Men, Women and Friendship. How and Why Men Make it Difficult to be “Just Friends”

Men, Women and Friendship. How and Why Men Make it Difficult to be “Just Friends”

This piece was written by a woman and I’m a man, as you’d be aware. I share it here with a link to the original post at the bottom. Like many people, Ive also been intregued by the question whether men and woman can really be just friends. This short piece part explains how this is possible but is made difficult, by men.

Bonding between men rarely involves being honest about emotional problems.

So there’s a known thing in the study of human psychology/sociology/what-have-you, where men are known to, on average, rely entirely on their female romantic partner for emotional support. Bonding with other men is done at a more superficial level involving fun group activities and conversations about general subjects but rarely involves actually leaning on other men or being really honest about emotional problems. Men use alcohol to be able to lower their inhibitions enough to expose themselves emotionally to other men, but if you can’t get emotional support unless you’re drunk, you have a problem.

So men need to have a woman in their lives to have anyone they can share their emotional needs and vulnerabilities with. However, since women are not socialized to fear sharing these things, women’s friendships with other women are heavily based on emotional support. If you can’t lean on her when you’re weak, she’s not your friend. To women, what friendship is is someone who listens to all your problems and keeps you company.

Women’s friendships with other women are heavily based on emotional support

So, the disconnect men are suffering from is that they think that only a person who is having sex with you will share their emotions and expect support. That’s what a romantic partner does. But women think that’s what a friend does. So women do it for their romantic partners and their friends and expect a male friend to do it for them the same as a female friend would. This fools the male friend into thinking there must be something romantic there when there is not.

This here is an example of patriarchy hurting everyone. Women have a much healthier approach to emotional support – they don’t die when widowed at nearly the rate that widowers die and they don’t suffer emotionally from divorce nearly as much even though they suffer much more financially, and this is because women don’t put all their emotional needs on one person. Women have a support network of other women. But men are trained to never share their emotions except with their wife or girlfriend, because that isn’t manly. So when she dies or leaves them, they have no one to turn to to help with the grief, causing higher rates of death, depression, alcoholism and general awfulness upon losing a romantic partner. 

So men suffer terribly from being trained in this way. But women suffer in that they can’t reach out to male friends for basic friendship. I am not sure any man can comprehend how heartbreaking it is to realize that a guy you thought was your friend was really just trying to get into your pants. Friendship is real. It’s emotional, it’s important to us. We lean on our friends. Knowing that your friend was secretly seething with resentment when you were opening up to him and sharing your problems because he felt like he shouldn’t have to do that kind of emotional work for anyone not having sex with him, and he felt used by you for that reason, is horrible. And the fact that men can’t share emotional needs with other men means that lots of men who can’t get a girlfriend end up turning into horrible misogynistic people who think the world owes them the love of a woman, like it’s a commodity… because no one will die without sex. Masturbation exists. But people will die or suffer deep emotional trauma from having no one they can lean on emotionally. And men who are suffering deep emotional trauma, and have been trained to channel their personal trauma into rage because they can’t share it, become mass shooters, or rapists, or simply horrible misogynists.

Men are trained to never share their emotions except with their wife or girlfriend, because that isn’t manly.

The only way to fix this is to teach boys it’s okay to love your friends. It’s okay to share your needs and your problems with your friends. It’s okay to lean on your friends, to hug your friends, to be weak with your friends. Only if this is okay for boys to do with their male friends can this problem be resolved… so men, this one’s on you. Women can’t fix this for you; you don’t listen to us about matters of what it means to be a man. Fix your own shit and teach your brothers and sons and friends that this is okay, or everyone suffers.


The African Savanna Hare found all over Sub-Saharan Africa. The original Br’er Rabbit.

Br’er Rabbit /ˈbrɛər/ (Brother Rabbit), also spelled Bre’r Rabbit or Brer Rabbit, is a central figure in an oral tradition passed down by African-Americans of the Southern United States. He is a trickster who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, provoking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit. Popularly known adaptions are by Joel Chandler Harris in the 19th century, and later The Walt Disney Company adapted it for its 1946 animated motion picture Song of the South

Some scholars have suggested that in his American incarnation, Br’er Rabbit represented the enslaved Africans who used their wits to overcome adversity and to exact revenge on their adversaries, the white slave owners.Though not always successful, the efforts of Br’er Rabbit made him a folk hero. However, the trickster is a multidimensional character. While he can be a hero, his amoral nature and his lack of any positive restraint can make him into a villain as well.

For both Africans and African-Americans, the animal trickster represents an extreme form of behavior that people may be forced to adopt in extreme circumstances in order to survive. The trickster is not to be admired in every situation. He is an example of what to do, but also an example of what not to do. The trickster’s behavior can be summed up in the common African proverb: “It’s trouble that makes the monkey chew on hot peppers.” In other words, sometimes people must use extreme measures in extreme circumstances. Several elements in the Brer Rabbit Tar Baby story (e.g., rabbit needing to be taught a lesson, punching and head butting the rabbit, the stuck rabbit being swung around and around) are reminiscent of those found in a Zimbabwe-Botswana folktale.

The stories of Br’er Rabbit were written down by Robert Roosevelt, an uncle of US President Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography about his aunt from the State of Georgia, that “She knew all the ‘Br’er Rabbit’ stories, and I was brought up on them. One of my uncles, Robert Roosevelt, was much struck with them, and took them down from her dictation, publishing them in Harper’s, where they fell flat. This was a good many years before a genius arose who, in ‘Uncle Remus’, made the stories immortal.”

These stories were popularized for the mainstream audience in the late 19th century by Joel Chandler Harris (1845–1908), who wrote down and published many such stories that had been passed down by oral tradition. Harris also attributed the birth name Riley to Br’er Rabbit. Harris heard these tales in Georgia. Very similar versions of the same stories were recorded independently at the same time by the folklorist Alcée Fortier in southern Louisiana, where the Rabbit character was known as Compair Lapin in Creole. Enid Blyton, the English writer of children’s fiction, retold the stories for children.

The Christmas Reunion

by Dambudzo Marechera

I had never killed a goat before. But it was Christmas. And father who had always done it was dead. He had been dead for seven years. My sister, Ruth, could not possibly be expected to kill the goat. It was supposed to be a man’s job. And mother was dead too. There was the two of us in the house, Ruth and I. I was on sabbatical from the university and Christmas would, I had hoped, be a break from the book I was writing. But there had to be a goat to spoil everything. Actually it was Christmas Eve, and that was the time of killing and skinning the goat. Everybody in the township would be killing their own family goat. While I tried to find an excuse to get out of having to kill the goat myself, I reminded Ruth that a goat was a passionate creature beloved of Pan and how could I kill that beast in me? I was, I said, myself a hardy, lively, wanton, horned and bearded ruminant quadruped — if not in fact, at least in spirit. I had always been wicked. I was up there in the sky with Capricorn, I said. If all this isn’t convincing, I said, what about that all important Tropic of Capricorn which seemed to make those who lived close to it vicious, nasty, spoilt, bloody Boers, and in short to kill the goat would be to disrespect a substantial part of the human extremities and interiorities. Besides, I added, you know I can’t eat what I have killed. Also I was mere goat’s wool in the general fabric of this great fiction we call life and could not logically be capable of such monstrosity as murdering a poor old goat. Imagine a large assembly of bloodthirsty Germans shouting ‘𝐺𝑒𝑖𝑠𝑡’ at a terrified little Jewish boy. All this mass-extermination of perfectly harmless but god-created goats seem to me to be nothing but a distortion of what Christmas was really about. Which was? Which was? Well, we’re Africans anyway and all this nonsense about Christmas was merely a sordid distraction. After all I said, aren’t whites and blacks skinning each other now ready for the Christmas pot, lugging each other by the heels into the universal kitchen to dress each one up with chillies and mustard and black pepper and ‘chips and afterwards everybody would pat their stomachs and belch gently and scratch their bellies in which the feeling of Freedom and Christmas was being slowly digested. The whole business of expressing Christian glee by cutting the throats of much-maligned goats was indeed sickening, not to mention the so-called domestication of goats in concentration-camp-style kraals when what could be more majestic and courageous and rugged than pure mountain goats? I could not for the life of me see anything but inhumanity in buying a goat for a few shillings and tethering it to an old barbed-wire fence and having babies watch its throat and guts being cut up. Besides, I was not a real killer at all. Perhaps sometimes I inadvertently stepped on a beetle that was not watching where it was going, and of course I did murder all those damned mosquitoes that were plaguing my rooms at the university, and that nasty fat fly which so maddened me that I took a swipe at it with a hardback 𝐶𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑡𝑒 𝑆ℎ𝑎𝑘𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑒. I think I only grazed its compound eyes and chucked it into the waste-paper basket and then the crafty insect played so hard at being dead it actually died. I agree that snake which was skulking around in the apple tree when you were looking longingly at the red-ripest one probably did not deserve to be scared to death by my shotgun. And every self-respecting pimply boy had a rubber sling to stone birds to death. And fighting is not a different business: you raise your fist at somebody and at once you are a potential killer — there is nothing manly in that. This business about ‘being a real man’ is what is driving all of us crazy. I’ll have none of it. There is nothing different between you and me except what is hanging between our legs. And if you want goat meat, kill it yourself. If I’m supposed to become a ‘real man’ in the twinkling of an eye by cutting the human throats of these human goats, then I don’t see why you shouldn’t suddenly become a ‘real woman’ by the same horrible atrocity. How can you ever possibly look any living thing in the eye after becoming a grown-up by cutting the throat of a living being? What I mean is, my mind is such a mess because every step eats up the step before it and where will this grand staircase of everything eating everything else lead us to? Who wants to be the first step and who will be the last all eating step? God? I know that goat has probably exterminated a lot of cowering grass, and the grass itself ate up the salt and water in the earth, and the salt and the water probably came from stinking corpses in the ground, and the corpses probably ate up something else — I mean, what the hell! At least we have got that within us which does not kill when all the bloody world is out there killing. Look, you’re my sister, so don’t rush me — at least give me a chance. This is not a guerrilla band from which a man cannot desert alive. It isn’t Smith’s army either. It’s me. Me. And I’m just a goat’s wool that nobody can see. The way the goat is staring at me is making me nervous. But that’s natural; how would you stare at people who were, in your presence, openly discussing the subject of doing away with you, skinning you and dressing you up so that you’d not be even a corpse but something good to eat, which would an hour later come out of their arses and be flushed away into a labyrinth of sewers? I know we can’t eat air or stone or fire, but we can at any rate drink water. But why do we have to eat and drink at all? Whoever created us had a nasty mind! How would you feel if somebody skinned you and then hung out your skin to dry and made a pair of shoes out of it? I mean, there’s people out there who’d boil your very bones to make fertiliser — and if your bones are not good enough, they boil them again and make glue out of them and give it to little school kids to paste up their paperdolls and stick them on a time chart that’s supposed to explain how human civilisation worked out from the Neanderthal to the man of today who is supposed to see things like a camera lens looks at you just before the shutter falls. I refuse to see things this way! They look at you like you want me to look at that goat. They look at you like a potential meal, and they digest your innards and fart you out and call it progress. It terrifies me the way we are capable of imprisoning whole populations of pigs, cattle, poultry, goats and sheep and fatten them up and then herd them into gas chambers and when they are dead strip them of their flesh and bones and brains and gold teeth and marriage rings and spectacles-strip them of everything and call it what, intensive farming, modern progress. And we call it everything else but exactly what it is. The world was not created to serve for a meal for us. If it was, then god help the likes of me. God? It’s his Christmas and in 1915 and 1916 on the western front they took a break from shooting each other up and pushed a football about and then soon as his holy birthday was over they began blasting the tonsils out of each other again. One of the bloody Germans was a clown with a goldfish. I don’t want to be a goldfish in somebody’s idea of a cosmic farce. The goat doesn’t want to be either. And that poor archbishop in Uganda probably did not want to be a goldfish in Amin’s head, either. And probably the goldfish would prefer it if I left its name out of this.
Heavens! It’s so late already. What time is supper? What do you mean, I’ll have to kill the goat if I want any supper? I want my supper. This is the first time I’ve been able to come home in seven years, and would you deny me a humble repast? The goat? Him? He is really the humble repast, is he? Then — god help me — I’ll … Let’s give him to those starving Makonis. They probably haven’t had anything again today. Hey — look out! it’s broken its tether. See how it runs, like Pan himself, or like a scapegoat, or like me when I was younger. It’s burst through that crowd! It’s in the forest! Well, good luck to you, Pan. Don’t look so offended, Ruth, because we are eating out. I’ve reserved the table already. At that posh place, Brett’s. My wife will be joining us there in — let’s see — five minutes. You two have got a lot to talk about — it’s been seven years, you know. I just hope I won’t be booked for speeding.

(From The House of Hunger.)

Dorothy Counts

On the morning of September 4, 1957, fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts set out on a harrowing path toward Harding High, where-as the first African American to attend the all-white school – she was greeted by a jeering swarm of boys who spat, threw trash, and yelled epithets at her as she entered the building.

Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey captured the ugly incident on film, and in the days that followed, the searing image appeared not just in the local paper but in newspapers around the world.

People everywhere were transfixed by the girl in the photograph who stood tall, her five-foot-ten-inch frame towering nobly above the mob that trailed her. There, in black and white, was evidence of the brutality of racism, a sinister force that had led children to torment another child while adults stood by.

While the images display a lot of evils: prejudice, ignorance, racism, sexism, inequality, it also captures true strength, determination, courage and inspiration.

Dorothy Counts

Here she is, age 70, still absolutely elegant and poised.

What the God of Spinoza Would Say

What the God of Spinoza Would Say

Albert Einstein with his student at princeton in the early 1930s

When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was:
– Do you believe in God?
And he always answered:
– I believe in the God of Spinoza.

Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy, along with Descartes.

(Spinoza) : God would say:

Stop praying.
What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you.

Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That’s where I live and there I express my love for you.

Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don’t blame me for everything they made you believe.

Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can’t read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son’s eyes… ➤ you will find me in no book!
Stop asking me “will you tell me how to do my job?” Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.

Stop asking for forgiveness, there’s nothing to forgive. If I made you… I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies… free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I’m the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that?

Respect your peers and don’t do what you don’t want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide.

My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need.

I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.
You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell.

➤ I can’t tell you if there’s anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.

So, if there’s nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won’t ask if you behaved right or wrong, I’ll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?…

Stop believing in me; believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don’t want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.

Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am?

I’m bored being praised. I’m tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That’s the way to praise me.

Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you’ve been taught about me.

What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations?

The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.

– Spinoza

Lets say Mugabe was right..

Mugabe has to be fair on his people by not trying to be the one & only champion of his country’s fate and destiny. The evolution of a nation is a multi generational responsibility. Some discover the ground or site upon which the nation is built. Some lay the foundations. Some build the walls and pillars, some the roofs. Some lay the insulation and plumbing. No single generation can take on everything by itself without putting unrealistic expectations and burden on the legacy of its leader or leaders. Mugabe and ZanuPf are trying to force that sitiation upon Zimbabwe.

Now, let us say Mugabe was was “right” as some placards in NY say, about land and the redistribution of it in Zimbabwe, about the neocolonial ambitions of the west in Africa and all the developing world: Why then, at 93, won’t he allow his people, the “educated” population of Zimbabwe, to take on the burden of proving him right? Why is there a need for him, and ONLY HIM, to stand up year in year out, at world gatherings, to plead his righteousness over and over like Castro? Why does he make enemies for our country for the sake of impressing his eloquence & “vision”? How can it be right that Zimbabwe as a self determining country, gets to have only one man determining its course in history?

Zimbabweans are not naive or foolish. They will not reverse the so called land reform but we will perfect it. We actually will bring back home the wealth stashed overseas by him, his family and hangers-on.  Why not just give us a chance to get on with it, to build the future of our great nation and not be distracted by the sing-song surrounding his name and personal legacy?
Zimbabweans, even a large part of ZPF itself know that Mugabe is not indispensable. 

He is not Zimbabwe

Are Survey Results Telling You That You Have a Nostalgic Affection for Mugabe?

So, the season of surveys is upon us and some results are already coming in showing that Zimbabweans, despite their hardships under the ZPF regime, DO actually love and trust Mugabe more than they love and trust the leadership of the opposition. A lot is being written and spoken about this development on social media and out there in conversations among Zimbabweans.

Some commentators, see the screenshots above, have argued that Zimbabweans have a sort of nostalgic affection for Robert Mugabe. That they love the man and not what he represents. No doubt some people share this belief, but I dont, and below is my reason why

Growing up in the 80s and early 90s, ​I recall that it used to be convinient for many young men and women , boys and girls in want of political and cultural icons to admire, to explain away the rot in Zim by ascribing the blame away from Mugabe, the individual, and putting it squarely on the shoulders of “those around him”. That was mainly influenced by our admiration of the man’s eloquence and the way he always put the greedy white people in their place whenever and wherever he got the chance and platform to speak at world forums. Indeed we chose to believe that the country was going to the dogs because of govt officials being greedy and corrupt while running rings around the old man who we refused to accept that he knew what was going on at all.

Today, with what Zimbabweans have come to know of Mugabe personally through his choice of new wife after Sally, public utterances of the First Lady, through Mugabe’s own choices of where he spends his holiday time or seeks medical treatment, the conduct and privileges that his family flaunts daily and the stubborn determination in his stride after each of his many falls, we, Zimbabweans now know that the source of the rot of this country is without a doubt in the Head (The Dear Leader).

Speaking for myself I have zero nostalgic affection for the man. ZERO. Zilch. Hameno vamwe!

What if my government doesn’t care about the economic cost of #InternetShutdowns?

Internet shut down in Zimbabwe. She can see it coming. Do you?
I see it, and worse. Zimbabwe govt has no economy to care about. Our leaders only care about their mantions and other wealth for which internet is no necessity. So long vachikwanisa kuenda kuminda yavo yeJambaja with a braai stand and some cold bears in the whitemen’s former farmhouses, zvavo zvirikufaya.



After close to three months without Internet access, last week the Anglophone regions of Cameroon finally saw the lifting of an Internet ban that was imposed in January in response to anti-government protests in that country. It is estimated that Cameroon realised close to US $5 million in economic loses attributable to the shutdown. Cameroon is just the latest victim of what’s becoming a real scourge particularly on the African continent. We have learnt that in 2016 alone, there were at least 56 documented Internet shutdowns, and the number keeps growing.

That any government can get away with such a move amidst campaigns to #KeepItOn and #BringBackOurInternet is an indicator of how far we still have to go in terms of locating effective methodologies for stopping intentional state-sanctioned internet disruptions.

There have been various campaigns calling on governments to respect freedom of expression and leave the Internet alone. The…

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