"Friends half our suffering and double our joy": Cicero
Some powerfully intimate interactions over recent months have deepened my gratitude for the friendships that have always enriched my life. Why not join me in today's reflection? I'd like to better understand your story via hearing how your experience of friendship parallels or differs from mine.
Start by reviewing your lifetime, focusing on your most enduring and significant friendships. Exclude any romantic partnerships you've had, no matter how long-lasting, and your children, if you have any. Stick with what have been commonly termed Platonic relationships. What is the gender breakdown in that group of your most enduring and significant friendships? More men than women or the reverse? Or, are you comfortable stating it's been reasonably even? Yes, I'm going first, been at this blogging thing long enough. But before I reveal my answer to the first piece in this reflection, please take a moment and tease apart some explanations you can offer for what might contribute to the balance being even or more heavily men than women or the reverse.
OK, in my case, although the difference is not overwhelming, it is clearly true that more of the enduring and significant friendships in my lifetime have been with women. And for me the explanations are not real complicated:
* I grew up with two strong, intelligent, and independent sisters, close to my age.
* I was exposed early in life to feminist thought.
* Following my young adult professional years as a musician, I subsequently worked in fields where women were more represented than men. Most of my later-in-life mentors were women.
I've also observed that the older I get, the easier it is for me to make a new woman friend vs. a man. In other words, I suspect my gap will get wider as Act Three continues. I've got more but I'd rather hear your reflections now.
I would say ~65% female friends and ~35% male friends. I cherish both but have had more opportunities in life to connect with females starting in high school with slumber parties and other such "girls only" activities. And even today in my third act, the organizations to which I belong and the activities I participate in have many more women than men.ReplyDelete
Ines; Thanks for sharing part of your story with me. You and I share the piece about having "...more opportunities .. to connect with females". My graduate cohort (1996-98) was all women (except me), most book clubs (2010-present) are overwhelmingly women, and my chosen fields (post my full time musician years, i.e. after 1978) have been more women than men, as mentioned in my post.Delete
Good morning, Pat. After giving this some thought, I would say that I probably have more female friends than male, although the numbers/percentages are pretty close. I must, however, acknowledge that during some of my most difficult times, it was my female friends that provided me the greatest support. And I will forever be so very grateful to them for that. And knowing them for as long as I had I was not surprised by their support. In fact, what was more of a surprise to me, and maybe I was more vulnerable because of the circumstance, was the manner in which my 'so called friends' - male and female - not only failed to support me but were more sided with those that were, lets call it negative. Live and Learn. And I definitely did at that time.ReplyDelete
Hey Bob; Thanks for two comments in one day. So far, your comment makes three of us who have had with more enduring and significant friendships with women. I hope others weigh in on this.Delete
Even. - Jim R.ReplyDelete
Jim; Thanks for comment; been a while since I've seen you on the bell curve.Delete
I’d say my friendships have been 99% to 1% males to females. Except for family, I’ve had only one long term close friendship with a female with whom I could and did share my deepest thoughts and feelings. She passed away at 90 a few years ago and I miss her terribly.ReplyDelete
I’ve always found it much easier to relate to males because usually my interests have aligned better with those of the men I’ve met. Now those interests are baseball and wood working and I’m building friendships with three men today whom I met because of those. Through all my years of studying and teaching math, I had wonderful male teachers, colleagues and friends, many of whom were very close, but not one female.
Although I am an emotional person, I don’t enjoy sharing my feelings, and truthfully I don’t care about many of the things many of today’s women seem to find fascinating or essential. I'm a logical problem solver. Maybe I’m weird and maybe I’m just old.
Love you, Pat.
Jeannie; Love you right back. And rich, honest comments like yours are why I started this blog twelve+ years ago. Although I'm surprised your ratio of enduring and significant friendships is so one-sided, the reasons you cite for the wide disparity make sense. Thanks for taking the time to really reflect on this and share part of your story with me and anyone else reading.ReplyDelete