I think I may have homed in on a part of the reason I don’t like talking to other girls.
Whenever you talk to friends about things that bother you, the Gross Generalization is that men tend to try to help solve your problem when you tell them about it—they’ll ask questions, try to clarify the problem, offer suggestions and options, help weigh pros and cons of each, etc.
Women OTOH, says The Royal ‘They’, tend to just want to listen and sympathize. Some will do this by telling you about a similar situation that happened to them. I think that’s one way to show empathy. No one’s ever told me what physical actions were involved in “sympathizing”, “empathizing” and “relating”, so I suppose that’s what they meant.
I find these Gross Generalizations generally true of the people that have associated with.
So, to me, it feels like women are constantly turning the conversation topic to themselves. Many times, I’ll be thinking, Jeezus, why is it youyouyou again? Can you not say two words without making it all about you?! It’s very off-putting to me because I have trouble talking about my problems to begin with, so when I do, it must be really bothering me.
It’s especially pronounced when they haven’t quite understood my point or have slightly misunderstood me. When that happens, they’ll be going on and on about something totally different. It will feel like they’re changing the subject, ignoring my feelings and marginalizing my experience. And, of course, I hate it. It makes me want to stay away from the person who does it to me.
If this mode of conversation – this trying to relate by expressing a personal experience – is more prevalent in women, it would completely explain why I gravitate towards men as friends more often.
It’s not absolute. I do get annoyed at The Spanish Inquisition descending on my issues too. And sometimes I do want to just be listened to and comforted as well. But it’s not a big surprise that I find male friends better at “just listening and comforting” as well. I think the recent popular culture has taught them that when women vent, they don’t want a solution their problems, they just want to be listened to. So, that’s precisely what men have learned to do.
I don’t know what to do with this realization though. I can’t very well ask people not to do that. If someone can’t be themself around you, then you’re not a very good friend to them.
So far, my natural response has been to avoid female companionship. It’s worked out okay, I guess. But it’s not in line with this goal of making more female friends.
Maybe I should just mark this goal as “Done” and “Not Worth Doing”. That’s a valid outcome too. But that doesn’t quite feel right either.