Male vs. Female Interactions

The other day I had an epiphany. Men and women demonstrate friendship differently. Allow me to explain.

I have a great, lovely, kindhearted, friend who is a wonderful wife to her husband and a great mother to her children. With that said, they are hoarders.

For a while, I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are still settling in? Maybe they are in the process of moving things around? Maybe they are trying to purge some items for a Goodwill-run? — Well, that was a couple of years ago and its official. I am the friend of a hoarder.

This is not a home with simple lack of organization or even extreme clutter. This is a home full of garbage: uneaten food beneath piles of stuff, empty boxes and food wrappers mixed in with their books and children’s toys, and a kitchen that makes your stomach turn. The home smells of rotting food and mold from the moment you enter.

When I announced this “discovery” to my husband, his response cracked me up.

Tim: “Did you give her crap about it?”

Me: “No. Its not my place to tell them how to clean their house.”

Tim: “Isn’t she your friend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Tim: “If my house looked like that, my friends would light me up! I would never hear the end of it. Its disgusting!”

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you. Women are too sensitive to talk to each other that way. If I talked to my girl friends that way, I wouldn’t have any friends.”

Tim: “Women are so strange. You just let her continue to live in a bio-hazard zone without saying anything?!”

Me: “I suppose so.”

While the source of the exchange may be semi-horrifying and disgusting, I think it highlights some interesting differences in female vs. male interactions. I don’t know the answer, but why are men so good at holding each other accountable and pointing out each others’ weaknesses – even if it’s accomplished with some less than gentle ribbing? Alternately, why are most women so afraid of making waves with their female friends? Why are women – myself included – so afraid to be honest with each other?

Men, I admire your brutally honest interactions. Women should take a page from your book!

Ladies, why are we so afraid of each other? Hypothetically, I would be mortified if one of my friends pointed out that I am a hoarder, but wouldn’t it be to my benefit to have that pointed out? Wouldn’t it also have been in the best interest of the young children living in the home? Isn’t it possible that pointing it out may spark some action towards a solution?

With all of these answers pointing to “yes,” why do we bite our tongue so often? Why don’t we let each other know – with love – when we think there is a problem?

My theory is that we are so afraid of ruining our friendships that we say nothing, and there are times when this may be the appropriate response. However, as a woman, I can say that I truly hold my few genuine friends who call me out when they see me floundering or going in the wrong direction in high regard. Am I alone in this? In my world, women who are brutally honest – but coming from a place of genuine love and caring – are not exactly a dime a dozen. Have we, as women, gotten to a place of such vanity that we can’t even imagine being criticized by our closest friends – so much so, that when it is our turn to speak up, we shut-up instead?

I sure hope not. Gentlemen, where did us ladies go wrong?

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