Thursday, May 31, 2012

One way men and women are different

My workplace is evenly divided between men and women so I get to observe the way that women interact with each other, and the way men interact, on a daily basis. It's difficult not to conclude that there are significant differences in the social lives of men and women.

One clear difference is that women seem much more sensitive to personal slights and exclusions. There is a lot more tension in the way that women try to hold together friendships and social groups; something misinterpreted might cause a blow up in a relationship or in a woman's position within the group.

It's true that at high school boys can form a social hierarchy - a pecking order of sorts. But in adult life men don't seem to use social relationships the same way that women do. Men are a bit more awkward and distant in how they relate to each other - they keep apart a bit more - but at the same time they're less invested in the kind of social ins and outs that female antennae seem to pick up on.

On the positive side, women can be affectionate and, at times, thoughtful toward each other. Men, in contrast, are more likely to use gruff humour to express friendship.

As I mentioned, I find the female way of interacting very alien to my own experience. It makes me wonder at the political moderns who believe that there are no significant differences between the sexes. I don't know how you can hold to such a view over the course of a lifetime.

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