Hi all, first-time poster here. It seems like that many of you are really serious about having close male friendships, as am I, so I thought I would ask for your opinion on something here.
Just a bit of background, me and my best friend are 29 years old. (We're both guys). We met each other in high school. Although I went out-of-state for college and he stayed home, we somehow managed to grow our friendship. Now, I'm back home, and he's actually moved about an hour's drive away, and so it's not like we can hang out everyday, but we do hang out once a month to get together and talk. And I mean that we're in the stage of our friendship where we can talk openly about most things, how we feel, the stuff that goes beyond mere "guy talk" about sports or girls.
For the past five years, he's been living with his girlfriend (I'm single). Back in May (so a few months ago), he got engaged, with his wedding next year. But it's already starting to feel that he and I have started drifting apart. I'm his best man, but now we hang out less than once a month -- and when we do, it's much less time than before. We also hardly talk on the phone anymore, whereas before, sometimes we would talk for an hour (our record is 1hr 40mins!).
I am happy for him, of course. I also know that he's busy with new priorities, which includes his fiance/wife. And I understand that once he gets married, things will change -- and that our friendship will change. But I'm starting to feel like he and I are starting to drift apart.
My question is, should I talk to him about it? I mean, I'm not saying he shouldn't get married or anything like that. But I mean talking to him about how I feel where our friendship is going, and how I hope it won't drift apart. We've always been able to talk about feelings (like deaths in family, regrets in life, etc.) -- but never openly about how we feel about each other. Our friendship is important to me. I know it is to him too, but I just feel like that he's "forgetting" it, even if it is unintentionally.
I am no expert.
I am, however, married. My time spent hanging with the guys has dropped. _Especially_ after we got babies. I set the priorities, and taking care of babies and hanging with the wife do take precedence.
But I still want friends, and I still want to spend some guy time.
So I think it's natural that you're seeing less of him... and likely that he's not intentionally distancing himself -- just busy. It's the price of family.
Hi Will, thanks for your response.
Yes, I do know that our friendship will change and that we won't spend time together as often as we currently do (or previously did) after he gets married. I understand that, and it's a part of life... and friendships and marriages.
I guess I just feel, right now, that we are spending less time (which again I know is expected), but I fear that we're not going to just spend less time, but actually grow apart. This is what I'm ultimately scared of, and don't want. I don't think he wants it too.
Thank you, Carl, for your wonderful and encouraging response.
Yes, I'm a bit "younger" in the sense I'm not in a relationship right now, whereas my best friend is. And so, it is quite a difficult time for me, even though I am supportive and am happy for him. After all these years, I think we both know we value each other's friendship, but I guess sometimes, like now, it just gets overshadowed with other stuff.
I'll be sure to talk to him about it. I don't mind getting together less (heck, when I was in college, we only hung out once every four months), but marriage is the biggest change of all, and I just fear that if we don't talk about it, we won't care what's going to happen, and that will mean eventually we'll drift apart.
Again thanks, Carl.
You wrote: ...But I mean talking to him about how I feel where our friendship is going, and how I hope it won't drift apart. We've always been able to talk about feelings (like deaths in family, regrets in life, etc.) -- but never openly about how we feel about each other. Our friendship is important to me. I know it is to him too, but I just feel like that he's "forgetting" it, even if it is unintentionally."
Eugene, most people who have deep friendships already know that there is affection between or amongst the participants without ever saying a word regarding the friendship. But, in my experience, at least for me, I want the other person to hear me say, "I really love you and am so grateful for your friendship. You have meant a lot to me over the years and I just wanted you to know it." Sometimes this is hard to get out of one's mouth since there is a perceived risk of some sort
Incidentally, just the other morning I called my friend, "Jeff," to ask him to keep me in mind since my wife and I were asked to play for the funeral of a long-time and very dear friend (that funeral was today). We are trained musicians and have great skill as musicians, but this funeral was to be of particular difficulty. "Jeff" assured me of his prayers. We continued to talk regarding some issues he is facing. As we were about to end the conversation, I quickly blurted out, "Jeff, if I've said it before, I'm saying it again--thanks for your friendship and I love you. You have been a big help to me over the past three years, and I really appreciate it. "
I have a host of siblings--all brothers. As we have aged, I've become very close to several of them. I routinely let them know my love for them. There will be a time when one of us will die and I want to make sure that I've told them of my affection now and not later when I couldn't tell them. The same goes for my grown children and now, grandchildren. Some may be uncomfortable with my effusive expressions of love and affection (I'm not Italian, by the way.), but they eventually get used to it. We only have today to live. So, why not live intentionally instead of haphazardly and with no real progressive purpose?
Thanks for bringing this topic to AoM. It is one that is dear to my heart and touches me at the core of who I am. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels and acts this way. I've met some pretty swell guys on this site and only wish that the barrier of cyberspace could be lifted and we all could meet face to face. The challenge with that is that, then, we each would have to deal with the real lacks and deficits of quirky personalities. But, I say--BRING IT ON, since this is the real stuff of life that seeds reality into one's soul.
Not that I had a whole lot of close friends to begin with (I always had tendency to have a lot of acquaintances but few true friends), but since I got married, my friends are all through my wife it seems. She finds a girlfriend and by default I try to become friends with her husband. Now, this doesn't work out nearly as often as I'd like but that is about as far as my friendships go. Outside of group gatherings I rarely go somewhere just to hang out with the guys. This is something that I should really change, actually.
You already know the reasons for less time with your buddy, and that will be the trend for a long time due to his responsibilities as a husband and perhaps later as a father. Several have given you good advice. I only reiterate their advice with a couple examples from my own life so that you can see that it is possible and highly recommended that you stay in touch.
Eugene, keep at it for the reasons you already know. Don’t let this one slide. You’ll be the winner along with your buddy if you keep at it. The old saying is still true, at least in my life:
“Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold"
Thats part of a Girl Guide song, my girlfriend loves singing them and i olny just realised the meaning just then.
Not sure how it works in America, but we have Scouts ( boys and Girls) and Girl Guides (girls only). Same thing they just make more cakes and cookies.