Friendships part two: Making friends is only a Vowel Away

Recently, Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover movies, said he found his inspiration behind the series from the awkwardness he saw in male relationships.  He compared the Sex in the City show and films to his, and he talked about the grace and ease behind female relationships, and how it is so much smoother than men.  While there is always an exception to any rule or broad generalization, I do find his statement generally true.

My friend that cuts my hair and I had a rather lengthy conversation about this too. He told me recently that of the hundreds of clients he has, I am one of 3 men.  To paraphrase the conversation, the reason being that having to sit and talk to another man for 30 minutes or so can be like pulling teeth.  He pointed out some of his observations from years of making small talk with strangers of both sexes that sit in his chair, and one in particular stuck with me:  Men use statements that begin with “I…” way more than women. I started counting my words, and he’s right. I say I…a lot.  Women on the other hand, tend to use more phrases that incorporate the other person in the conversation, whether, it’s, “You…” or “Why…?”

Trying to change this is hard.

I’ve tried.

I can’t stop myself.

I give up.

As a pastor, of course, I always try to locate this type of phenomenon in the bible.

16 To the woman he said,

   “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. 
Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food 
until you return to the ground…

As a result of the curse, women get broken towards relationships, and men get broken towards work.  Perhaps this is why women are so much more at ease in conversation.  As men, our awkwardness stems from our primary desire to pursue work over relationships.  We don’t value meaningful conversation- we value making money and making a name for ourselves. This isn’t just American men. This is every boy or man who walks the planet. The desire to have the best toy in preschool eventually becomes a desire to have the biggest boat on the lake.

Have you noticed this in your own life? How do stop the freight train of self to have deep relationships? Women-any tips to share?