3 Things We Can Learn From Male Friendships

by Danielle Pointdujour

Let VH1 tell it, women, especially black women, cannot be friends. Nothing is further from the truth. Women can actually be great life long friends, outside of the normal bumps in the road. However, just because the world likes to focus on our friendship dynamics doesn’t mean we know all there is to know about this friendship life. Men actually have really great friendships too, and even though the spotlight isn’t always on their bromances, men could actually teach us a thing or two. Check out these three things I think women can learn from men about friendships.

Honesty Is Key

By nature some of us women are sugarcoaters, we can’t help it. We don’t want to be brutally honest because we don’t want to hurt your feelings with the harsh truth so we kind of tell little white lies or make little suggestions that will hopefully get you to see things a different way. We do it for everything from clothing choices to relationships, it’s in our nature. The problem with that is it can cause more problems in the end. Men, for the most part, are honest almost to a fault. They will tell their boy like it is about any and everything…and they’ll tell us too. It’s the reason why they’d rather not comment if you ask “Honey, do I look fat in this?” We probably couldn’t handle the “Hell yeah!” they would give us, but it’s that honesty that keeps their friendships virtually drama free. If you’re always open and honest with your friend, even when the truth hurts, you build a foundation that will keep your friendship rock solid for life.

  • iQgraphics

    Here’s what male friends can teach you, unless they’re married or gay (and there’s still no gaurantee) :

    1. There’s no such thing as a male friend.

    Any opportunity they get to stick and move, they will

  • http://kjconte.com krjeco

    LMBO! This was on point – especially about the fights. As a female, sometimes I can’t stand other females for these reasons!

  • OSHH

    Pretty much Q, in my experiece I couldn’t really have any true male friends without them either catchin feelings and or wanting to do me..unless they were straight up homosexual and had NO attraction to women cause I done attracted some homosexuals too and I”m not tooting my own horn just stating facts. SO I smartened up and stopped trying to have platonic male friends LOL

  • Wow!

    With all do respect…..did you ladies read the article? And if you did….why did you go this way?

  • Dreaming

    I think I have one true male friend. He has a GF who he has been dating for quite time and wants to marry, so I don’t worry about him hitting on me. I know that he thinks I am cute, but I have never felt uncomfortable around him and he is cool to hangout with.

    I have one ‘friend’ right now who I have known for about 15-17 years who is still trying to date me. He too is dating someone, but just the other day he asked me to hang out with him. I am not attracted to him, nor would I ever date him, and the fact that he referred to his current GF as ‘just a friend’ while asking me to lower my standards for him so that he could have a chance with me was beyond unacceptable to me.

  • grateful

    you are so right!

    as a woman, i can’t stand females who call other women females!

  • Dreaming

    As far as the article – I am always an honest person. That is who I am. I don’t think honesty is something that can be learned. I think some women sugarcoat things because our society socializes girls/women to be nice and accommodating of other people’s feelings all.of.the.time. If a woman speaks her mind, she is told that she is too aggressive and mean. When men do it, it is seen as a good thing.

    I think the “How To Mind Our Own Business…Sometimes” goes back to women being socialized to care about other people’s feelings all.of.the.time.

  • Dreaming

    Yes, women referring to other women as ‘females’ are women who I stay far, far away from.

  • grateful

    it’s nice that men can do this but the actual difference comes in how we are made, which in-turn affects how we act and react.

    this is a man’s world. they don’t say that just to say it, they say it because it is true.

    just being a woman has it’s own burdens but i can’t just walk around, do stuff or react the same way as a man because this has cons (as well as pros).

    i am a woman , we are emotional and complicated , i both love it and hate it , i have learned to take the good with the bad, i will not apologise for being a woman.

  • http://kjconte.com krjeco

    As it is comments such as these that prove my point. Last time I checked, female is synonymous for woman. Always has been, always will be. It is such oversensitivity like this that absolutely infuriates me.

    Clearly anyone who take offense to my usage of female for woman is someone I wouldn’t want anywhere near me in the first place. I am glad that we are on the same page.

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    Men can get along better because they have the privilege of power…I believe most of the infighting b/w women has to do with being an underclass…much like infighting b/w black ppl or blacks and other minorities who are in similar situations…In my opinion. The only way to change and become less “catty”, in my opinion, is if women weren’t a subjugated class of people..

  • Dreaming

    I’m just going to say this – When using the word ‘female’, you could be talking about a human woman or an animal. From what I have seen, people who use the word ‘female’ as you have are usually doing so before they same something negative about women.

  • grateful

    exactly.

  • grateful

    and to piggyback on Dreaming, they also use it as a more acceptable way of demeaning , ie (instead of using b*tch).

  • OSHH

    @ WOW Now that I have read the article it doesn’t apply . My comments upthread still hold true just not so much related to thsi article LOL

  • http://kjconte.com krjeco

    I might be able to see your argument except for the fact it doesn’t work logically. If it were to be seen a derogatory/demeaning manner, why would I refer to myself as a female? Unless you are insinuating that I calling myself a derogatory word just to call others the same, then it doesn’t work.

    I think that because you (and any piggybacker) have such a highly sensitized manner that you have to dissect each and every word, and once you find one particular word, you ignore the entire context of my input. (Yea, remember me laughing about the cattiness and fighting? Still laughing) And it is truly unfortunate that your experiences have led to believe that you have to do that.

    So in one word: Relax.

  • http:selfra.blogspot.com Dantresomi

    1. I don’t find any real differences in how men handle their friendships.

    2. Men do sever friendships for the darnest of things

    3. Like in many friendships we are also dishonest

    4. Much of what is written here is mythology and not fact unless the writer can show me
    The numbers

  • C

    Good article and very funny and on point. I really need to follow some of the advice.
    Good writer.Hope to see more from you@Danielle.

  • Truth

    Yeah, I agree to a certain extent. If anybody’s ever had a very close platonic male friend or even a brother; they realize that men are just as emotional, but they are socialized to keep it hidden. I will say that, in my experience, women tend to hold grudges longer than men do. However, men are just as competitive if not more so with other men. Even with platonic relationships with the guys I know, if I hang out with both of them simultaneously; something always comes up where I can tell they’re competing for my attention. It’s ridiculous because I’m not attracted to either in a romantic way and they both know it. I do think they appreciate that I’m bluntly honest most of the time and that I enjoy watching sports. Also, the in-fighting because of lower social class thing doesn’t hold much weight for me 50 years after the women’s liberation and civil rights movements. I know it’s still a man’s world, but I will no longer give women a pass for falling for the okie doke.

  • OSHH

    Its more about the character of the individual regardless their sex, men are capable of the very same things women are with much more severe consequences at that.

  • Jloveyourself

    My thoughts exactly, I had a male friend who was giving me mixed signals then became completely enraged when I wanted to end our friendship because he had proposed to his girlfriend and was hiding this fact from me. We made up and went our separate ways and a few months later he wrote me several horrible emails because he realized he could not forgive me.

    Obviously he had feelings and was angry I had not agreed to be his concubine. You can’t have it both ways, both parties need to have an open conversation about what the relationship really is. Had he been honest and forthright about his feelings we could have cleared the air and moved on as a real friendship or a relationship.

    The problem with these relationships can be boundaries, mixed signals, and open communication. Believe me this guy took to fb as well and I have never had an argument with a woman like this. Passion makes a dangerous recipe when it comes to the opposite sex!

  • iQgraphics

    LOL @ Dreaming
    you’re seeing the high road and the low road all at the same time.

  • iQgraphics

    ladies, ladies ladies … ;)

  • grateful

    @Truth

    you said; “Also, the in-fighting because of lower social class thing doesn’t hold much weight for me 50 years after the women’s liberation and civil rights movements.”

    i’m not the one who said it but i agreed, because in this context i’m basing the power argument in terms of social power.

    take the dating arena for example.

    1) more men than women

    2)men have far more (in fact numerous) ways to attract a mate than women.men can be funny, they can be good-looking, they can be wealthy, they can have great personalities,they can be intelligent,they can be promiscous,they can have status/class, etc flash any one of those and a lot of women will be intrigued.
    however women have looks, and maybe good house-keeping skills and that’s about it. so if you ain’t what’s considered hot , tough luck.

    3) in general, people tend to take seriously what men say or do rather than what women say or do. who makes more money, male singers or female singers? male or female rappers?why do you think JK ROWLING had to use an abreviated form of her name as opposed to “Joanne K Rowling”? because some people wouldn’t be as interested in a book written by a woman as much as they would a man…

  • iQgraphics

    This article is kinda silly in that people are people.
    Like (relationship wise)(
    when I hear women saying “i’m done with men, i’m going to switch teams”
    that cracks me up because we all have our role in relationships, whatever problems you had with men will present themselves with women.

    I find this issue to be the same with men, they don’t “mind their own business”. Their lack of deliberate cattiness is usually matched by their ” machimo” issues.
    There are pro’s and con’s and MW WW friendships would probably equate to the same outcome mathematically

    Except for the fact that a MW friendship is in the shadow of his penis

  • iQgraphics

    both good points

  • Cayla

    This is a light-hearted piece. I think this site is trying to not be so serious all the time. Let’s welcome that please!

  • Dreaming

    Yes indeed, iQgraphics.

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    @ truth, to say that 50 years is enough for women’s lack of power to have corrected itself by now is akin to saying that since the civil rights movement is over claims of racism should be ignored. Women are still an underclass in this society but it’s funny that it’s never viewed the same as other oppressed groups, such as poor ppl and minorities, because the subjugation we face is from the gender that we need to procreate with. This creates a particular conundrum that allows for the oppression of women to still be brushed under rug, largely by women themselves.

    Even simple things, like referring to an unknown person, automatically, as “he” and Christians automatically calling their God “He” shows that we have gone far but have a long way to go. Now I do agree with other ppl who have said men are actually not that different, but the perception that some men put on, such as bromances, and the apparent simplicity of male friendships, as oppose to the so called “catty” behavior bewtween women for no apparent reason serve as some evidence that there is a need to compete amongst ourselves in order to increase our survival in a “man’s world”. The way young girls reacted to the Chris Brown and Rhianna incident is evidence to me that there is an issue of power in the way women relate to one another on a daily basis…

  • Dreaming

    “In general, people tend to take seriously what men say or do rather than what women say or do.”

    I know that this is moving away from the subject of the article, but you are absolutely right. I’ve experienced this from men and women in my work environments.

  • iQgraphics

    i think walking in the shadow of a penis is hilarious ;)

  • lulu

    i have many black women friends- the key to our long friendship is confidentiality- when my friend tells me something in confidence i keep it- cattiness, competetion, jealousy- when my friend succeeds i succeed with them.
    like the article said honesty- even when they dont want to hear it-
    space- not being around your friend all the time or depending on your friend to be your emotional crutch 24 x 7

    and not letting every one be your friends. there are some people i hang with, socialize with, but i wouldnt tell my shoe size to these people- i keep it surface level-
    the friends i have are friends that grew over time- not in a month or two – it took years to see/ these ladies have proven they got my back

  • Wow!

    “Now that I have read the article it doesn’t apply.”

    Im sure your opinions in regards to men are still the same, miss. No worries here. The above was all I needed. Thanks!

  • Anon

    @Krjeco
    So which hood are you from? I’ve only seen/heard that terminology from women who were either from the projects, or closely associated with the projects. Right on down to the sad defense of referring to women in dehumanizing terms.

  • Anon

    “women weren’t a subjugated class of people” —-> I agree… to a point. But factoring in biology and childraising, I don’t think women will ever be “equal” to men, but there should be more options. The thing is, a certain level of competition is NOT going to go away. Because as long as a good looking woman is able to be wifed up and taken care of for life by being pretty/young/socially desirable, you’ll ALWAYS have an undercurrent of competitiveness in women who won’t be able to achieve that.

    In all honesty, I’ve never seen more vicious pettiness in women than when it involves looks. I think any woman who’s gained and then lost a visible amount of weight as an adult (while under 33) can attest to that.

  • http://kjconte.com krjeco

    @Anon

    Wow…Did you actually read what you wrote? Did you really take the time, see what I was saying, process it, decide to completely disregard it and ask me if I was from the projects? Does it really make you feel better to write something like that?

    Do you know my thoughts? Did you know my intent when I wrote my initial comment? Seeing as no one can know my thoughts but God Almighty, let me teach you something really quick.

    I have never lived in the projects. Grew in clean neighborhoods, went through college and even law school. Practicing attorney for that matter. Here are some questions you should asking yourself:

    1) Why would you think my words denoted someone from the projects? Take a step back for a second. What does that say about you that you would make that assumption?
    2) Why would you immediately jump to the possible (but never intended) negative connotation of my words? Again, what does that say about you?

    As for me, I know very well if you can’t find peace within yourself, you are going to try to make chaos for others. Because I don’t spend my time making mountains out of ant holes, apparently I am a defending the demoralization of women? Really? Was that my initial intent? Absolutely not. Read what I have written and do not go off by the misconceptions made by others.

    This whole entire chain of comments has become so unnecessary, it’s almost become like a game: Who can top the next one for saying outlandish and over the top things?

    Guess what? I’m done playing. Your prize is in the next room. My consolation prize is my peace.

  • iQgraphics

    @dantresomi
    regarding MM relationships

    # 2 & 3 are soooo true

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    @ Anon, I agree with you on the looks aspect…and I don’t think the solution is equality in terms of men and women doing the same exact things…obviously this is biologically impossible (at least for now)…I just think that the ideal is for men and women to co-exist, even in their differences, without one gender having more power/controlling the lives of another. Women are not even allowed to drive in some other countries when we know it is physically possible for women to drive car. I would really be interested to see how the competitive nature b/w women would be outside of the context of our current society and within one in which we had equal access to the same opportunities than men, or had more opportunities. IT is impossible to tell whether women are “naturally” susceptible to this behavior sans context. Unfortunately, you can’t control for that.

  • Alexandra

    Haha. I felt like that for a long time before I actually met one of my most closest guy friends. He’s not like that at all, but I must say most of the time, it is like that. *Sigh*
    It’s a shame cause some can be cool as hell.

  • Dreaming

    When I first read the title of the article, I thought it was going to be about things we learn about men and their friendships, not how women can learn to be more like men when it comes to friendships. Because really. What is the likelihood we would see an article on “3 Things We Can Learn From Female Friendships” telling men how to be more like women on a male centric blog, especially a Black male centric blog?

  • Jinx Moneypenny

    Or, you could just look at the friendships you have with men already. The most insight you will ever get is from a man, speaking frankly on his friendships with other men. You can’t get that from another woman.

  • Socially Maladjusted

    LMAO!

    what I’ve noticed about female friendships is the fakeness.

    The over the top coo-ing and ooh-ing and jump around happy, clappyness over dumb shit.

    How do you stand it and why can’t you just –

    git down.

    LMAO!

    and when they bring the shit to you, it’s like –

    sit down, it weren’t that good.

    Don’t try and put the fakeness on me. LOL!

    I call it nice white lady syndrome.

    You know – the always positive smiley white chick. They just wear you down with the perpetual positivity – first thing in the morning too, when all you wanna do is be pissed off -

    for no reason.

    ha ha . . .

    b itch it’s too early for all this joy can ya tone it down a lil and let’s see the world for how it really is for a minute.

    Lotta black chicks are going the nice white lady route hence all ooh-ing and coo-ing among themselves over dumb shit

    can’t lie though, I kinda like it. No angry black woman syndrome here.

    if I was lookin for someone to wife up it’d be a cooing and ooh-ing sket all day.

    I don’t want no moody hag around me.

    Viva la difference.

    LMAO!

  • Anon

    @krjeco
    “1) Why would you think my words denoted someone from the projects? Take a step back for a second. What does that say about you that you would make that assumption?
    2) Why would you immediately jump to the possible (but never intended) negative connotation of my words? Again, what does that say about you?”

    1) I thought your words denoted someone from the projects due to tutoring and mentoring inner city children for middle and high school, and 1 adult for a GED program. Many of those young girls and teenagers used the word “female” which was just a step up from another derogatory term for women, specifically black women. They thought that this word was common usage amongst every class, instead of the working poor or underclass. I was very upfront with them that usage of “female”, instead of woman, lady, girl, etc… was a dehumanizing term and served as a marker (esp. amongst predatory men and boys) that they were probably not seen as valuable in their community/homes and could set them up for being seen as a target. In addition, for future job interviews, “female” as a noun for women is usually a disqualifier for a position due to the assumption that lower class values will be brought to the work place. These girls had NO CLUE how it came across in the broad public sector, and I was able to point out to them that you don’t see other groups referring to their women as “females”.

    2) There are no positive connotations in referring to women as “females”. What it says about me is that I was told by my relatives to not allow casual disrespect towards me as a young lady/woman.

    “Read what I have written” —-> I did.
    I’m not sure what circles you’re in, but I have NEVER heard someone use “females” in a positive tone towards women. It comes across as a seperator of women from their humanity.

    Tis all.

  • Truth

    @grateful and @bkchick Ladies, I’m not disputing the fact that we still live in very patriarchal society. I agree with those facts about women being and underclass in society. I never said they didn’t. The adage, “Men act, women appear” is still very true. Notice that I said, “I know that it’s a man’s world.”

    I’m addressing the women who carry this knowledge and STILL continue to bash each other needlessly. That’s behavior for which I very little tolerance. I know some women who hold very feminist ideals who will give men passes on their transgressions, but talk about another women like a dog for the same behavior. Cognitive dissonance like a mutha. It’s uber annoying. I realize that not all women have an awareness of patriarchy. But, for those who are, they’re behavior needs to match their beliefs. That’s all I’m saying.

    @JLoveYourself I feel you. The one platonic male friend, I started out liking, but he kind of gave me the brush off. Initially, I was hurt and annoyed, but as I got to know him; I’m grateful we never went there. We were NOT compatible. But, when other guy friends entered the picture, he’d almost act like I was his girl when we hung out. I think he had a little crush on me, but didn’t want to tell me. Men are just as competitive, needy, and possessive as society claims women are. If you know people and watch closely, the same behavior is there, but most times it’s ignored (patriarchy) or it manifests differently.

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