Friendships Between Men Versus Friendships Between Women: Learn the Differences

Friendship between men and between women is often expressed in different ways. It is cultural? Does it have do with personalities? We'll take a look at some possible explanations.
Friendships Between Men Versus Friendships Between Women: Learn the Differences
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 13 November, 2022

Why is it that when you ask a man the reasons why one of his friends has stopped calling him, he can’t tell you more than “I don’t know, he just stopped calling”? Meanwhile, on the other hand, a woman makes sure she knows every detail after a long conversation. This is an example of one of the many differences when it comes to friendships between men and women.

There are likely cultural factors that influence us from a young age in the way we form friendships, whether we are men or women. They may also be key personality traits or even other reasons that can be explained by psychology. Since the differences are evident, today we’re going to address the main differences in friendship between men or friendships between women in greater depth.

Friendship between men is more instrumental

This definition was applied by psychologist and author Ronald E. Riggio. According to Riggio, a friendship between men seems to focus on the enjoyment of an activity together, doing some project or having a meal together, but without getting too deep into the emotional details. So, if a man tells his guy friends that he’s just separated from his partner, no one will really ask him what happened or take to analyzing the details.

This is a way of understanding friendships that many women do not fully understand. Just as when it comes to experiencing their first kiss or their first sexual relationship, women want details, and this does not tend to happen with men.

Men tend to focus more on sharing experiences and often stay a bit superficial. Friendship is more instrumental among them, although for women, it’s very different.

friendship men women
Practical or instrumental friendship among men refers to the fact that men tend to avoid delving into personal details with their friends.

Friendship among women has an impact on their health

This may seem like a very curious fact, but friendship among women is so important, and the bonds that are created are so deep that they can even have an impact on their health. This is not our claim, but rather the result of a study Stronger Social Support Shown to Improve Early Breast Cancer Outcomes. The study was based on women diagnosed with cancer at an early stage.

Apparently, there was a 38% lower mortality rate if they had satisfactory friendships. The situation was different in women who had hardly any friends or when the relationships they had were not satisfactory.

Although more studies still need to be done on this, it’s an open door that sheds light on the importance of friendships among women.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Friendships Between Women: A Sensational Way to Combat Stress

Men tend to neglect their friendships more

Another insight provided by Ronald E. Riggio is that men tend to neglect their relationships more. They can go months without contacting their friends and without talking to them; later, they can meet up again as if nothing had happened, without the friendship having diminished. Perhaps this happens because of the instrumental character of their friendships.

In friendships between women, on the other hand, this is very different. If contact is not frequent and there’s not a series of efforts to meet more frequently and to learn more about each other’s lives, the friendships will slowly flicker away.

Therefore, women attach great importance to this type of relationship. As we saw before, it even affects their health.

friendship men women
Frequent contact is typical of friendships between women, which tend to require regular meetings.

Women talk more about their emotions and relationships

Surveys conducted a few years ago also revealed this aspect that can make friendship between women different from that of men. In fact, there are several data that corroborate what we’ve explained so far.

Scores on talking about family, goals, or personal matters amongst their friends were higher among the women surveyed. Conversations on the telephone were also more numerous among women than among men. A friendship between women is often characterized as a source of venting, seeking other points of view and advice.

Although there are always exceptions and this is something we should never lose sight of, it is true that friendship between men and women is often far from equal. We only have to look around us and our own relationships to realize this. How different are those of the opposite gender?

This is neither good nor bad; it’s just different.

Friendship always matters

No matter what gender you identify with, what is clear is that friendships are important and necessary in our lives. As we grow up, we may lose friends along the way, make new ones, and their number may shrink.

This is normal, because we all change. In the end, we should always end up opting for quality relationships rather than quantity.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • DE NOVIAZGO, E. U. (2021). FACTORES ASOCIADOS A LA SATISFACCIÓN EN LAS RELACIONES. Revista de Estudios Clínicos e lnvestigación Psicológica11(21).
  • Rodríguez-Madrid, M. N., Río-Lozano, D., Fernández-Peña, R., Elizalde-Sagardia, B., & del Mar García-Calvente, M. (2022). Redes personales de apoyo y cuidado informal: ¿diferencias por sexo y territorio? (estudio CUIDAR-SE II). Gaceta Sanitaria35, 515-524.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.