Thursday, October 8, 2009

Andrew Parkes - Dear Men: I Struggle . . . with Male Friendships

Many men struggle with male friendships. Most of us have buddies, but are they real friends? Can we share our deepest selves with them? Our fears, our dreams? Often not, at least not among the men I know.

[As a side note, Andrew and Tripp need to work out who gets to call their site the New Man - both are using the phrase, granted Tripp's is a podcast.]

Taking it all in...

Taking it all in...

Dear Men: I Struggle… with male friendships.

I struggle with making new friends - sometimes I judge potential friends incorrectly. Other times, I just don’t want to put myself out there - there is a part of me that is shy and withdrawn when meeting people for the first or second time.

I struggle with developing existing friendships – I never seem to get around to doing this despite my best intentions.

I struggle with being ‘inconvenienced’ by a friend or potential friend – if you call me right now to grab a coffee at Starbucks, I will probably say no because I didn’t plan for it in advance (I am working on being more spontaneous.)

I struggle with including friends in things happening in my life – I usually just do it and then think about including people afterwards.

I struggle with putting enough effort into friendships – I don’t seem to make time for friendships unless where we are meeting, when we are meeting, and what we are doing fits into my schedule, under my own terms.

I struggle with staying in touch enough or on a regular basis. I don’t know what a lot of my friends from high school and university are doing right now because I haven’t put in the effort to stay connected with them.

I struggle with friends that keep our relationship at a surface level.

I struggle with the question: ‘How many of my friends would I feel comfortable calling at 3 AM for support if I was in a crisis situation?’

I struggle with this question: ‘How many of my friends would call me at 3 AM?’

I struggle with wondering how many of my friends truly know me.

Above all, I know I need male friendships and that I can be a good friend. I am just not good at them.

Dear Men: I Struggle. And I know you do, too.

Check out his site for more good content, or to contact him for coaching.

I can relate all too well to much of this. I too am not spontaneous, and am more than a little shy (social anxiety kind of shy). So I feel him here.

But I also know that working on developing a friendship, even just one, over the last year has been very good for me. He and I met as trainer and client, but he lost his job at one point and since I liked him, I offered to work out with him from time to time. Now we work out several days a week.

I've seen him get married and have children. If I needed help moving, I could call him and he would do it, even if it sucked.

I don't know about the 3 am call, though - I don't know anyone other than my girlfriend that I would call in that situation. But that has more to do with who I am than with friendships.

But seriously - how do you make and maintain male friendships? Leave a note in the comments, please.

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