Where would we be without our friends? Lost. Lonely. Sad. Bored. Quoting Broad City to ourselves. Worried that we might be the only ones who find Conan O’Brien, like, disconcertingly sexy.
While the topic of adult female friendship has gotten quite a bit of attention in recent years, male friendships have been mostly overlooked, leaving a lot of guys to deal with these exact issues without the support of a loyal, loving friend group.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, there are a number of barriers to male friendship that women don’t necessarily have to deal with.
First and foremost are the different cultural expectations we place on men and women. Women are taught and expected to be social, emotionally open, and to draw people out — AKA the exact qualities that create strong connections and keep friendships going strong. Men, on the other hand, are taught not to show their vulnerability in the form of emotional honesty, which makes it tough to form deep connections.
One super surprising obstacle to deeper friendships for men? Strong marriages. These days, many men prioritize their marriage both intimately and socially — they consider their wife to be their best friend and spend all their social time and energy on their marriage, possibly at the expense of outside friendships.
In addition, men today tend to want to be more involved fathers, great husbands, and successful in their career. Basically, they want to “have it all,” and in the process of spreading themselves so thin, friendships — which take time to nurture and develop — accidentally fall by the wayside.
Even if this isn’t the best news, it’s awesome that we’re finally talking about this issue and that adults of both genders are beginning to understand the non-negotiable importance of deep, genuine friendships.