Monday, January 2, 2012
This evening the talk turned to the nature of friendships—about why friendships between men seem better equipped to overcome small hitches, to get on with things, to move past disagreements. "I don't mean to stereotype women," my son said, "but wouldn't you say they are often less willing to confront issues head on? I mean, don't women often tend to say nothing when they should say something, until the smallest little thing makes the whole friendship explode?"
I had to agree, as the one woman at the table. I looked back, thought about relationships broken, relationships that carry forward. I thought about the times that I've tried to be direct—to speak honestly, to express concerns, to ask questions, to understand—and about how, at times, directness was both not wanted, nor productive. I thought about the ways that silence creeps in, then distance, then nothing. I thought about a lot of things while my son kept on talking.
Men, he was saying, can have fights, physical fights even, and wake up the next day and be friends. For women, however, continuity post betrayal or perceived betrayal, post selfish turn, post unkindness, seems harder.
Why do you think that is? he asked me.
I could not say for sure.