Study Compares Men’s and Women’s Friendships

But the practical ramifications are that we (women) can’t do the slightest thing wrong . . . And if we can’t care for somebody who screws up, that makes our position on friendship very precarious.

Those are the words of Joyce Benenson of the Department of Biological Anthropology at Harvard, discussing recent research published in the journal Psychological Science.  Researchers at Harvard, Emmanuel College in Boston and the Universite du Quebec have concluded that women are far less tolerant of their friends than are men.  I would argue that carries over into intimate relationships with men as well, but the researchers don’t broach that topic.

They only dealt with same-sex friendships and found that, compared to men’s, women’s relationships tend to be “significantly less tolerant, more volatile, and likelier to degrade based on a single negative incident than male same-sex friendships.”  These findings seem to fly in the face of long-held notions of women as the more relational of the sexes.

Debunking that notion comes hard on the heels of the study by Marta Meana of the University of Nevada about women’s sexuality, that found it to be far more narcissistic than relational.  (I reported on that in the posting “Fascinating Article on Women’s Sexuality.”)  Although the two studies are obviously about different things, they both seem to contradict the concept of women as primarily motivated by relationships.

Of course as always, this study is not the last word on the subject.  It’s one of many and many more to come.  But it’s interesting.

Read about it here (Nanaimo Daily News, 2/13/09).


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