Friday, March 20, 2009

Guys in search of BFFs

I will admit this is something I haven't given much thought: Men have trouble finding friends, too.

That's what the new comedy "I Love You, Man" is about. The main character is getting married and he realizes he's not close enough to any guy to ask him to be his best man. So he goes on the hunt for a new best friend. (My first thought was, "ask your best female friend to stand up for you instead," but then there would be no movie, right?) I saw the trailer and it did highlight some of the difficulties -- with the inevitable moment where the main character is out with a guy and the dude lays a kiss on him at the end of their "date" (whoops!) -- but the flick looks to be all fluff.

A more substantive discussion of the problem is the recent Salon.com essay by Ryan Blitstein, "Couple seeking couple for good time."

"Until recently, I thought of myself as different, especially when it came to maintaining friendships with other men," Ryan writes. "I am not afraid to ask a guy out on a so-called man-date. I don't need to use SportsCenter or an action movie or an indie rock show to overpower the supposed latent homoeroticism that some men attribute to one-on-one male socializing. I'm as comfortable talking about relationships with another dude as I am arguing about politics. But it seems the older I get, the harder it is to find new people to engage in these conversations."

His problem is a common one as more people move from state to state, often coast to coast, for jobs. Ryan relocated to Chicago to be closer to family and his girlfriend. The couple has plenty of friends, just none nearby. Neither has an office job, and they're having trouble building a new social circle.

"... My girlfriend and I have embarked on a process akin to a platonic version of dating. Parties, for us, resemble nothing so much as speed-dating events. We search for friends of either sex, sending garbled nonverbal signals back and forth, waiting to gush about our new same-sex and opposite-sex crushes on the train ride home. I search for wedding rings on the fingers of women I like -- not because I'm hoping they're single, but because I'm hoping they're not, and that maybe their husbands will be willing to double date."

Finding people you'd like to spend more than 5 minutes at a party with is a challenge. But knowing there are others out there, engaged in the same activity, is heartening.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is totally true. My husband- who had tons of guy friends in college- has had a really difficult time meeting new friends since we moved here a few years ago. Its way easier for a girl to strike up a conversation with another girl at the Y, in a store, etc than a guy. And I think that once guys have a core group of friends, its harder for new guys to join.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I also can attest to the difficulty you can have in making new friends, men or women, when you move cities (or states) and telecommute.

Both my husband and I work from home, and we were always the types who made new friends in the workplace. You have to make more of an effort to form outside interests (soccer games, book clubs, etc) just to come into contact with new people.

Anonymous said...

Best place for me has been in church. I work in the car care ministry where like minded guys repairs widows and single Moms cars for free(some great guys of all ages wtih good hearts) and than there are other events such as helping people from the shelter and collecting goods (many sources) to deliver to the poor in many states.

All these activities have allowed me to get down and dirty,sweat, and just brings all the guys into a similar spot where you get to know the REAL person,figure out their sense of humor etc etc.

Prior to this I complained "I didn't really know anyone" now when I go to church it is like a family reunion with hearty handshakes and even some hugs from a few who have experienced some real heart warming moments from those we have served.

I recommend it highly, MUCH better than playing church and if you aren't a Bible thumper (definitely not me either) you can at least offer to give back with a pure heart and we have always ended up feeling more blessed than those we are trying to help, and NOW I have BUDDIES!

God ROCKS!

Anonymous said...

This is very true. I have relocated to Charlotte and it has been difficult finding guy friends. I don't know if it is a culture difference or what. But I don't have the core group that I did at home.

bond, james bond said...

real men dont need "buddies', ever heard the old saying "all my buddies eat shi* and run rabbits"? thats right, theyre called dogs.

Anonymous said...

Bond..James Bond

Tuff GUY! heh heh

Legend in his own mind. One day you might wish you weren't so self absorbed and reached out to others before you ended up yelling at neighborhood kids to git off yer lawn ha ha

Chill dude

bond, james bond said...

im not self absorbed, i just dont need "buddies" to "complete me". maybe youre just insecure and you "need" buddies. thats okay too.

Anonymous said...

There is a narrow window of opportunity in life for men where you make the friends that you can truly count on and who will be there for you the rest of your life. I have 2. These friendships were forged right after high school when we all had a common purpose of meeting girls and other mutual interests. Even though we're all grown and in relationships, and let a lot of those other interests go we are still close. There are just things you have to experience together young in life (heartache, relationship troubles, work related troubles, loss of family, and having good times together) that forges the bond and tests these friendships, making them "proven".
Guys can easily find drinking/partying acquaintances, but it's much harder to open up to other guys when you haven't done the ground work that makes them strong.

bond, james bond said...

deep thoughts.....not! get a dog.

Anonymous said...

Guys don't need to collect friends like you broads do. We have a few really close pals and that's it.

bond, james bond said...

finally...another real man.

Anonymous said...

All men are real, Bond. If you don't need a buddy, fine. But your criticism of other men is getting way off the topic here. The article was intended for men who, for whatever reason, don't have a close buddy and would like one. If this doesn't apply to you, leave the rest of us alone and comment elsewhere.

Masturbation Saves Lives said...

I have a variety of relationships with guys, depending on what our common interests are. I'm kind of shy and often make myself ask a guy if he wants to do something. Sometimes things happen.

Anonymous said...

where is the 'best' cup of coffee in town?
The guys or 'buddies' will be there before work, mid morning, lunch, afternoon or evening talking about everything from what line of work they are in to the weather.
Lots of interesting knowledge about all sorts of areas I have found while I wait for my coffee and listen or enjoy the just being friendly talk. Today after years of doing this wherever I live, I have lots of good friends or 'buddies' as you call it. Sometimes we get referrals or network or work even. We help one another with projects, suggestions or share our knowledge of expertise. Nothing like real good buddies I say along with that 'best' cup of coffee to start out or end the day.
Imagine that in today's world though, with all the ways of communications.....facebook, text, emails, cell phones, twitter, internet.
Just stop regularly for that 'best' cup of coffee in town. What I always find there waiting for me.... friendly people if I am friendly.. lots of 'buddies' to listen and talk to as we become good friends.
So just where is that 'best' cup of coffee in town?