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in: Podcast, Relationships & Family

• Last updated: November 25, 2016

Podcast #229: How Men and Women Socialize Differently

The popular idea out there is that women are more social than men and men are more competitive than women. What’s more, these tendencies are socially conditioned rather than biologically innate. 

But what if it’s the other way around?

My guest today is a psychologist who has spent thirty years researching the differences between how boys and girls socialize, and she’s discovered that many ideas that people have on the subject are completely wrong. Her name is Joyce Benenson and she’s the author of the book Warriors and Worriers: The Survival of the Sexes. Today on the show Joyce and I discuss the biological origins of male and female socialization, why men prefer all-male groups, and why women can be just as, if not more competitive, as men. We also discuss how men compete to cooperate and why men can make up much faster with an enemy than women can. 

Show Highlights

  • How Joyce started researching the differences between how boys and girls socialize
  • How these differences are a result of both nature and nurture
  • How researchers know that boys prefer large groups and violence even as infants
  • Do these differences exist in our primate relatives?
  • Why men prefer to hang out with large groups of unrelated men and why women prefer being with related kin
  • The different fears of males and females
  • Why boys like having enemies
  • How men are oftentimes more social than women
  • How men compete to bond
  • Why men have better “make up” skills with opponents than women
  • Why men prefer all-male groups and women don’t mind co-ed groups
  • How men choose which men are in their group
  • Why boys ostracize “feminine” boys but welcome “tomboy” girls into their groups
  • Why boys are obsessed with rules and rule making
  • How girls compete with other girls
  • How the environment affects these innate social tendencies in boys and girls
  • What parents and educators can do with Joyce’s research on the differences between how boys and girls socialize
  • And much more!

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast


Warriors and Worriers is a fascinating book that provides some useful insights that complement well our series about manhood as well as our series on status.

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