Compare and contrast, using direct quotations, the difference between male and female friendships.

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marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cicero gives the following definition of friendship:  "in order to have a true friendship with someone one must have complete honesty, truth and trust. Also, friends do things for each other without expectation of repayment. If a friend is about to do something wrong, one should not compromise one's morals. One should explain what is wrong about the action, and help one's friend understand what is right . . . "

There are many differing degrees of friendship among human beings, and when comparing and contrasting male friendship to female friendship, there are interesting facts that come up! 

Male friendships tend to be based more on shared activites and interests, rather than on emotional bonding, which is usually the basis of most female relationships.  But, this is not entirely true.  Men can have relationships where they deeply love each other, almost like blood brothers.  It is possible for men to have an intimate friendship and not be sexually attracted to each other.  Many times they can almost read each other's thoughts, and their goals and aspirations are similar.  They become so close, so deeply intwined in each other's lives that if one of them should die, the other one is grief-stricken and deeply mourns their passing.  Some friendships between men have been so sublime that they transcend the deep abiding love of a man for a woman! 

While it's true that women tend to be ruled and governed more by their emotions, many women have great friendships with others because of what they have in common.  And, the protection instinct in very strong in women so that they naturally band together as friends to protect themselves against an innumerable number of things (i.e. men, governments, groups, societies, etc.).  Women, too can have deeply, spiritual relationships with other women and consider them "kindred spirits." 

Womens' relationships tend to be more "touchy-feely," characterized by hugging, kissing, and other physical shows of affections.  Many times they wrap their arms around each other or join hands.  On the other hand, men seldom touch each other other than slapping each other on the backs or playful wrestling.  They are mostly content just being in each other's company.  But gender aside, both men and women can get loud, rambunctuous, raucous, and rowdy when in the company of their friends!  No distinction here, folks!

Both men and women need intimacy from someone, often choosing their own gender out of necessity, without being sexually intimate.  Intimacy is defined by "enduring behavioral interdependence, repeated interactions, emotional attachment, and need fulfillment."   To engender intimacy, we must first be a friend.