A man I know recently told me he made his first new friend in 15 years. When I ask people what they think about this, reactions range from “If he has good friends, why does he need more?” to “So what?” to “Ugh. I haven’t made a new friend in that long.”
The man from the story said he was surprised it has been so long, and noted he has strong friendships from his hometown, about a one-hour drive from where he lives today.
He is not alone. Other men I have talked with lately do have friends from growing up, but few have made many friends during adulthood. Why is that? What does that say about men today? What is to be done?
When I’ve asked men — including myself — why they have not made new friends as adults, I hear this:
- Building and establishing a career takes a lot of time & energy (leaving less time to build friendships)
- Raising a family puts enormous demands on a man’s time (and, to be fair, that of his wife, too … still, leaving little margin to build friendships)
- Conversation with other guys while my child(ren) are at school functions, practice, etc. is brief, irregular, and often interrupted
- It can be scary to meet men in a new situation, especially apart from work
- Churches are struggling to engage & connect men
Right about now is usually the place in a blog post where the writer provides a list of tips to fix the dilemma at hand. In this case, how to make adult friends. I am no expert on that subject, and I do not have quick fixes to offer. But, I do have a few questions for this dilemma, which seems to apply to many of us:
- What is at risk for you and I to make new friends?
- Getting out of our daily routine?
- Getting out of our comfort zone? For example, asking another guy to shoot pool or have coffee can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar.
- Asking for advice or help? This is hard for me to do, especially with things around the house.
- Admitting that we’d *like* to have a buddy/buddies to hang out with?
- Put another way, what is the payoff for keeping things just the way they are?
- Perhaps we don’t have to be disappointed or embarrassed when we ask someone to hang out, and he doesn’t want to. (by the way, this has happened to me more than once)
- We can avoid acknowledging that we’d like to have a buddy/buddies to hang out with?
- We don’t have to confront the fear that you don’t really know how or where to make friends. Oh, and reading this blog didn’t help with that, either.
What do you think? Do guys need good friends? What gets in *your* way?
– By Jason Bachman
Jason completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2010. He has staffed and volunteered at The Crucible Project ever since. His mission is to create a world of authentic community where people speak the truth and accept each other. Jason works as a solution consultant for a global firm, and lives in the Chicago suburbs.