For Old Time’s Sake

Vox’s most recent post caught my eye when he mentioned this:

I noticed a long time ago that while I still have pretty much the same friends that I did in high school, virtually no woman I knew hadn’t changed out her entire set of friends more than once. There are exceptions, of course, but it does seem strange that the supposedly social sex tends to be less inclined to maintain lasting friendships.

That got me thinking about the differences in friendship between men and women. As I thought it over, I came to the realization that I have never heard a woman do something for a past friend “for old time’s sake.” I’ve only ever heard that language, and behavior, from men.

I’m curious if any of my readers have noticed the same as well. Perhaps it is simply my limited experience, and thus limited data set. Or maybe there is something to this.

If it is “a thing”, then I wonder if it might have to do with male notions of honor and obligations. Perhaps for women it might also have to do with their more pragmatic (in theory) natures, especially when it comes to relationships.

So please folks, chime in and let me know what you think.



Filed under Men, Red Pill, Women

13 responses to “For Old Time’s Sake

  1. Ame

    this is really interesting and not something i’ve thought of in this way before.

    i do have a few forever-friends. we don’t live close anymore, actually most don’t live in the same state. but when we get together, which is unfortunately rarely, it’s awesome.

    however, i think women tend to make friends based on what they’re going through in life. working? your friends are your co-workers or other working women. pregnant? you make friends with other pregnant women. preschoolers? you make friends with other moms of preschoolers. etc.

    when this doesn’t work well is when there are jealous women. women compare everything … ob/gyns, pediatricians, diet during pregnancy, medicated or unmedicated delivery, breast or bottle feed, when does the baby roll over, eat table food, walk, talk, potty train, write their name, what dance/sports/etc do you have your child enrolled in, at what age do you let them have a cell phone, do you attend church, what are your house rules, etc. and it goes on and on. then women tend to segregate according to working moms and sahm’s. i had a ‘friend’ get really angry with me b/c i did not wean my babies to cow’s milk. they were allergic to it, but that didn’t matter to her. she thought i was ruining them b/c i was not forcing them to drink cow’s milk.

    when one woman becomes jealous of another, the friendship usually ends. jealousy can be over one husband doing better in his job than another, health/weight, accomplishments/achievements in career or personal life, size of house/neighborhood, clothing/style, or anything, really.

    finding a female friend who sincerely cares about you without comparing or coveting or gloating in any way can be difficult. actually, finding a female friend who sincerely cares for you without anything attached is, imo, quite rare.

  2. Neguy

    Candidly, this is not my experience. The women I know tend to have a set of girlfriends from way back, often college, and maintain those friendships over time unless some drama blows it up.

    Where I see women experience friendship divergence is when the kids come. Especially post-40, married women with kids and single women seem to inhabit parallel universes.

  3. This certainly has been my experience. While I have not kept in CLOSE contact with most of my high school friends, any time I have learned of one of them being in dire straits, I have always had the immediate reaction of “What can I do to help out?” One friend whom I haven’t seen or talked to in almost 40 years drove for hours to attend one of my parents’ funerals when he learned of it third-hand. It seems to be instinctive, at least among we older men.

    And I have discussed with my wife and daughters the fact that this phenomenon does not seem to translate to the female. They all admit as much.

    As a new reader to your blog, I appreciate these kinds of original posts that provoke thought/discussion.

  4. Hmm. That’s not my experience, not exactly.

    I’ve never heard my wife of 20 years say she’ll do something for old times sake. She does have a group of friends from high school she has kept, and she keeps in touch with them a couple times a year. But they are nowhere nearly as close as they were 20 years ago. Same with my sister who’s also been married a long time. Has a group of friends from youth, but are not as close because of marriage, kids, work, moving away, etc.

    What I do think is different between men and their friends, and women and their friends, is the level of raw honesty. I think men are much more honest and forthcoming with their friends than women are with theirs. I have always known exactly where I stood with my male friends; and I’ve always made it known where they stand with me. I don’t think women are this honest. I’ve heard women talk about their closest friends; and I now understand where the word “frenemy” comes from.

  5. MK

    Wife & I keep in contact with very few family or friends from youth. Bad friends. Bad families. Bad generation. Never even think of all that except to shudder & thank God.

  6. TWS

    It must be fairly recent. I was raised by my grandparents and great grandparents. They still kept in touch with childhood friends (when they could).

    But my wife has not spoken to any of her bridesmaids even in the last thirty five years while I still am friends with a guy I knew in grade school. My daughters are certainly not friends with the same folks as they were in high school unless that friend was also a friend of their brothers. At some point I think women stopped keeping their old connections. I don’t know why.

    Grandma would do anything for a friend. And her friends did things for her. A lady my great grandmother met when she was in a covered wagon used to send my brother and I beaded moccasins, gloves, etc. This was eighty years after they first met and she never forgot me or my brother at Christmas or birthdays.

  7. Ame

    TWS – that’s … incredible.

  8. I agree that the level of honesty may correlate with the loyalty in a friendship, regardless of gender.

    I’m the person who just asks questions and says things that are useful, but I don’t reveal myself or disagree much with my friends. I fear that if I help too much, people will take advantage of me, so I help people or give what I can but do not lend money.

    My mother and brothers are more candid and friendlier than me. They easily say what’s on their minds and do not mind what people say. My mother regularly meets friends from childhood, school, and work, even though she’s retired. My older brother meets high school and college friends every other month even if he has to fly to be with them. My younger brother meets up monthly with his high school friends with their families.

    Maybe people who maintain those long-term friendships are happier with their friends. I’m more content being by myself. If I’m with people, I have to make myself feel happier, and think of how to please the other persons.

  9. anonymous_ng

    As far as friends go, my experience is that it’s a mixed bag. I know men with few friends of long acquaintance, and women with lifelong friends, and vice versa.

    As for male notions of honor and obligation, it’s been discussed many times in this general area of the internet how men are loyal to their word, and women as a group less so, and perhaps more loyal to their feelings and emotions.

    As an example, if I say that I will help you move, I will show up regardless of how much I’d rather be doing something else because I’ve said that I would show up.

    However, I find that just because a behavior is more common amongst one group, it’s not 100% either way.

  10. The one and only bridesmaid at my wedding ended our friendship because (and only because, she said), now that I was married there was nothing in common between us anymore. It was hard because we had been friends (and our dads very close friends) for many years. I wouldn’t have eevn met my husband if not for her. I felt an obligation to stay connected.

    When either of us loses a family member or something monumental takes place in our families, we do reach out to one another. The connection is not completely severed, but the weakness of the connection is something I wished I could have avoided.

    My husband has friends for years and years on end. Even if their lifestyles preclude them from hanging together like they did when they were younger, when the rubber meets the road and there’s a need, they are there for each other.

    Ame is right, though. Female friendships, particularly post marriage nad family, are more accurately described as networks. Women are usually “friends” with whoever it is easiest to maintain friendships with because of the needs and schedules of kids. PTA, fellow basketball moms, homeschool groups, etc.

    However, I don’t see this is a denigration of female friendship. The women I know who are wives/mothers and who spend a significant amount of time with HS and college girlfriends are generally women who place those friendships as a priority over home and family. Remember, women are social creatures. Friendships for us require that we spend time with one another. Or at least some time with one another.

    This is why female friendships seem more utilitarian. Like most of the things required for women to fulfill their roles, a certain bit of pragmatism over idealism is just the way it is until our kids are more independent.

  11. MK

    E, I don’t see this is a denigration of female friendship…
    This is why female friendships seem more utilitarian.

    I’m glad you posted this. I wanted to say something similar but but stumped.

    I’ll try: IMO most gender differences are due to evolutionary specializations that deliver a superior life for interdependent families. But in our individualistic culture, these differences often seem more sinister (on both sides of the gender isle).

  12. But in our individualistic culture, these differences often seem more sinister (on both sides of the gender isle).

    Yes, this is true. There are plenty of things which were a normal part of life before the toxicity of post-modern individualism and the death of community. Socializing and work often went hand in hand. It was only reasonable that women (and men) engaged in similar work or were in similar stations of life would spend time together. Whether cane grinding (to use an old FL example), canning a tomato or peach crop people often gathered for work. Those who didn’t have to work gathered with others of similar station.

    What we see today (with women’s relationships being focused around their stage of the parenting journey) isn’t really much different from what has always been, simply tweaked to match the needs and propensities of we moderns. And frankly, I see far more men who fail to act on behalf of men who have shown themselves faithless friends than I do women.

    When you get to the point where you accept that human nature is what it is, a lot of things become far less confusing.

  13. Thank you everyone for your comments. There have been a lot of great ones. A lot to chew on here, which I like.

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