The first of two commentaries about groups. I've known for years that men and women behave differently at the work place as well as at home. The women I have worked with formed closer friendships than the males, but were also more likely to have major emotional scenes. We talk about each other, complain about each other, and tend to tell our grievances to everybody in the building except the person with whom we are having a problem. This is why my husband refers to women in the work place as "cats in a bag." Don't worry, I smack him.
Men seem to take things less personally and I have never heard one say that his feelings were hurt by another one or that this or that one is always leaving things on his desk or eating his crackers or stealing his pens.
My next observation is about men doing things like changing tires or working out. Have you ever witnessed this phenomenon? 3 men hover around the car. The fourth changes the tire while the other 3 watch and critique his performance, often whilst holding beers. If someone watching me change a tire had the temerity to offer criticism, I'd shove the tire iron where the sun doesn't shine, but men seem to enjoy this behavior. This is where my flash of insight came into the picture. This is why they don't implode at work, either!
I recently joined a gym. This is a unique opportunity for me to observe the behavior of the male animal in what used to be his own habitat. Like many other male hang outs, this one has been encroached upon by the female of the species. I discovered that men lift weights the same way they change tires, just minus the beer! One lifts while the other 2 or 3 stand there and watch and comment on his technique or talk about sports or their wives.
I concentrate on my weight lifting, enjoying the whole process of making my muscles stronger, then I take my shower, and go to work. I love hanging out with my friends. I go shopping, sit and knit, go to book discussion groups, or just sit around and drink wine, but I don't want them at the gym with me.