I have a question as to how grown straight men show affection for each other.  I'm 25 Years old, and I grew up in a very lonely household.  I had no brothers, and my dad was always very cold.  I was always a quiet kid, and never made many friends. 

 

I've since "blossomed" and for the most part I've gotten over my social akwardness.  I've made many friends.  I have one very good friend, who is like a big brother to me.  I really enjoy his company, and I really do love him (As my brother, and yes, I'm straight).  I never learned how men show affection for eachother, and I find male affection akward. 

 

How do I tell a macho straight man that he is like my adopted brother, and that I love him, without it being akward for him?

 

Thanks!

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Just like you told us: "...he is like my adopted brother, and...I love him". My son had a friend, during high school, with whom he is still close. This guy calls my son "...the brother I never had". That says a lot.

You did a really good job telling us...seems like you already know how to express those feelings.

 

Wait for the right moment, then just say it.

I think it's about time to got acquainted with the term "bromance." Its a great feeling to know you have guys that totally have your back at all times, even more than a best friend. Let him know.

My family was dysfunctional and almost totally non-affectionate. I had to learn to display enough affection to encourage strong enough bonds to live up to my ideals of personal loyalty (which are high).

>> I never learned how men show affection for each other, and I find male affection akward.

Most men in most "western" cultures do. It's an artifact of a taboo on homosexuality, which ironically enough, only homosexuals would have ever been conscious of enough to have developed! (An observation, not a criticism...not bashing anyone...). In very "innocent", traditional societies, friends and relatives can be fairly affectionate. Every once in a while I see two men walking down the street hand in hand, and then it dawns on me "father and adult son" from another culture.

>>How do I tell a macho straight man that he is like my adopted brother, and that I love him, without it being akward for him? Ironically, a very masculine man often feels less awkward about it than less masculine men do: his high testosterone level produces feelings of self-confidence, and he doesn't obsess about his image. This is not universally true, but it's fairly consistent with my own observations. By the way..."losing yourself"...becoming less self-obsessed...opens the door to developing more depth of character...more personal warmth, charm, and charisma. Personally, I usually avoid the word "love" with friends of either gender, since the same word in English is used in many different contexts, including those both of you would feel uncomfortable with. One exception is to explicitly say "I love you like a brother" in the right context. The right context is not when you need to hear yourself saying it (that would be...awkward...), but because he needs to hear it because of a situation he's in.

When he's ever sick, lonely, depressed, in pain, heartbroken (eg, dumped), or otherwise distressed, then use the word freely and without reservation. He'll understand according to the context, and that's when he will need to hear it.

In all other circumstances, show fraternal feelings by using language of solidarity and encouragement.

"We're a team."
"I'm there for you, no matter what."
"I've got your back."
"I have every confidence in you."
"Keep your spirits up, Bud, that's what's important."
"Call me in an emergency. I'll be right there."

If "care" and "nurture" language is feminine, "encouragement" and "solidarity" language is masculine. Get into the habit of expressing encouragement and solidarity language until it starts feeling natural and you get a sense of when it's appropriate (use liberally, just make sure it sounds like something a peer would say, not a superior; it shouldn't sound patronizing).

Show pride, and not jealousy, in his accomplishments. This is important.

I shake hands on greeting (not just meeting for the first time), as I learned from Europeans, and "side hugs" on parting. Full hugs for hurt/pain/trauma/long absence or for that matter triumphs and joy like winning/weddings/great successes/new offspring.

You also have the option of getting drunk with him, then saying "I love you, you jerk." Or something like that.

With actions rather than words.

JB

I was going to say that, but I hear too many people expressing their regrets for never vocalizing their feelings for someone, especially after that person has died. (I turn 50 this year, I am starting to think about such things. )

Good observation.

"People" probably referring to men. Most women have no difficulty expressing feelings verbally; if they don't express them--they don't have them! Sometimes they don't even when they say they do!

I dunno if it is true, but I've heard it's because men's emotional centers in their brains are not wired as directly to their brains. Not sure about that. The emotional center is the limbic system which is very central to the brain. It's also known as the "chemical brain" because it floods your brain with mood-regulating chemicals that affect the whole brain. That's why when you are "flooded" with an emotion, it has such a huge impact on your thinking. Except, apparently, on the speech centers of the male brain.

I suspect more likely it is an image thing. Men are hard-wired to cultivate a "tough" image. In our human "one-dimensional" way of thinking, "tough" and "tender" don't go together.

Except they do. There's no logical reason why not. It is to your advantage to show loving tenderness to your kids, your spouse, your next-of-kin, and yes, your comrades (in the original pre-communist sense). And you should show toughness to anyone with thoughts of harming them. There is no contradiction. You have more than enough brain power to handle all the permutations. You can even be tough and tender-loving at the same time, like to young people heading down the wrong life-paths.

Flow. Act according to circumstances, not according to a one-dimensional self-image, that, chances are, SOMEONE ELSE, who doesn't have your best interests at heart, decided was good for you. Be your own man. ;-{)

I don't buy that men are emotionally stunted for not "expressing feelings" like women.  Nothing wrong with men doing things differently.  Women aren't the standard for a well-adjusted male display of emotion.

JB

I don't buy that men are emotionally stunted for not "expressing feelings" like women.

Neither do I. You probably heard that from someone else; it sounds like a common misandric slur. I accept both genders the way the are, and assume that there are functional reasons things are as they are. Male emotional suppression is probably a result of needing to be functional in a crisis.

My point has more to do with not behaving according to a self-image, especially if it's one you were conditioned to accept by someone else with interests in conflict with your own. The "Golem effect". I make a point of being self-defined especially to the extent of my own self-interests, and living up to as much of my full potential as I can. I can be more than some people would allow me to be.

Nothing wrong with men doing things differently.  Women aren't the standard for a well-adjusted male display of emotion.

I agree.

This is the sort of thing I am reacting to:

"I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He's just incapable of it."
-- Barbara Jordan; Former Congresswoman.

The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene, that is, it has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.

The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathizing or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can't relate to anything other than his own physical sensations. He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming. He is trapped in a twilight zone halfway between humans and apes, and is far worse off than the apes because, unlike the apes, he is capable of a large array of negative feelings -- hate, jealousy, contempt, disgust, guilt, shame, doubt -- and moreover, he is aware of what he is and what he isn't.

--Excerpted from SCUM Manifesto, Valerie Solanas

Those might be considered quotes from the lunatic fringe, except they're not. Women form voting blocks at large to put man-haters like Barbara Jordan, Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, and many others into office. SCUM Manifesto is all over the web; there must be hundreds or thousands of copies of it, with sycophantic commentary regarding its wisdom and value.

I don't think those beliefs are true; they're nothing but insults. I'm not going to live down to them, and the manner in which I don't live down to them is one of my own choosing.

PPFFTTT HAHAHAHAHAHA that was the most entertaining sudo-science I have ever read.

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