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Abstract

Several scholars have argued that men and women are socialized to establish interpersonal relationships, such as friendships, in different ways. Traditionally feminine individuals emphasize empathy, self-disclosure, and interdependence while masculine individuals rely on activities, helping behaviors, and advice/problem-solving. In spite of these differences, basic communication courses have provided students with only a model of traditionally feminine closeness skills in coursework and materials. This study sought to determine if, after 16 weeks of instruction in a basic communication course emphasizing feminine intimacy skills, male students would prefer masculine closeness behaviors. Three-hundred and seventy-three male and female students provided self-report data on the course and perceptions of relational closeness. Results indicated that male and female students did have differing perceptions of relational intimacy. Additionally, male students did indicate a preference for some of the traditionally masculine intimacy behaviors. Limitations and suggestions for future research are provided.