Friendship Further

I heard an NPR segment from the Hidden Brain the other day it is called, “Guys, We Have A Problem: How American Masculinity Creates Lonely Men” I would highly recommend giving it a listen. Even if you are not terribly interested in traditional gender roles and the inherent societal norms that come along with them, it is a fascinating piece.

It speaks to the traditional male friendship in America. Something that I am sure many males have felt. Male relationships are expected to look a certain way, we don’t show emotion, don’t tell one another we love or care about each other, and our only interests should be concerned with watching sports, working out, playing video games, and talking about girls or fast cars. This is what I received as a template for male friendships.

This attitude towards friendships can be very isolating. It creates situations where men have no friends, and often leaves very shallow relationships with the friends they do have. The domino effect this can have on an individual was astounding. Loneliness is a predecessor to a plethora of physical and mental health issues. Having strong friendships can literally extend your life, and as a culture we are smothering the ability of young men to create, strengthen, and keep male friends.

As always, I have no solutions. I think the best thing we can do is be aware, have conversations, and be vulnerable. This means that as humans we can make a point of sharing how much we care with our male friends. I have done this often in the past two or three years. I am becoming less apprehensive about it, however it is still hard for me to share with other men that I love them. I can say it has been well received from every friend I have given the opportunity to. We should continue to work towards a more open model of male friendships and allow for a continually evolving definition of what it means to be masculine in today’s world.

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Yea, yea, yea

Sometimes I feel as though I’ve heard it all before. I’ve listened to news stories day in and day out. I know people experience pain and suffering and I think, “wow. that really sucks” or “I’m so lucky to live where I do”.  However, I don’t often let it sink in. I wish I could, but it is partially being desensitized and partially not wanting to let the power of these stories sink in because once I start sharing their pain, I have no valid excuse to not help. Unfortunately, I can be lazy, selfish, and brutish at times so I avoid the humbling and humanizing experience of sharing in someones suffering.

Occasionally, I allow something to pass by the walls I’ve built, and allow myself to feel some of the pain and share in the discomfort of someone else (compassion can hit you like a brick sometimes). So I’m sharing this story here because it, like so many stories, it needs to continue to be told. There is untold suffering in this world. I think they are all equally in need of sharing, for now I’ll just share this and hope it allows for compassion, and inspiration. I’m going to try to stop thinking, “yea, yea, yea I’ve heard it all before”, let my guard down more often—it might just bring me a little closer to my humanity.

Parents Lose Their Daughter And Their Life Savings To Opioids

Take a listen, let your guard down.

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