Prologue? First, I want to explain where this question came from. I wanted to write about something I don’t typically write about, so I decided to look for a prompt question. I tried Google autocomplete, but I didn’t get anything interesting. Instead, I found this list on the New York Times blog, and just used random.org to pick a question for me. So here we are. I’m writing about boy friendships vs. girl friendships with no science, just total opinion.
First, I want to address the pronouns used here. “Boys” and “Girls” implies men and women younger than, say, twelve. The way we deal with relationships when we’re young probably effects our relationships when we get older, but I’ll start with kids. Specifically, how I remember friendships at that age.
I never really had a LOT of friends. Some kids in my class loved hanging out in groups, but I always preferred a smaller group of people who I was more comfortable with. Well, “preferred” probably isn’t the best descriptor there. I was kind of the nerd in Elementary School, so the small group was probably more due to the fact that I wasn’t really liked. Unless someone wanted to cheat off my tests, of course.
The people who I felt closest to I would usually hang out with every day after school (if I was able). During recess, we played all our games together. We sat next to each other during every class we could.
That doesn’t really speak to “intensity” though. When I was that young, I was still learning about who I was, so I think my friendships were pretty shallow. They were essentially “You want to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles today? You don’t like Turtles?! Goodbye!” In fact, I remember once my mom set up a “play date” with one of my classmates who was unpopular. At some point, I told him “I didn’t want to hang out with you, because I think you’re ugly. But you have some pretty cool toys!”
That’s not a compliment, tiny Jake.
I don’t think my friendships started becoming “intense” until Middle School, when I started growing feels. My friendships then are probably more useful for the purpose of this question.
I had more friends in Middle School and High School than in Elementary. In fact, I found myself gravitating more and more towards people who were like me - dorky, smart, folks interested in wrestling, artsy types - so we could share our experiences. I hung out with those people at school, but there were still only a handful of people I hung out with outside of school. Those close friends were the folks I hung out with constantly.
My closest friends were the ones I shared everything with. I would do anything for them. But they were also the people I was most hurt by if they wronged me in some way. For each of those people, I felt like our friendship was one of great strength.
Now that I’ve grown up (a bit), I still have many of these friendships. Circumstances are different, and I’ve calmed down a lot (meaning “betrayal” isn’t really something I worry about so much), but I still feel like those friends are very close. My friends now (you know who you are) are the kind of people I can be away from for months or years, but the moment I’m in a room with them, it’s like we were never apart.
I recognize I’m only answering this question sort of. But I suppose that’s because I know that everyone’s different. I can say, however, that no matter what your gender (or sex, for that matter), intense friendships are usually the ones that are the hardest to destroy. That’s a good thing, because then you wind up with people in your life who are more like family than just friends. Those people will always support you. They’ll always be there for you.
Is that kind of friendship “intense?” I don’t know. But I do know that those relationships are easily the most rewarding.