Posted by Stacy B
It can be complicated to be a female and have male friends. I wrote before about being friends with men and that many declare they have a significant other. When I wrote about this, my point was that stating the attachment was supposed to let ME know that they were not available, whether fending off or being pro-active. Sometimes, though, that didn’t stop THEM from trying.
Here’s the flip side – men respecting their significant other by not even considering women for social event invites unless their significant others are present (wives/girlfriends in this case). I understand this. Really. It’s a form of protection and a way to show that you want to do the right thing. If it’s a guys’ night out – that’s cool. Women do their version for girls’ night out. Purely social.
Where do you tend to meet people?
There’s proximity, such as neighbors, or other parents at the same school or parents of your kids’ friends.
There’s work – I mean, you probably spend a lot of long hours with these people. When you get along at all, your relationship might move to social outside of work.
Then there are community organizations – they may be a religious community, such as a church. Or they may focus on leadership, a particular cause, or social activities.
Let’s say the organization is in the last category – community – and it is not something your entire family would be a part of, such as a church. This organization is something specifically you have chosen that family members may be a part of occasionally. Let’s also state that the organization tends to appeal more to men, yet all are welcome. You spend a lot of time with people from this organization, and similar to people at work, adding a social element away from the organization with some individuals is a likable idea. You also are a married man who won’t mix socially with women unless your wife is present. Your wife is busy with the kids, not interested (or maybe not invited so she doesn’t know) in going out with anyone from this group, so only the guys are asked. You chit chat, and you also talk about business related to the organization cause it’s on your mind. No harm, right?
The Setback that keeps going and going and going.
I’d like to think that there are people to see socially, and when that rule is involved, either your significant other is invited, or the rule is updated. The need for support and to talk about business is something for more than specific groups (or genders). Yes, not every conversation is for everyone, and a guys only or girls only night out is fine. Yet, how are deals getting made sometimes? Socially – over dinner, drinks, golf, etc. The point is there might be others who would fit the social extension and who would also have something to contribute for “business” discussions and instead get left behind because they don’t fit with whatever the grouping is (“one of the guys,” etc).
I’ve observed similar behavior where it’s not only about who’s being social. Person A and person B have a different relationship now at the organization, and do not believe others need to be involved. Person A and person B dismiss what person C says because the relationship is strictly (maybe even barely) “professional.” In other words, when person C offers information, person A ignores or forgets until it is brought up by person B. When person B offers that same information, it’s golden. It comes across and is received as brand new information, even though person C had previously shared the same information. The point, then, is that the relationships matter, and the relationship may have the chance to exist because of gender. This really isn’t a new idea. It is another way to explain it.
We are all people before adding any other labels. Shouldn’t that matter more than the labels?
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading!