While You're Off Emoting, He's Gone Fishing


According to Jeffrey Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal, men’s friendships aren’t like women’s friendships. Specifically, they involve more fishing. And poker.

Zaslow writes,

[T]hough I envy women’s easy intimacy, I also know it wouldn’t work for me and my friends.
I’ve played poker with the same guys every Thursday night for 18 years. We rarely talk about our lives. We talk about cards, betting, bluffing.

Apparently Zaslow’s poker friends don’t know his children’s names, which is okay, because that kind of “emotional” friendship is women’s work. Guys prefer “side-by-side” interaction like fishing and golf. Zaslow explains:

[I]t’s a mistake to judge men’s interactions by assuming we need to be like women. Research shows that men often open up about emotional issues to wives, mothers, sisters and platonic female friends. That’s partly because they assume male friends will be of little help. It may also be due to fears of seeming effeminate or gay. But it’s also an indication that men compartmentalize their needs; they’d rather turn to male friends to momentarily escape from their problems.

And he quotes one Larry Shulsinger, who says,

I wouldn’t talk about my insecurities with the guys. All my real insecurities-about work, finances, the kids-those I share with my wife.

Being a guy’s only emotional confidante can be difficult, and I wondered if Shulsinger’s wife kind of wished he would bring up his insecurities with his bros. Isn’t there a way we can honor people’s different interaction styles while also examining the way these styles might be limited by stereotypes (like that “effeminate and gay” thing)? If we did that, maybe men could share some of the emotional heavy-lifting — and women could take off fishing from time to time.

Friendship For Guys (No Tears!) [WSJ]

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