Have you ever noticed that men rarely have close friends? And we’re not counting shallow friendships here, but the strong, deep ones. Somehow women almost always have a very close bff, or even several close friends, but we don’t. Why is that, I wonder? Maybe we can learn a thing or two from the ladies. I’ve been studying my fiancee, who has close friends that she’s known since her childhood, and trying to learn from her.
One thing I learned from her is that we guys are scared of closeness and intimacy. Yes, yes, I know, intimacy doesn’t sound masculine at all, and after all we are men, are we not? But being intimate just means you’re able to be honest about who you are and what you feel. And that brings us to feelings – another thing men are scared of. So in order to be intimate, you first have to be honest with yourself about your feelings, and then you have to be honest with your friend about them. So that’s two big hurdles we have to cross before any closeness can happen. It’s much easier to make a few wise cracks and stay on the safe side of the road. But I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think it’s worth the effort to cross those hurdles and achieve intimacy.
The second thing I learned from her is that women usually have lots of different relationships, and put effort and energy into many of those, whereas we guys maintain the bare minimum, sometimes just focusing on our wife/girlfriend. Once we get “hitched” it’s quite common to lose touch with our childhood friends and buddies. But the important thing to remember here is that each relationship allows you us express a different part of ourselves, or to be a ‘different person,’ so to speak. So if we just focus on our love partner, we lose touch with other parts of ourselves that need to be expressed in order to be emotionally healthy and happy.
The great thing is that once we become aware of this male habit, it’s not so hard to change it, if that’s what we really want. Just spend more time engaging with other guys at work, at sports, or go for a drink at a regular bar. You’ll find there are plenty of other guys who appreciate spending time with you, and sooner rather than later some of them will become your friends. And remember, you can be a totally different person with your male friends, so look for that and enjoy it. Enjoy being different than at home with your honey bunny. One of my favorite quotes is: “You drink too much. You cuss too much. You have questionable moral standards. You’re everything I always wanted in a friend.” (Quotereel).
The great thing is: this isn’t work, it’s fun. But at the same time we’re actually doing something very important, and that’s getting in touch with our feelings and our inner being as a man. You’ll find it’s not only fun, but it’ll make you feel more balanced and happy with the rest of your life, be it at work, or at home with your wife or girlfriend. If you haven’t done that for a while, it might require a little work to get your wife to accept the fact that you won’t be spending all of your free time with her. Just make sure she understands your reasons, and that your ability to commit to your relationship with her will actually be strengthened by spending time with guy friends.
If you work on being honest and open with your male friends, it’ll help you do the same with your love partner at home. If you’re not used to doing that, it might take some practice, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The ability to be honest about challenging feelings is amazing, because it allows you and your partner to experience each other as you really are, and that’s intimacy at it’s finest.
Women have fought for centuries to achieve gender liberation and equal opportunity, but guys seem to have dropped the ball lately. Maybe it’s time we started moving forward and learning a thing or two from the girls on how to value and enjoy more than one close friendship at time. The wonderful thing is, there are plenty of other guys out there who are all in the same predicament, so it’s not hard to find them.