There have indeed been several articles and talk shows exploring this topic over the past several years, but they seem to have had little impact on the overall state of affairs when it comes to friendships between men. In the past, expert opinion has offered several theories/reasons for why so many men struggle to establish and maintain valuable, close relationships with other men.
It is believed that certain men, such as those who were socially awkward during their youth or were bullied, are less likely to trust other men because of their past experiences. Society tells many men that becoming “too close” to others is inappropriate, they consider such behavior unacceptable, unmanly, or possibly homosexual, we are psychologically conditioned to refrain from such intimate behavior due to the prevalence of homophobia in our culture.
Men need real friendships – I emphasize the word “real” here. Most men have their drinking buddies, golf buddies, and poker buddies, but few have genuine, deep friendships. There is nothing wrong with referring to your wife/spouse as your only true friend, but it is also somewhat limiting, perhaps even problematic, to view your spouse as your only confidant. Even the men’s so-called male buddies often withdraw from the hearts of those going through a painful divorce. There have been countless stories of men who have gone through painful divorces without anyone to talk to.
By the old saying, “no man is an island,” there is no doubt that a lot of men have too few, if any, real male friends, as many psychologists, psychotherapists, and mental health experts have concluded. As the middle years of their lives approach, people begin to realize what this means. For some men, it’s just the thing they’re looking for.
For some men, it is a factor in their lives they readily acknowledge, as well as a factor they wish to address. I would offer the following blunt advice to both groups of men: Fix it quickly!