With my male friends I come right out and say when something is amiss, or if I think they are doing the wrong thing. I want it to land well, but I don’t worry this might be the end of the friendship. With women, I often stay silent. The reactions to any perceived criticism is often defensiveness, withdrawal, or outright anger. Pretty effective tools at shutting others down.
On Fleas and Friendship 🦀
Rebecca Thomas
1905

Thinking about these statements in context with my varied and mostly unsuccessful experience with groups of male friends begs the question as to the founding reasons and shared values of the group. Hindsight is often a dangerous tool of confirmation bias, so I’m hesitant to even analyze my various experiences in this light … but it’s too tempting not to. At first blush, groups built upon the need for validation, belonging, and support (usually mixed with a lot of fitting in and just having fun) tended to feel deep and encouraging at first but fell apart quickly with the first hits of individuality and criticism. That’s the tricky part for me because belonging and validation are essential, but they cannot be the only foundation of relationships.

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