I'm a guy with only female friends.
Some of us belong to that category of "I only have friends of the opposite sex", and whoever isn't part of this group, they usually find this phenomenon very fascinating and emblematic.
We decided to interview N, a guy who has had mainly female friends for most of his life. Let's see if this 'situation' is really like we imagine it and let's try to demolish some myths between male and female friendships.
(For privacy reasons, we are not including N's real name or picture)
H: Do you think that having all female friends is influenced by those slightly negative, too masculine traits of men?- such as competitiveness, homophobia, the constant pursuit of money etc.
N: I've never really been competitive, on the contrary actually, and I don't know if that was a symptom that led me to having all female friends, or the consequence of growing up with them that didn't make me develop this trait.
However, I can also understand the thing about competitiveness, even if I never applied that concept to myself. It's not always a negative trait to have and it helps with self-esteem - something that I'm lacking a bit of, I always think other people are better than me. So it certainly influenced me, but I don't know if one thing is due to the other or vice versa. In many situations - such as competitions, tournaments etc. - competitiveness certainly played a big part in my detachment from those situations that lead me to being in a 'group' among men. They stirred each other up, playing rough with one another, while I was with the women on the other side of the field talking bullshit and facing these tensions with humor and laughter.
H: Do you think the women in your family have had an impact on this situation?
N: I'm an only child and it's not like I don't have women in my family that have influenced my growth - certainly my mother, maybe my cousin, but she was actually pretty manly.... Anyway, I don't think that was one of the main reasons. Not in my case, at least.
H. Ah... but as for your cousin, were the female friends you chose for yourself always a little tomboy?
N: In most cases, yes! My best friend used to burp in the kitchen and my father would yell 'N, stop it!' but it was really her! And like this many other similar situations. So I never felt like I was missing out on male friendships.
So it's not even connected to a family thing, but more about the situation that I grew up in - even if the few male friends I had weren't really macho either! I think I've always been on the search for those characters that are kind of a middle ground, like me.
H: I've always noticed that between men there exists a sort of hierarchy, some fixed stereotypes. Do you think this happens between women as welll? Does this influence you at all?
N: Yes, it exists, but in a very different way, more subtle. I've lived through many fights with the female sex - regarding boys or nasty comments that they'd make to each other - and if I wasn't part of that male hierarchy, I definitely was part of the female one, willingly or unwillingly.
For example, if one girl hates another girl, then the whole group need to hate that very same girl, and at some point I was forced to hate her as well. But not because I wanted to take part in these little 'games', more because women have a very subtle approach in the way they deliver news to you so, at some point, you obviously start to believe them!
Between men, these dynamics are a little different - they are still present, but different - and in the end I always chose women more than men because I felt less pressure in these situations; I found it easier to amuse myself in such an approach than in the overly direct or brusque manner of males.
H: Let's move on to the topic of feelings. Did having all female friends help you in matters of love or rather block you further?
N: I'd say it didn't help me much, in fact it probably blocked me more! It certainly taught me to better understand many female dynamics, maybe too many. I can talk about women's issues much more than a man who only spent his life surrounded by men - while the other guys played soccer, I was on the couch talking about Britney Spears. And I didn't even like Britney Spears, but I hated football more, so I learned how to speak and listen to these many different subjects. But no, in love it didn't help, it only helped me to have even more female friends actually.
H: Could you explain this block? Because of this, have you ever found yourself in 'complicated' situations with some of your friends?
N: I truly and deeply believe in the purity of a male-female friendship and I don't think there has to be any basic attraction between them necessarily. So let's say that a lot of times I don't even think about this, or an actual development of something like that, only because I take for granted the fact that having a female friend means I simply have a friend.
Sometimes, of course, something can happen, but if someone does not point it out to me I won't even get there!
Then yes, when the idea gets into your head sometimes things can get strange, you can no longer distinguish love from friendship but I try not to think about it and I let it pass - I've probably been wrong about this many times! I took on this opportunity once after a two and a half year relationship, it's over.
H: On the other hand, has this ever created problems with other men? Has it ever made you feel weird or lacking something?
N: Yeah, it did create a bit of problems, but not because they thought of me as a woman or what else, but more because they were jealous! They'd complain that I never considered them annd, returning to the discussion of pressure, they always made me feel as if I had to choose between one and the other. Since I have never handled these situations too well, in the end I always chose the female group in order not to face that 'peer pressure' from my male group of friends.
This whole situation however was founded in jealousy from the fact that I was perpetually surrounded by women all the time and, by not having that stretch of competitiveness, I didn't even act cooler, which in turn increased their competitiveness. I didn't handle this situation very well and struggled with this.
H: So... did you feel a little cooler than them?
N: Nah.. well, sometimes yes maybe. I've always felt like I had a slightly wider view of the world and of people. I can contemplate the friendship between men and women while other cannot, and this is limiting . I repeat, I've never acted 'cooler', but being able to quietly and calmy reason with women is pretty cool!
H: You have enlightened us on so many aspects, thank you N. Do you have any advice for other men who are living your same situation, but that can feel 'strange' at times? Any final words for those who could see this as a problem?
N: The only piece of advice that I have is, if you want to have a lot of sex, don't do what I did. Treasure what you have learned and use - in the positive way - your female friends to make friends with their other female friends. I've never been too exuberant in this sense, just because it's an intrinsic characteristic of mine. If you can fuck them, go for it. Obviously I say this laughing, not in a harmful way, but having female friends shouldn't result in a block in your love life, rather it must become a quality that leads you to be more open and not the other way around.
For the rest, I find it a beautiful thing, so we should not feel at fault or wrong at all. It's just that we have a slightly different mentality, we need to confront ourselves using different approaches from the 'common' ones for men; we need different stimuli, more empathy. And then, in fact, it depends on how you grow up, if at the beginning of your human relationships you preferred dialogue to soccer, you grow a bit like this. But let's treasure having female friends and let's not see this as a problem!