In my panic, I suddenly realized how much I loved my friend Jessica, and what an irreplaceable friend she was. Although I was the faster swimmer, I fell back to protect her. In the end, the "shark" proved to be imaginary. But not my deep emotional feelings for my friend. It felt great back on the beach, a little scared and laughing with the excitement of being alive. We looked into each other's eyes and Jessica spontaneously said," I love you!" "Love you too!" I replied. As I spoke, I realized just how gender-based my communication styles were. With women, I could be open, emotionally honest, and transparent. With male friends, it seemed impossible to express caring feelings no matter how deep the friendship was.