I've definitely fallen into the competition trap, or at least not wanting to admit my mistakes. But one day I realized that my pride was only getting in the way of my healing; that I needed a friend to turn to.
The funny thing is that I was so certain that the "bombshell" was going to ruin my friendship; but sometimes exposing our weaknesses make us stronger. "Friends multiple joy and divide sorrows." I'm very blessed and thankful for those deeper male friendships, those who don't run away when our spotless illusion fades.
In the end, most of us seem to be going through the same things anyway.
I am new here. I hope I'm not rehashing an old topic, but I came upon this post and I found it extremely intriguing and personally meaningful. I'm (almost) 30, and have been good friends with a buddy, Brian, since high school. We went to separate colleges (in separate states), and even now we live a part (but not that far away), but we managed to keep in touch and strengthened our friendship, to the point where I'm his best man for his upcoming wedding.
I guess, because I'm almost 30 (he's the same age) and I'm single, I can't help but ask whether "life" will get in the way. We each have jobs, he's getting married, maybe soon he will have kids. I hope to be in a relationship soon myself. But I can't help but think what our friendship would be like. It seems like life is moving us into different directions.
And that's life -- I completely understand that, but it's so hard to accept. There are other "friends" who I could not talk to often and be absolutely fine with it. But because Brian and I have been so close in our formative years, it saddens me to wonder and question what our friendship will be like in a few years' time.
To those who are older than me and have some experience with maintaining meaninful male friendships even with other life obligations -- may I ask, how do you do it? Some of you may not care about friendships, but for those who do, what has been your struggles? What would you do differently? What would you advise someone like me, in my position, to pursue or avoid, in order to keep my friendships alive and healthy in my 30s and beyond?
Fantastic. I was much like you in university with an exception, of course. My ethics and such conflicted with so many others who were more interested in partying, getting slammed and laid than becoming men. I went through my share of man-friends, many were short-lived, a few lasted a year or so.
I had one friend through the whole damned thing -- one. He was Chipewyan (a native tribe), with a fierce love of nature, tranquility and the finer things he could get in life in moderation. The school I attended was located in a town with many hiking trails. We occasionally ventured off the trails with nothing but a couple oat bars, our harmonicas and a compass. We tracked animals -- even ran into a coyote a few times. We'd stop at nice spots over a river or something and play a tune on the harps. The first time this happened, I didn't know he brought one as well, and I was in awe.
We didn't talk profusely. He enjoyed silence and frankly, so did I. When we did talk, it was usually about something of philosophical nature... or girls (we were still in our 20s, c'mon). He once told me that he and other boys would beat each other up for fun on the reserve, where he was from. So I challenged him to a scrap for fun, coming from a physical childhood myself... sadly, we got banned from the bar which witnessed our stunt.
Today, he is old as I, has a family going and is thousands of kilometers away. We keep in touch over letters and a rare Skype when he wants to see "how ugly I've gotten since he last saw me." We still confide in eachother the miscellaneous things that occur in our lives. It is important to have a friend like that, above all. It has helped through so much.
Wow, what a wonderful experience you had, and continue to have with your friend.
Thanks so much for sharing. I had a friend like that, but it was in libraries and museums where we spent our time, and he didn't drink, so I never was in a bar with the guy.
And we've not kept in touch, so I'm glad to see you did not make the same mistake.
Yes those were the days! We didn't drink much in the bars. We mostly observed others' conduct which fueled our conversations, again, about ethics and such.
Keeping in touch is a challenge with all that's going on. Taxes need to be managed, weddings attended (even planned, God forbid), house renovated, work, etc. It's hard to sit down for an evening and fire off a letter. It's certainly worth it no matter its inconvenience.
That "mistake" can easily be turned around. It's never too late to get back in touch. I've done that with a couple other friends recently. It's hit and miss. One may be completely different and have no interest in rejuvenating a friendship -- another may be the opposite.
Maybe you can't find the person's contact info or whatever. Social networks and the like help with this, though I prefer phonebooks and word-of-mouth. If you contact them first, they should already be aware of some effort you put in to find them. If they can't be bothered to return any favour, then they're not worth it anyway. Time goes on.
That's my 2 cents anyway.
Very interesting post. I love it! I can relate to the reasons why guys tend to not be close. I can't think of any male friends that I would put into the close category. I tend to keep most people at least part of an arm length's away. My tendency toward motivation is a fear of rejection, being vulnerable and being hurt, or become to codependent. As a man who is sexually attracted at times to other men (but almost always emotionally attracted) and doesn't want to be, things can get really complicated. I subtext a lot of my thoughts and actions as being sexual, even when they aren't.
Anyways, I've always wanted a close guy friend. I came close to having a stable one with another guy, but things got rocky and went through a sort of 'break up'. Pretty painful and I don't think I'm ready to risk that again.
Great article in the spirit of your original post and addressing similar concerns: