In sharing time with one of my oldest (not in age) and dearest friends this evening, we took a deep dive into relationships…and relating, period.
As we reflected and reminisced about the countless things we’ve both learned through love and loss over the years, one poignant point was the fact that men and women can, and often do, think quite differently.
Anyone who knows me can attest to my being the antichrist of stereotypes and generalizations. There is always an exception to any rule, and whether a man or woman, each of us is unique. I know I don’t fit into the “typical” female mold (I’ve been told many times), and if a man even tries to categorize me then treats me as they “think” most women want to be treated, or assume all women are the same, think again.
But I had to agree on a point tonight. Most women do think differently when it comes to men having female friends and often question how platonic that relationship is. Men tend to trust women with male friends, but that’s not often the case when the roles are reversed.
Each case is different, but if I were forced to generalize, I think I’d find many who agree.
Why? Because it is rare to find a loyal, trustworthy man with integrity who wouldn’t cheat if given the chance.
Nowadays, it may be the same with women too—or loyalty and commitment in general. It seems we’ve become a world of narcissistic hedonists. I don’t know. I’ve happily been out of the dating pool for a long time and have no desire at all to ever jump back in.
I do believe men and women can be platonic and close friends, nothing more. I’ve been blessed with those friendships and cherish each one.
I’ve also fallen victim to womanizers in the past, one too many—the charming cons who sweep you off your feet and then, oops…forgot to mention their wife. I learned that “separated” on dating sites meant the guy’s wife was in the other room.
Oh, the expletives in my head.
Also, 5’11” meant 4’, and “rarely drinks” translated to alcoholic. Law school meant DUI and court ordered rehab of sorts. The stories I could tell (maybe later).
So trust? Earned, and it takes time. A lot of time, patience, and understanding.
The next topic of the evening was assumptions and honesty. Why is it when someone asks another for an honest opinion, they struggle, or flat-out refuse, to give it? Even worse, they presume that’s doing the other person a favor, “Well, I didn’t want to say…” And why not?
My friend explained that most men want to give the right answer; they assume what a woman wants to hear then formulate their answer. I could feel the hair rise on the back of my neck.
Please, please. Any man (woman or human) reading this, just don’t.
When I ask for your opinion or honesty, I expect it. I want the truth, even if it hurts. You can deliver the message in a kind way, but don’t outright lie or assume what you think the “right” answer would be.
The right answer is the honest one. Period.
No matter what the situation or request, give someone the opportunity to decide for him or herself. Don’t even try to get into the other person’s head. Be honest; be kind; be compassionate.
No relationship would be complicated if we chose to be direct and honest. So, why do so many hold back?
If you want to be happy for more than a moment here or there, live authentically. Be genuine through being sincere and honest—with yourself and others.