PYSC Friendships and Intimacy Relationship Paper

Submitted By pmuchhal
Words: 1842
Pages: 8

Gender Differences in Intimate Relationships: Effects of Traditional Gender Roles
Parth Muchhala
University of Southern California

Intimate Friendships are a necessity for us. The ‘cruel’ world is made less cruel by the presence of these friendships and relationships. Casual friendships seem simple enough, but as we got more intimate with people, our relationship with them becomes more and more complex. I want to use my own personal experience to demonstrate and argue about two concepts. In this so-called modern era, is it possible for men and women to be just friends? Can they have an intimate friendship without having a romantic relationship? Secondly, I want to discuss the statement, “Women’s friendships are face-to-face, whereas men’s are side-by-side. Lastly, how do the traditional gender roles played by men and women affect these theories? I was in an all boys school till the 10th grade. When I came to high school, I entered unfamiliar territory when all boys and girls were put together in the same grade. It took some time to get used to the new atmosphere; it wasn’t the same. Boys spent less time playing sports, talking about sports and performed fewer activities in general. Everyone got involved in their own conversations with the girls. It felt easy to talk to women about our emotions and our feelings. We spent more time talking, than actually doing things. It was like there was this new form of communication, which opened up for us. In these circumstances, I too formed an intimate relationship with a friend. As we became closer and closer, our relationship was becoming more complicated. I still liked to think of us as friends, and I thought in my head that she did too. I could share my feelings, have mature conversations with her, and I felt open in general. With the boys, though I had a few very close mates, our relationship seemed more superficial. It was more about showing our masculinity, playing sports, pranks, etc. We were sticking to our male traditional gender roles. This new companionship that I had formed, gave me internal satisfaction and happiness. I could be myself in front of her, could even cry if I wanted to. She would always solve my problems and make it her life’s mission to make me happy. I observed during this period, that each of the boys had found their means of support in the other sex. No one had to share their emotional problems with the boys and face insensitive remarks. We could be our male selves with the boys, and show our reality to our female friends. As I became more attached to my friend, both of us thought our relationship was more than just friendship. The picture in front of us looked so perfect. We knew everything about each other, had been best friends for a while, and loved each other’s company. We thought we could easily take the relationship to the next level, move away from an intimate friendship to a romance. I was a little apprehensive, because I knew the value of our friendship. Our friendship provided stability in my life and I knew that once we entered a romantic relationship, there was no going back. But hesitantly, when she asked me out, I was willing to take that leap of faith. It has been two years since that day. They have been the happiest two years of my life, but not because I loved her as a romantic partner, but because I loved her as a friend. The convenience of having your friend as a partner, gives you the illusion that you love the romantic relationship. But soon you will realize that it’s not love, it’s just friendship which keeps the relationship going. When I was not ready to commit the same way she was, I knew that not only would the relationship end, but also our friendship, forever. I tried maintaining our friendship after, but the same level of intimacy was absent. I also observed around me, how people who claimed to be ‘just friends’ could not sustain that relationship because either of the partners eventually wanted to enter a romantic