+

Remember that book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? It felt like it was everywhere. And it kind of was.

The book was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than two years. And while it's viewed with a skeptical eye by many experts who say the book reinforces gender stereotypes, the whole idea that men and women are inherently different clearly resonates with many folks.


Image via JohnGrayMarsVenus/YouTube.

While it might feel like gender differences can make us aliens to each other, there are some clear things we all have in common as humans. Like the need for friendship.

Recent studies show that gender differences even influence the way that we form and sustain friendships.

According to a study published in PLoS One, female friendships are more emotionally intimate, and bonding time is more "face-to-face."

Sometimes literally. Photo by Ben Kerckx/Pixabay.

In the study,researchers found that women prefer to foster friendships one-on-one through conversation, which creates a lot of opportunity to get close. All that talking about thoughts, feelings, and other mushy stuff really builds up intimacy.

On the other hand, male friendships tend to be more activity-focused and shoulder-to-shoulder instead of face-to-face.

Wow. Much friendship. So bonding. Very manly. Photo by SplitShire/Pixabay.

The stereotype of men bonding through watching Monday Night Football on the living room couch sippin' a beer is rooted in some truth. When comparing friendship intimacy levels in men and women, a UCLA study found "men were more likely to prefer doing some activity with friends, were more likely to engage in activities with their best friend, and were more likely to talk to their best friend about activities. Women's friendships appeared oriented toward personal sharing of information; men's friendships showed an emphasis on joint activities."

The problem is that the kind of bonding that happens while watching a flatscreen doesn't establish the same kind of intimacy as a one-on-one gab session over a bottle of wine.

The result? Men tend to rely heavily on romantic relationships for that super-close feeling of connection.

GIF via "Community."

There's nothing wrong with having expectations that your romantic partner would fulfill your real, human need for intimacy. The problem is that men tend to get the message from society that they can only have a close emotional relationship with their romantic parters. This makes men prioritize romance in a way that many don't; a 2013 Citibank and LinkedIn survey found that 79% of men would need "a strong, loving marriage" to feel they were "having it all" while 66% of women felt the same.

That ends up putting a whole lot of pressure on romantic relationships to fulfill their need for emotional intimacy. That means that when a breakup happens, men without these strong, intimate friendships tend to feel more alone and isolated.

Since the way women often form their platonic friendships places less pressure on getting their connection needs met from one romantic relationship, the feelings of isolation from a breakup are usually less extreme.

With more Americans than ever staying single for longer periods of time, that means more people are at risk of feeling isolated from their communities — especially after a breakup.

For the first time, there are more single than married adults in the U.S. It's great that people aren't feeling the same pressure to marry as they used to, but the rest of the our societal norms around friendship love and connection need to catch up.

It's time we change how we view male friendships. That means no more "bromance" jokes.

I mean, when you think about it, it's a little weird that we have a different label for close male one-on-one friendships. And notice that the word choice likens their close bond to a romantic one. We don't have a comparable term for female friendships, so why should we for men?

Let's normalize close, one-on-one friendship for men and boys.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the stereotype that masculinity means holding back your feelings, unless it's with your partner. Great friendships aren't just fun; they're good for your health. We all deserve health and happiness that we can enjoy — together.

GIF via "Glee."

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

"Way to create more soft targets."

Keep ReadingShow less

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Keep ReadingShow less