"Don't you know that men and women can't be just friends?"
I didn't really have any close male friends until after college and struggled with it even after that, largely because of this popular belief. As a woman in an extremely male-dominated field, this meant not being invited to study sessions, beers after work, feeling isolated, alone, without those crucial referrals, without support others got.
This seemed especially wrong to me as a bisexual person. If I'm not allowed to be friends with genders I could potentially be attracted to... can I have no friends?
Now I run a business with a good friend who happens to also be a man.
I'm also a part of some very supportive communities of men and women.
It makes me realize just how backwards previous social groups had been for me.
Many computer scientists are poor at analyzing how social interactions impact their code and their professional lives, and I strongly believe this results in code that is poorer and less innovative than it could be.
I'd like to see more people outside our social circles challenging us. Artists, UX researchers, designers, product managers. More people from different backgrounds and experiences. More welcoming beginners. Are we even solving the right problem? Is there another creative angle we could be seeing this from?
There's a lot of talk on improving our teams, improving diversity, improving culture at work and in our society.
We should start by looking at who we're friends with.
Develop a network of friends that reflects the kind of company and society you want to be a part of. Interdisciplinary, diverse, kind-hearted, different backgrounds and experiences.