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Something every man needs more of, but won’t ask for: friends

Posted by / December 25, 2013

Active seniors, group of old friends playing cards at park

I recently made friends with a guy I met at a party. This seems weird to say, but I was actually excited about it because I don’t have a lot of male friends. What’s even weirder is that people made fun of me for making a new guy friend! I was feeling a little isolated, but then I read this Salon article about the American male’s secret crisis: his lack of same sex friends. Look at this:

In an effort to understand why men’s friendships are less intimate than women’s, psychologist Niobe Way interviewed boys about their friendships in each year of high school. She found that younger boys spoke eloquently about their love for and dependence on their male friends. In fact, research shows that boys are just as likely as girls to disclose personal feelings to their same-sex friends and they are just as talented at being able to sense their friends’ emotional states.

But, at about age 15 to 16 — right at the same age that the suicide rate of boys increases to four times the rate of girls — boys start reporting that they don’t have friends and don’t need them. Because Way interviewed young men across each year of high school, she was able to document this shift. One boy, Justin, said this in his first year, when he was 15:

[My best friend and I] love each other… that’s it… you have this thing that is deep, so deep, it’s within you, you can’t explain it. It’s just a thing that you know that person is that person… I guess in life, sometimes two people can really, really understand each other and really have a trust, respect and love for each other.

By his senior year, however, this is what he had to say about friendship:

[My friend and I] we mostly joke around. It’s not like really anything serious or whatever… I don’t talk to nobody about serious stuff… I don’t talk to nobody. I don’t share my feelings really. Not that kind of person or whatever… It’s just something that I don’t do.

Full story at Salon.

More man stuff.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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