Years of academic study, combined with what most of us would consider our own common sense, have helped to create the consensus that girls have friends with whom they share secrets and are terribly emotional, whereas boys have friends with whom they play games and sport, against whom they work out their place in the hierarchy but with whom they don’t talk about intimate things.
Now a psychologist at New York University claims that our understanding of male bonds is wrong. Professor Niobe Way has just spent 15 years interviewing teenage boys for her book, Deep Secrets: The Hidden Landscape of Boys’ Friendships, and has found that this stereotypical view of boys as unempathic, only interested in action and superficial, slap-on-the-back type friendships isn’t true. She found that boys between the ages of 11 and 15 are just as sentimental and emotional about their friends as girls and have no problem expressing their importance. As they grow older, these become inappropriate feelings for men so they lose the ability to maintain close friendships, something that Professor Way says creates untold misery in their lives.
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