Day 9 - Men with friends

I took the time to schedule calls with two male friends. We hadn't caught up in some time and it felt good to have a catch up call, for the sake of one.

We're not co-located, although, even when we were, we didn't make the time to meet, and converse about important things like family, challenges, recent aspirations, pitfalls. You know, solid conversations, ones that don’t revolve around the latest tv show, or sports what mostly seems surface level, comfortably tired “how’s the weather” arms length conversation.

There are arguments for small talk and its benefits, one of which is allowing people to engage with others without delving too deeply into what may be too personal, or as a form of protection for females from overtly aggressive males. I digress.

I’ve noticed that my interactions with male friends have petered out over time. It happens with female friends as well, but not as strongly. I remember wondering why my father had less friends as I grew older, a quick search for men and friendships, and there are a lot of anecdotes that say the same.

As we men age, we have less and less friends. Especially male friends. If you’re interested, there’s a book about it “Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships” by Geoffrey Greif. One point he makes is that men rely on “shoulder to shoulder” relationships and women enjoy “face to face” relationships. The distinction between the two being experiencing activities vs engaging in vulnerable and emotional exchanges in conversation. This leads to increased loneliness and poorer health. Arguably, leading to an earlier dance with the dirt.

For my part, I think I need to take my male friendships as seriously as a first date. Really think through the questions that will help me learn more about them, and really try to listen to what’s not being said.

Here’s the article I found:

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