“Girls talk about their feelings and share life updates. Guys only talk about girls, money, girls, gym, girls again, football, and games!”
I chuckled at my friend, Si Ying’s, reply. It was a quirky response to my question as to whether there were any differences between male and female friendships.
Guys can seem like a completely different species at time, with their endless jokes and banter, seeming inability to be serious, and repeated calls of “Bro!” everywhere they go.
But are male friendships really so different from ours? Based on a very informal and unscientific survey, here are three misconceptions girls seem to have about male friendships that we are here to bust!
1. Guys don’t talk about their feelings
When I asked Marcus what quality time looks like for him and his guy friends, he responded quickly, “Playing soccer together and eating good food.”
I posed the same question to David, who said, “Chilling together, having casual conversations with lots of banter and joking mixed in.”
Out of curiosity, I asked, “What about heart-to-heart talks? Don’t you talk about your emotions?” With my girl friends, no quality meet-up is complete without a conversation about life, our struggles, and our joys. Connecting on a heart level is the priority when we meet. Don’t boys do that?
“I don’t think guys differ from girls in this aspect,” Ron responded. “Guys are a lot more emotional than girls think. Some need to talk and vent and cry, some prefer practical advice, some just need their friends to be there. Similarly, some guys can be more emotive and introspective when dealing with feelings and personal issues, while others joke around or are more ‘bro’ about it — they are all equally valid ways of connecting with each other.”
Perhaps as girls, we just don’t get to see the more emotional side of guys that often, but that doesn’t mean guys don’t talk about their emotions with their friends!
2. Guys don’t have best friends
During my growing-up years, having a best friend (or BFF) was all the rage. I remember feeling a sense of loss when I didn’t have one and felt as though I was lacking something.
Maria shared the same sentiment: “Having a best friend is important to me! It’s just the idea of knowing that there is someone as your immediate go-to person when something good or bad happens. You know that there is someone who has your back no matter what.”
On the other hand, when I asked Marcus who his best friend was, he looked at me quizzically and said, “Best friend? I don’t need one. Friends are just friends. Does the title really matter?”
Brian pointed out, “Guys don’t define who their best friends are as much as girls do. As long as everyone in a group can gel and relate to one another, it’s enough for me. I don’t necessarily need to put a lot of significance just on one person.”
Similarly, Chris said, “I might not have a definite ‘best friend,’ but I do have at least ONE close friend whom I turn to for advice and walk through life together with. My friendships with guys are pretty low-maintenance; we don’t need to meet and talk about our feelings all the time, but when I do have something to share, I know who to turn to.”
GUYS ARE A LOT MORE EMOTIONAL THAN GIRLS THINK.
While guys don’t seem to fancy the ‘best friend’ label, the close friends that they trust a lot and hold close to definitely perform the same function as BFFs!
3. Guys just joke around — they don’t know how to encourage each other
Janelle observed that while girls show their support to their female friends through gifts, words of affection, hugs, compliments, and quality time, guys seem to show their affection very differently — through their acts of service.
Using her boyfriend as an example, she says, “Mark doesn’t ever say ‘thanks for being here for me, Kevin ❤’ like a girl might do, but their appreciation for each other shows through the way they do things for each other without hesitation.”
Si Ying agreed: “Girls are more openly affectionate — we hug, write letters to one another, and so on!” With a laugh, she continued, “I feel like guys send very unemotional messages to their bros, like, ‘Jiayou, bro. Can one la.’ And then give each other a pat on the shoulder.”
When I asked Ron about whether the perception is true, he shared that for guys, encouragement is shown by “constantly checking up on my friends, tracking their progress, and just being a good listener. It doesn’t have to be much, but I just need to be there.”
Guys may not gush about how much they appreciate their friends, but it doesn’t mean that their friendships are devoid of affection and support. In the words of Jacob, “A fist-bump, a shoulder pat, or just a ‘Bro, I’m here for you’ speaks volumes for guys.”
DIFFERENT BUT THE SAME
Male and female friendships certainly are different, but they are each special and valuable in their own way. If we look beyond the surface, perhaps we will find that even though male friendships seem so dissimilar to female ones, they are actually just the same — providing the much-needed encouragement, support, and love that we all crave in this world. In the words of CS Lewis, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself … It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”