This chapter examines how initial interactions vary according to their gender composition; that is, whether the interaction involves two males, two females, or a male paired with a female. In general, the level of interactional involvement is greatest in the initial interactions of two females, intermediate in the male—female interactions, and least in male—male interactions. However, claims by previous writers that males are insensitive and unmotivated interaction partners are simply false, as the author's research findings show. And although certain misunderstandings probably do play a role in male—female interactions, hardly any gender differences are evident in these interactions, suggesting that previous claims regarding gender differences have been greatly exaggerated.
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