Men making friends

Guys have a lot of fun together.  Guys enjoy each other’s company.  Guys eat, drink, burp and so much more with each other.

But are they friends?

Google definition of friend

A friend is someone you share mutual affection with.  A confidant.  Intimacy is a part of friendship.

In our culture, too often authentic, meaningful friendship has been feminized.  Deep bonds between two people are reserved for female friends or for within a married couple. When one spouse dies, typically, women cope much better than men…they have established friendships with other women who will support them in their grief.  Often a man has lost his only confidante when he loses his spouse.

Men feel they have permission to have acquaintances…guys they play poker or basketball with.  They can laugh and watch TV together, but they aren’t as likely to share their lives with each other. They have pals, but not true friends.

Intimacy is an integral part of friendship.

And therein lies the rub.

Even the word…the thought of two men sharing intimately with others will give many a man the heebie-jeebies. There is the assumption of sexual overtones.  There is fear of being labelled soft, weak, a wuss, or a pussy. Guys will do whatever they can to work to be perceived as masculine in a culture that defines maleness as toughness.

If you’re a guy…if you got a bad performance review, or your wife was diagnosed with cancer, or your credit card debt was so high it was officially drowning you…is there a guy you share that with, that you would trust to hear your story?

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a framework that allowed men to be friends with each other?

Wouldn’t it be great if a guy who had no interest in sports had another means to hang out regularly with other guys?

I get that men will always be more likely to more often organize their friendships around activities…darts at the bar, the golf course, or guy’s poker night.  They aren’t as likely to sit in Starbucks for 3 hours reviewing many aspects of their lives with each other the way us women do.  But in amongst the fun activities, there needs to be a way to let each other into the stories of your lives, and know that you have each other’s back.  That when there comes a day when you don’t feel like playing, you can still call one of the guys up and spend time with him.

Poster by Brene Brown: Vulnerability is the birthplace of belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity

Here’s the kicker…in the 1000’s of pieces of data that Dr. Brené Brown has collected on vulnerability, there was not. one. single. occurrence. of a man being vulnerable that was not marked by courage.  

Vulnerability ALWAYS has courage as it’s flip side.

Brene Brown says that a person’s ability to be vulnerable is the greatest measure of courage.

It’s legit for one guy to hang out with another and realize that you love him.  Not a sexual thing.  But like a brother, or like a friend. If you’ve hung out with a guy since grade school and in your in your 30’s…you gotta love the guy…and don’t save telling him that until he’s lying in a casket at the funeral home which at the present time seems to be the only acceptable opportunity to express love between heterosexual men.

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