring human nature, it's a bit of a puzzle. Care to shed some light on the guy-girl friendship scenario?
posted by sunnychef88 to Human Relations (33 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Usually friendships come from shared interests. Women I've been friends with (and there aren't many and none right now), I've always shared some interest such as sports, or as I've become a parent, how our kids get along.

I don't think it's imperative to HAVE to have a friend of the opposite sex.

And as a guy, I'm constantly monitoring my motivations to have a platonic friendship with any female when I've had such relationships (i.e.-- Am I hanging out with this woman because I want a deeper, romantic relationship with this woman?). Furthermore, when I've been in romantic relationships, I've gone out of my way to not have female friends. Just too many complications.
posted by PsuDab93 at 9:04 AM on May 6, 2011

For a datapoint, I'm a male and I don't have any close female friends, except for exes.
posted by eas98 at 9:05 AM on May 6, 2011

I sound like you. I am a 25-year-old woman with very few guy friends. I don't necessarily think this is the worst thing in the world; like you mentioned, my male friends and I would often struggle with friendship boundaries, and it just didn't seem worth the hassle any longer. I stopped seeking out male friendships in freshman year of college, although I remain friendly.

That said, I do consider myself friends with a few former coworkers, my boyfriends' friends and a few of my ex-boyfriends' friends. Because the boundaries are very clear (male friend, not boyfriend), everyone is more comfortable about what is expected and acceptable.
posted by samthemander at 9:09 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

There are those who would say that it's weird for a woman to have any close guy friends.

I wouldn't sweat it. You click with whoever you click with.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've gone back and forth on having close male friends--my first couple years of college, I had a lot of them, then not too many at all, now I'm back to a few. I think my friendships with male friends are not all that different from those with girls; we have interests or mutual friends in common or are coworkers or whatever. I think one nice thing about having guy friends is hanging out with a group of them at the same time--I went to an all-girls' school for a while and for me it can be refreshing to get a break from all that girliness. I currently have a boyfriend, so there is no ambiguity on that front, but I've had platonic male friends when I was single too.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2011

Don't worry about it. You're not obligated to satisfy some quota of diversity in your group of friends. Let the chips fall where they may; if all your friends are women, then that's that.

I mean, what's your goal -- to be able to say "Some of my best friends are male"?

Opposite-sex friendships are often fraught with tension anyway, so count yourself lucky that you don't have to deal with that mess.
posted by John Cohen at 9:19 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have lots of guy friends and always have. My friendships with men have definitely changed through the years -- during college there was a fair amount of drama with friendships turning romantic and then fallout when the romance ended.

Since getting together with my husband, it's been easier to have male friends without the drama. My close friendships with men at this point tend to be with married men. We are friends as couples, but my friendship with the husband will be the closest dyad, and/or the first dyad to develop. I have some single male friends, but if a guy doesn't want to hang out with my husband, I probably just wouldn't make the time for him outside of an occasional lunch, just because I don't see my husband enough to want to focus on social time that doesn't include him. I know lots of couples that don't work this way, though.

The key thing here, though, is that I have never had to seek out specifically male friendships. I've always enjoyed hanging out with guys on a friendship level singly and in groups. If you don't click with a lot of men as friends, then there's no reason to seek that out.
posted by freshwater at 9:22 AM on May 6, 2011

I'm female and most of my friends are guys, which honestly has a lot more to do with my internalized misogyny. I really grew up thinking that boys were better, "masculine" stuff was better, etc etc and so ended up very much a man's woman...I've dealt with this now and think I'm pretty healthy about it, but of course I still have most of my old friends, since we really are friends.

I think that, because of the way our culture positions women (as "frivolous", as less decisive, as caretakers, as sexy bodies instead of sexual humans, etc etc) it's a real sign of health for both men and women to value women as friends.

I sought out women friends for a while because I was worried about my inability to value what is traditionally labeled "feminine". Do you feel that you are undervaluing or otherwise messed-up about something and thus avoiding men friends? What do you feel you are missing? Why are you missing it?

You sound fairly young; it's possible that as you get older you'll make guy friends naturally--more people will be in settled relationships and the men in your age cohort will have learned to be interested in women for more than just dates.

IME, quite a few friendships-- same- and opposite-gender -- have a small romantic or sexual element. I don't think people really actually create firewalls between friendship and romance. This isn't the same as "one person thinks of this as a friendship; the other is In Love"-- that's an uncomfortable imbalance that may resolve itself but often ends in tears.

TL; DR: Don't worry about it unless you can actually think of something specific that you're missing, or some specific anxiety about men that may be in play.
posted by Frowner at 9:22 AM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]

What about ex-boyfriends? Just date someone, then when you break up, try to stay friends.

I think if two people are mutually attracted to each-other there is going to be sexual tension at first. Then later on it might evolve into the "friend zone" after all the passion is worked out if you're not compatible for dating.
posted by delmoi at 9:28 AM on May 6, 2011

I used to have a ton of guy friends, and now not so much. I would like to, but as people pair off, it seems like the guys I meet aren't really seeking female friends. Honestly, my current crop of close guy friends are either gay or else I've known them forever.

I like having guy friends. I find it easier to talk to guys. I am not that girly though, so I don't need to talk about periods and going to the spa or whatever women talk about. Kidding, sort of.

I am also not that attractive so I really have never had that tension issue where one of them fell in love with me.

If it's not your thing I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by cabingirl at 9:31 AM on May 6, 2011

Reflecting on that, I've never made an effort to be around some guy I see having zero dating potential.

Why aren't they asking me to do buddy-buddy type stuff?

These two things have a lot to do with each other. You sound like you sort your male peers into romantic interests or not. You are interested in dating the former and limit your interaction with the latter. I had this same problem when I was younger, from the opposite side. I was a boy who grew up in an all-boys family. Never had trouble making friends with other males, never had a real female friend.

It wasn't until I stopped seeing the women around me as primarily datable or not, that I began to have friendships with women. As mentioned above, this first started to happen when my male friends began to have long-term relationship and I became friends with their partners. It was a relief, frankly, to take the whole relashionship calculation off the tabe and just interact with them as people.

Shared interests help, but thinking them as people first, and ignoring their desirability as possible dates is what did it for me.
posted by bonehead at 9:32 AM on May 6, 2011 [10 favorites]

Seconding "you click with who you click with" - I wouldn't worry about it. Some guys are also weird about not having girls as platonic friends (and vice versa) and it doesn't have anything to do with you as a person.

I agree that it can be much easier when you're in a steady relationship, though it'll always depend on the other person. As anecdata, one of my closest friends is a girl I knew first and then introduced to my boyfriend and now they're friends too. On the other hand, last year one of my boyfriend's closest friends told him he couldn't hang out with my boyfriend anymore because he couldn't stand me - and this is after I'd thought we had become friends in our own right. That's an extreme example, but my point is you never know what's going to happen. People are both great and weird, often at the same time!

I agree this isn't something you need to worry about or "try to fix", but if you have opportunities to hang out in a mixed-sex group you might be able to relax and find common interests with guys more easily than if you're one-on-one, where the specter of whether or not either of you thinks it's a date can be hanging in the air.
posted by superfluousm at 9:35 AM on May 6, 2011

I wouldnt worry about it. I have only one girl friend and a bunch of guy friends but it can become awkward and difficult if you're not dating one of them. I am really lucky that I have become good friend with my bfs friends, we have a lot in common and can talk about personal stuff. Don't look for guys just to have guy friends (don't look for token friends ever).
posted by boobjob at 9:51 AM on May 6, 2011

Since I was a kid I've always had both very close guy friends and girlfriends (I am female, late 30s, happily married for a long time). I have usually always had, in fact, at each epoch of my life, a woman I was very emotionally intimate and a man, as well--and then usually a kind of ring of close friends and then someone I was dating/sleeping with or my (now) husband. I'm lucky, I think.

My husband often comments that I get attracted to people, with no rhyme or reason he can see, of type or gender or age, really. I think I always have this radar on for . . . people in my tribe, maybe? I know that I will meet someone and just immediately know that I want to know them better, and then I have an across-the-board flirting methodology that I don't let up on until they start hanging out with me. Ruthless, probably. Have any of my friends perhaps initially thought I wanted something romantic? Yep (men and women). But it gets all sorted out pretty normally very fast, super fast since have a husband.

People like finding out that they are liked and appreciated by someone else, and since this only happens to me with folks where we have some very immediate and shared warmth, I haven't experienced any upsetting encounters or moments--just new friends.

Opposite gender friends and friends who don't share your definitions of sexual identity and friends who are different ages or are different in other significant ways are valuable, to me, because there is a different socialized perspective on lots of interpersonal matters that creates energy and chemistry in the friendship. I get different feedback on ideas and problems and life and I just get different--feedback. Sometimes I just really need to talk to a dude, or someone in their 20s who doesn't have a kid, or someone with a lot of faith and spirituality. I really hope that I do a good enough job as a friend that I offer something to them, too.

I have met one other indiscriminate platonic flirt in my life, taking a graduate statistics class two years ago, he was seated next to me. We also both instantly recognized each other as great friends. It was like an explosion of giddy joke-making, note-passing, smack-talking, and lunch invitations. Neither one of us, for a moment, thought it was romantic. We only learned a couple of class periods in that we were both married, and then we were psyched to get all four of us together. I can't totally explain this.

My maid of honor when I got married was my lifelong male best friend, Michael, and later, I was his best man. We've both lost parents at similar times in ours lives, both have a younger brother, agree on the big stuff while enjoying decades-long arguments on a lot of small stuff. He's totally different from my husband. In all the years, we never had some dumb "Harry and Sally" discussion, even when we've both been single, and objectively, we don't find each other unattractive. But, I can't explain better that he's my friend. That's just what he is. Just like my lady BFF is. I think that the best I can come up with is that I am, and always have been, on the high alert for a friend moreso that I have been alert to the possibility of a romance. I likely have a vibe.

As a final data point in my attempt to be helpful to you, when I stumble across someone that I like that way I act like a total dipshit. This served as a helpful clue to my now husband. My close male friend (at the time), in fact, observing my behavior around my future husband at a card party turned to the object of my lust and said "dude, she must like you. She's acting all fucking weird."
posted by rumposinc at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

I didn't use to have many guy friends, and then I went through a period in college when my social circle was 90% girls and gay guys, so it's only recently that I've had to navigate the occasionally rocky waters of close platonic relationships with straight male friends. Here is what I've learned:

If you're attracted to a guy, don't try to insinuate yourself into his life as "just a friend". Make a move. Either it works, or you can move onto the business of being friends with a minimum of baggage behind you. (Two of my closest friendships with guys started with flirtation and/or dates. It's only a problem if you can't move on.)

If you're friends with a guy who's in a relationship, do your best to befriend his girlfriend, too. If she knows you she's less likely to feel threatened by you, which will make everything easier. Bonus: awesome guys tend to have awesome girlfriends. I've made some great new friends that way.

In the end, a friendship with a guy is pretty much the same thing as a friendship with a girl. You have to have things in common. If your interests tend towards female-dominated fields, you're just not going to meet as many potential male friends as you would otherwise. That says nothing about you as a person, or your ability to have opposite-sex friendships. It is what it is.

One last thing - I've also noticed that guys tend to be a little more hesitant about having the emotional conversations and personal sharing that are part of what I'd call being "close". I think guys tend to be socialized against it? With another woman, it can be effortless - that exchange of stories and vulnerabilities that leaves you feeling like you know someone and they know you. With guys, I find myself taking the lead, encouraging them to open up. It's a delicate sort of thing - you don't want to seem like you're prying - but it's my experience that guys *do* want to talk about their emotions and will in fact be glad to find someone who doesn't expect them to be all "hurf durf let's watch sports".
posted by shaun uh at 10:00 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Honestly though, I am also confused about why you would be friends with a guy in the first place.

Because riding motorcycles is awesome. And working on motorcycles is awesome. And all the people who I know who do that are guys. My pal T is my shop buddy, my drinking buddy, my coworker, my dear friend.

Then there's A. I've known A for 15 years. He's a chef, and we reconnected a few years ago over cooking. Our friendship is mostly based around cooking and food--he cooked me an amazing 6 course birthday dinner this year with the menu referencing my favorite things, inside jokes about food, and odd theoretical discussions we've had. We go to farmer's markets together, out to eat together, and we cook together.

If I ruled these guys out because of their gender, I'd be missing out on a pair of amazing people who make my life so much richer. Our friendship grew out of shared interest, but has evolved to be best buds.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:00 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Honestly though, I am also confused about why you would be friends with a guy in the first place.

Well, if you only ever frame your relationship to men as having/not having romantic or sexual potential, then this makes sense. I don't think it's ideal, and I don't work that way, but if it's how you are, well, okay.

I'm a lesbian, so my interactions with and expectations of guys are different. I do, of course, have lots of women friends - gay, straight, bi - and I can easily be friends with other dykes without expecting or wanting (subconsciously or not) anything romantic or sexual out of it. I think that these kinds of relationships with both men and women enrich my life immeasurably.
posted by rtha at 10:12 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a lot of guy friends, including some close ones. I think in any situation where I might have met friends (high school, college, work, dog park, other friends), I am have simply always been just as likely to make a friend that's a guy as a girl/woman.

As an adult with a male significant other, though, I think I usually only hang out one-on-one with guys that are, like, from out of town/very close high school friends/available at a time my boyfriend isn't/lunch during the work week. So, I guess the nature of my friendships with women are different (who I may do "girls" night with or call more often just to talk or about more personal stuff).

I also have a lot of male friends that are gay, which tends, for me, to be a separate category from either of the above - just because of what we tend to like to do together.
posted by Pax at 10:16 AM on May 6, 2011

This stuck out to me while reading your question:

I have 3 or 4 very close female friends, with whom I share my hopes/fears/feelings and all that great stuff involved with close friendships.

From my experience, guys are much more reticent with the sharing of hopes/fears/feelings. It takes them a while to warm up to those kinds of conversations, and many of them (especially those with more traditionally masculine personalities) reserve these emotional conversations for their girlfriends. A lot of male friendships consist of what you describe later, good conversations and banter. The men you interact with this way may actually be your friends, they just don't feel like it to you because your definition of friendship involves personally revealing discussion. It may be hard to consider yourself close to them because you don't talk to them the way you talk to close female friends. I'm the same way - it took me a while to realize that the goofy banter I shared with male acquaintances is a form of bonding, just not one I was used to.

My male friends are valuable to me because they give me a perspective unavailable from my female friends. They have experiences and viewpoints that I, as a female, don't have access to otherwise. This holds true for anyone I'm friends with who is different from me in a significant way. But honestly I don't think it's a big deal if you don't have any, unless you feel you'd benefit from that perspective.

Avenues for male friendship with lower risk of sexual tension include gay men, men with girlfriends or wives, relatives of female friends, or boyfriend's friends.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 10:18 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Guys come in handy when you have to move heavy stuff.
posted by ducktape at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2011

It's an interesting minefield to negotiate, friendships with dudes. Much as I hate to say it, Harry Burns's "You pretty much wanna nail 'em too" thing has bitten me in the ass a whole lot of times. It does seem like even if you aren't a guy's type, if you hang around him long enough, eventually he will develop sexual interest in you. Or at least this is how it plays out with me, and I'm not attractive and I'm not remotely flirtatious. So damned if I know where this is coming from, other than proximity.

Cross-gender friendships aren't mandatory. They can, as has been pointed out, be difficult. I've had better luck with being friends with married/not sleazy guys, or drastically younger guys (I live in a college town so I come across them more) that consider me out of their age range, or gay guys. Straight single guys from 28-60, on the other hand...well, that's where the problem happens for me. And I will admit that my guy friendships are just not as deep/close as they are with women.

Your mileage will vary on this one. But don't feel like it's not okay to not be friends with guys. It's not socially mandatory, and is to some degree hard to pull off when the sexual stuff comes in-- which it seems to with them a lot more than it will with you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's fine to have few friendships with guys. I have very few women friends though.

Honestly though, I am also confused about why you would be friends with a guy in the first place.

I don't know if it's because I'm a geek or a tomboy, but I really enjoy my male friends and really treasure their friendships. One is teaching me how to drive. The others like to game and geek out. Gender is pretty invisible to me and doesn't matter much to me. I love my husband and have never felt crushy towards a male friend. I find it easy to hang out with his friends...YMMV I suppose :-)

Should I try to ask guys to "hang out" more? Why aren't they asking me to do buddy-buddy type stuff?

I think it's pretty hard to answer why they aren't asking you to do buddy-buddy stuff withouth knowing them. I guess it depends what they're into - maybe they think there isn't much in common or have jealous girlfriends? I know some women are easily threatened, so maybe there's something to that.
posted by Calzephyr at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2011

Honestly though, I am also confused about why you would be friends with a guy in the first place.

Well, as a guy with many female friends, including some of my closest friends, I'd say it's a mixture of "the same reason you'd be friends with your gender" and "diversity of experience". What I mean is that a lot of it is just the same stuff you'd do wiht any friend, hanging out, etc. Depending on your interests these may not be very gendered, so there's no reason to exclude half the world from being friends.

On the other hand, sometimes it helps to have another perspective on things. If your friendship is solidly platonic (neither is secretly crushing on the other) it can be particularly helpful when dating to have a opposite-gender perspective on what's going on. As a guy, it is also often easier to talk to my female friends about emotional things, since many of my guy friends are stereotypically uncomfortable with such topics.

On the attraction issue -- there's no reason you can't be attracted to your friends, as long as that's it. Some of my female friends are very attractive, but I've decided for one reason or another I'm not interested in dating them, and AFAIK they think the same and/or are not attracted to me (obviously you can never know this 100%). This probably depends a bit on your relationship models too -- if you're into casual sex, it might be harder to avoid trying to make a move on your friends. If you're more of a serious relationship person (like me) there are plenty of reasons you might not want to get involved with someone who is both attractive and a good friend -- there are additional dynamics in a relationship that might be wrong even though you are awesome friends.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:20 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

It is totally normal, imo. Don't worry about it.
posted by freakazoid at 12:42 PM on May 6, 2011

I am also confused about why you would be friends with a guy in the first place.

Yeah, you don't need guy friends. You're fine...stop bothering them.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:15 PM on May 6, 2011

You should be friends with those whose company you enjoy. If it's women and not men, that's fine.

I have the opposite "problem"... I have a group of men I call my compadres. Two of them I was involved with many years ago, and the rest have always been just friends. Gender really doesn't matter to us, and doesn't come up that much. It's more about having commonalities in our brains and hearts that matter.

I believe the reason for this is that I was emotionally abused by my mother and sister when I was growing up. I self-identify as genderqueer, which is most likely the reason for the abuse. I wasn't girly enough for them, and they let me know how much it annoyed and displeased them.

I do have some women friends, but most of them I met on Usenet years ago, and are scattered around the globe. The two female friends I did find around here have both moved away.
posted by luckynerd at 1:19 PM on May 6, 2011

Yes, it is normal. Yes it is common. Yes it is also absolutely fine if you are happy.

I am a (hetero) guy with lots of female friends including several very close female friends and completely agree with wildcrdj's post above. The advantage of having male friends is diversity and different viewpoints. I wonder if that is the reason you are asking the question, since your previous questions / answers seem to betray a somewhat stereotyped (and confused) attitude to the opposite sex. Given that you say you love exploring human nature, you absolutely can't if you only maintain friendships with females - you're ignoring 50% of humanity!

Re: making friends you seem to have cut off male friendships by largely seeing men as potential dating material (or not) rather than as human beings who you like and want to get to know (or not). You are unlikely to make male friends with that attitude.

But if you are happy with your friends (and you certainly sound like you are), it's totally cool to stay that way.
posted by inbetweener at 2:35 PM on May 6, 2011

If you invite a man to lunch or to 'hang out' or watch a movie out of the blue he's going to think there's some sexual interest on your part or at least hope there is so if you just want some innocent company you have to be aware that he's going to be thinking of a little bit more than what to have for the starter. For the most part men get together in order to do something - play cricket (sorry Metafilter! It's an obscure and unworthy game of some sort) or get drunk - while women do something (go shopping!) in order to be together and the two things don't always gel. What I'm saying is, if you're with guys in a common activity then great, but the hanging out just for company thing is going to be fraught with sexual tension at least on his side.

I know tons of intelligent men through work but I wouldn't spend a minute with them socially if I didn't have to and I don't feel I'm missing out on much. They're funny, they're interesting, but it's like having to watch a really well made film or documentary with a story you're not interested in. This stuff about 'the friend zone' is a myth girls tell themselves though. This might not go for metafilter men but it does for most of them in the real world. A girl puts a guy in the friend zone, he's there for life, but he's happy to hang around in her friend zone forever not because he accepts it but because he thinks, he wonders, he hopes that one day he'll make the jump into bed.
posted by joannemullen at 5:34 PM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

That's been my experience too, Joannemullen. As much as I like people, and I enjoy male company in group settings, I don't relate to men all that well on a "friendship" level like you're talking about. Then again, I'm still in school, and most guys are a bit behind the girls here in terms of emotional development. Perhaps out in the "real world" men are better at being friends... or not. I'm pretty happy at this point just interacting with guys in group settings and not doing much of the one-on-one thing. That may change, though!
posted by sunnychef88 at 6:57 PM on May 6, 2011

@joannemullen: That is such an incredibly generalistic one-size-fits-all patronising and patently nonsensical post. It is also observably untrue (see e.g. my and wildcrdj's posts above). Just because you are incapable of seeing men as anything other than potential sexual partners or sexual threats doesn't mean that that is the case.
posted by inbetweener at 1:07 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

You know, you don't have to be friends with men. Friendship is about sharing common interests and passions, and if you are very stereotypically femininely gendered (I like shoes and shopping!), and only interact with men who are also stereotypically masculine (I like cars and beer!), then you'll probably never find friendship there. But this attitude fosters a whole lot of "men are like this, women are like this" cultural stereotypes that promote sexist attitudes.

As for me, I share a lot of the same geeky interests with men, and so it turns out, most of my friends are men. To be completely honest, before I started hanging out predominantly with men, I genuinely thought most men were pretty arrogant and rude. And conversely, the most sexist men I know have either nearly no interaction with women, or only interact with them via romantic partnerships.

So is there a benefit to having friends of a different sex? Most definitely. Categorizing another sex like this dehumanizes them - they become "the other" or "the enemy." We compartmentalize them, assume they are all the same, and then say (as inbetweener put so well) "incredibly generalistic one-size-fits-all patronising and patently nonsensical" things. But really, like people above have said, we have far, far more in common than we have different.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 7:14 AM on May 7, 2011

I'm bisexual and medically cis-female. I have tended to socialize better with and form closer lasting friendships with males than females all my life. There is no sexual or romantic tension in my friendships from either end, though there was some when I was in my early 20s. My friendships have formed from shared interests and experiences and I've never specifically pursued friendship with an individual. I've followed the introvert's pattern of quietly spending time in the company of one or two people at a time who are good to hang out with.

My husband is heterosexual and medically cis-male. His friends are of both genders roughly equally. The fact that there is sexual and/or romantic tension between him and some of his friends is a significant stressor in our relationship: some of his female friends see him as a potential date or sex partner even though they know he is married. It is a lot easier for us to hang out with my/his/our male friends and our mutual female friends than with his female friends.

Get to know people as people and try to be aware of the social implications of gender, especially when you are not clearly in a romantic or sexual relationship. It may help to look for situations that cannot be interpreted as a date when you want to hang out with men that you think there's a good potential to become better friends with: though I know it's hard, small (3-4 people) group activities rather than 1-on-1 situations help a lot.
posted by thatdawnperson at 8:00 AM on May 7, 2011

A girl puts a guy in the friend zone, he's there for life

posted by mippy at 3:32 PM on June 11, 2011

« Older Climate change and radical adaptation   |   Is falling in love before going away a good idea? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.