Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Women, Men, and Friendship

Even though we are all Homo sapiens, people have always felt the need to distinguish themselves from one another. While I understand and appreciate the differences (religion, culture, skin color, culture, etc.), I believe that what fundamentally divides us is gender. I started thinking about this when I saw the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally..., which is famous for the arguments surrounding its underlying theme about the inability of men and women to be friends. It’s a provocative topic that remains unresolved for me and many others, I suspect.

While I have been fortunate to have had great friends throughout my life, I have noticed that all of them have been women. Excluding romantic relationships, I have had a few platonic friendships with men since high school, but they were never as strong as the ones I had with my girlfriends. My family relationships with older male relatives have been strained since childhood, but I have had better experiences with my brother and male cousins. Still, I don’t get to interact with them as much as I would like.

Some women I know don’t have or want friendships with men, and they think I am strange because I talk about friendships with men rather than being covetous of those who are married or in serious relationships. While I am an odd individual (and proud of it), I tell those who question me that the basis of all good human relationships is friendship. Most of the time, they agree with me. Since friendships with men have always been elusive to me, I can’t help but wonder about women who do have them. They tell me that their male friends share perspectives about romantic relationships and other topics that they don’t receive from their female friends. In other words, they have access to the overall human experience---at least that is what it means to me.

Do you think friendships between men and women are important?

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