Women and Male friendships: An overview of having a Male friend

Women and Male friendships

At a young age, when I came out of my town for studies, noticed a different world out there; different in so many ways that it was both frightening and comforting at the same time. One of the many basic problems that I noticed was that women usually don't get a chance to move out of their hometown and grab the abundant opportunities that the outside world has for them. In our societies, women are said to be the “ghar ki izzat” and that is how families, by hiding behind these phrases, restrict women’s freedom. Despite living in the technologically advanced era of the 21st century, many families are still not comfortable with the mere thought of their girl child staying out of their assumed safety net, usually home. But it is also true that women constitute nearly half of the total population of the world, and no nation can grow to leave behind half of its population, in this market economy, which has a diverse nature of jobs and opportunities only to those having knowledge, required skill set and experience. Hence gaining knowledge and experience is very important for men as well as women. Women should be allowed to move out of their hometowns, without restrictions to fulfill their dreams. Women should be taught self-defense techniques so that they can defend themselves in times of need. Both girls and boys should be given equal opportunities both in education and in career options. Women, like men should be allowed to migrate in search of jobs and advancing careers.

Women and Male friendships

Challenges that a girl faces, especially in making friends while moving out of “Her Safety Net” : 

With the diverse nature of our migration with respect to girls – She often faces the problem of, whom to trust and whom not to trust?

Because :

  1. They are always taught to be fragile and weak in front of the opposite gender i.e. men.
  2. Repetition of phrases such as “be careful" and "you are a girl” while moving out, a feeling of her being weak and not capable enough to fight her own battle and always needing a man to save her is instilled in her mind and soul.
  3. Socialisation of most of the girls is in a way that treats ‘girl-boy friendships’ as a stigma.

Women and Male friendships

➢ Adjusting after migrating to a completely new and different place is a daunting task in itself. When she finally gets comfortable and starts to make new friends, particularly a male friend, their friendship is usually mistaken as if they are in a relationship by people around them. Again and again, the girl is reminded that she has been trusted and sent outside, therefore she starts distancing herself and may lose a really good friend just because of societal expectations.

➢ The second most common scenario that may occur is that the guy (male friend) starts liking her which might not be acceptable to the girl. It is absolutely OK to like someone for both male and female but, for the people who just want to have good friendships and not more than that, it becomes difficult for them to cope in such situations.

Women and Male friendships

For the 1st, 2nd, 3rd …. Instances it may be OK for the girl about her friends turning into her lovers, but when it happens with every guy she thinks can fit in her definition of a “True guy-friend”, it leads to the girl’s alienation from making further male friends or even female friends, who might have mutual male friends. It can lead to a jolly girl becoming silent and becoming anti-social. A sense of self-doubt kicks off and she starts questioning herself and her actions around others, especially a boy whom she perceives as her friend. For instance, she starts to think that she should not act in such a way that a guy may take as a hint, such as laughing her heart out, extremely chilling, friendly hugging, or posing gestures of kindness.

This leads to a change in the overall personality of that girl which is not at all true, she might start to fake her basic intrinsic nature.

Women and Male friendships

What can be done :

• Boys should be brought up in an environment in which they learn, whether a girl is comfortable or not by their words, gestures, etc. For example, Co-Educating male and female students, engage in social events, which will eventually help a boy sense a girl's discomfort easily.

• Boys should be taught to treat a girl as a girl. They have to learn that the way they behave with a boy in a friendship does not apply to a friendship with a girl. Boys need to learn that a lady should be treated like a lady with dignity and respect, even if she is their friend. Encroaching in her personal space is the biggest issue a girl faces in a friendship with a boy, as they forgets to maintain a  respectful distance.

•Once it comes to the notice that a girl is not comfortable with a male friend's gestures, boys should try to change their behavior and if possible, should talk openly with the girl which will actually help them set boundaries in their friendship and eventually improve their bond further.

• Girls should not immediately break friendships as it would hurt the sentiments of both persons. If a girl has any issue regarding any unwanted behavior or attitude of the male friend then she should confront the person and deny anything more than friendship respectfully. If the person is a genuine guy, he will understand your emotions very well. And if not, you both better part your ways. This will help you to fly higher without any restrictions burdens or expectations.

Women and Male friendships

So to all the girls out there, Smile, Laugh Louder, Live Freely, Prioritise your family, and All the best for finding a genuine guy-friend.

P.S. - Because male-female friendships are the best, you just need to find the right person among the options available and for this to happen trial and error is the only way.

 A Dynamiclady - Divyanshi Sharma

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