I am constantly asked, "How are men's friendships different from women's?"
Men "tend" (because I am not speaking of all men or all women) to have shoulder-to-shoulder friendships and women face-to-face friendships. Paul Wright used these terms in a 1982 article in Sex Roles and they refer to men feeling more comfortable interacting with men around activities - we get together and do things together, like sports. Women tend to feel more comfortable facing each other over coffee and conversing directly with fewer distractions. Men are socialized to compete through structured activities, like sports and pay checks; women compete in less structured ways - appearance, demeanor, warmth. (This is changing, most markedly for women who now slightly outnumber men in the workplace, despite their earning less than men.) So men approach friendships differently - through activities - 80% of the men interviewed for my book said they participate in sports with their friends; no women gave that answer though a few said they exercise with friends. Shopping is a more common activity for women - only one man out of 386 said he shopped with his friends.