Might just be me, but I've found that the title of this article is really true. What do you think?
The way I see it, there are different levels of friendship:
1. Acquaintances-- You know them enough to recognize them at Walmart, if your memory is decent, or you may get in touch with them via social media. You may or may not want to actually greet them, since it could be slightly awkaward. The number of these that you have is of no consequence.
2. Casual Friends-- You might know them well enough to invite them to weddings and parties. May stop by their house to visit. Good to have as many as possible.
3. Brother/ Sister-type friends-- Confidants, advisors, the people who help you out in a pinch. Three tops.
I think men lack in the third tier.
Agreed, Pale Horse.
Read most of it, but when he started going on about his buddies, and then his dad's buddies I stopped paying attention because he was not speaking me but to other, "normal" men.
I don't know about others, but I do know that I suck at friendship.
I don't have the skill set to buddy up to guys, it has always eluded me and continues to do so.
Lately I've been accepting it more, and even chuckle at that fact sometimes.
I'll take laughing over crying any day!
I have allot of acquaintances and casual friends but have strayed away from getting buddies. Every time I get some good buddy friends our orders change ,and either they move or I move to another duty station. When I was younger and lived in the barracks it was easier but for married men who have children the buddy thing does not fit well into their lives. Men do suck at being friends.
Your statement does not support the last sentence at all; how does your situation changing have anything to do with men sucking at being friends?
Your life situation aside, you sound like you have no problem making buddies. Count yourself lucky!
I will counter this by saying that, if you actually try, or give a shit, you'll make some of the best friends in the military. Do I talk as often to the friends I've made during my time in the Army, now that Im out? No. But the true friends that I made while in, I can call up anytime, because they understand.
Obviously, now that I'm no longer in the military, I have to find "civilian friends" but to say that just because you move alot makes it hard/impossible to have friends/buddies is bullshit.
There was a song that came out in the late 90s that I think was called Sunscreen. The song was originally given as a high school graduation address and contained a lot of what I consider to be useful tips for living a good life. One of my very favorite verses in the song says, "Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few, you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle; for as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young." I am approaching 40 now, and despite my best efforts to stay in touch with friends in my past, the efforts have not been reciprocated much at all. But I often long for a close male friend or two that know me and my past and with whom I could talk things over, especially now that I'm a new Dad and my life has changed much in the last few years. I know it is possible for guys to maintain those connections, but the reasons why they don't are far beyond me. One of my favorite biblical stories is that of Jonathan and David in The Old Testament. The bond those two guys had and the lengths they went to for each other should be (and certainly are for me) the ideal role model for strong and healthy male friendship. I am working to build and maintain the few relationships with guys that I do have, but no men from my past remain a part of my life, and it's not for a lack of effort from me. My greatest hope is that when and if I have boys of my own that I'll be able to teach them how it works by my own example and my love for them.
I am glad I read the whole thing, even if I don't fit the profile, since it was educational to see that my long-held belief that marriage would make me happier and more fulfilled, has a few holes in it. I just thought it was me, since my father never modelled the process, but instead, how to avoid friendship. The crazy pace we are living at, and being required to pepper our days with cell phones and text messages and e-mails, leaves us so fragmented that any coherent relationship would be a marvel. Time is my main issue now, and second is money. Activities are not cheap, generally, nor is transportation.
I think we should not be so hard on ourselves for sucking at keeping x number of friends. Perseverance, chemistry, common interests and short-term relationships may help us survive. But yes, even a long term acquaintance who knew me half my life ago, earns interest, so to speak. The danger for me is always in taking it personally if there is a drought. Any way you look at it, its a fluid process, and being open is vital.
Well said Tim.
Tim, amen to that.
A few years ago, after becoming aware that I was starving for male company, I sent an email to someone who was an acquaintance over a decade ago. He had asked me on a canoe trip together, and I have never forgot his kindness in doing so.
He not only answered my mail, he agreed to go canoeing again after so long.
Since then we see each other very sporadically; he's kinda far away. We do keep in email contact a little more. I wonder if he is in the same boat as I am, but I am too chicken to ask.
In my experience, I have found it to be true that most men really do suck at friendship in a big way. I don't pretend to understand why or have a grasp on all the personal and social issues and pressures that may or may not be contributing to it, but I do believe it is a big problem, and one that need not exist. One of my brothers-in-law told me, when he came to visit last year, that the way he sees it, men just quit trying to maintain any old male friendships and make no effort to forge any new ones after marriage. This came after I mentioned how much I wish I had more guy friends myself. His advice was not to waste the time or effort. I couldn't, and still can't, accept that. I come to this site and read some new message, seamingly every single day, about how lonely and empty that guy's or this guy's life is for lack of some healthy, normal, male friends and/or how so many guys don't seam comfortable showing or expressing their masculinity or are very confused as how to be men at all in a social and personal sense. I've not been married that long, but I feel the need for close male friends now more than I ever did when I was single. My marriage is very happy and fulfilled to be sure, but I think every man really does need a close male buddy or two. Of the three classifications of guy friends that Pale Horse listed above, I have none of the first, maybe 3 or 4 of the second, and absolutely none of the third. My class 2 friends are good guys, but for one reason or another, we don't have a whole lot of the important things in common. I had two friends growing up that I considered cloce, and of those two, none are in my life any more. The loss of one in particular still hurts even now because we had so much in common and understood each other so well, or at least, I thought we did. I still, to this day, do not know why he chose to end all contact with me. We live in the same city and there's no good reason for it, but all efforts to reach out to him have fallen on deaf ears. If I was to blame, I would accept the responsability without hesitation, but I am certain I was not to blame in any way. But, I digress. All I know is that something is missing. Something good has rotted or decayed or vanished or sieced to be that should be an important and meaningful part of our lives as men.