This month I’m sharing a conversation that I had with a friend about his male friendships and this cultural phenomena of bromances..
Friend: I’ve always wanted to have a male friendship like how girls have “besties.” Maybe guys can have this too? Not in a sexual way of course, but in friendship. Growing up was rough for me. I tried getting close to guys, but I was always hit with rejection. They would say things like, “Eww, what are you? I don’t want that!” So now all I can do is pray and continue getting close to God and keep asking for close male friendship, for someone I can talk to and pray with.
Me: Now, we see culture accepting “bromances” as normal and it isn’t sexualized. So it seems like male friendship is more common and not a shameful thing to pursue. When I look around and see this happening, I have a feeling that these guys probably never talked about it…it just happened. They didn’t overthink it but allowed the friendship to just be. I’ve learned for me that I’d prefer to spend quality time with another guy and have meaningful conversation. I know that this isn’t most guys’ go to though.
Friend: Yeah, I’m totally the same way. And society tells guys they should be masculine which looks like not having feelings. When I tell a guy that I want to hang out, I usually get shut down so it backfires.
Me: It’s tricky. I also have realized that the best way to build male friendship is to do things with him on a continuous basis. This might require me to do something out of my comfort zone just so I can get that time with him. But after enough time, something has occurred that usually will allow for the depth of conversation I desire. Have you ever had that with someone?
Friend: I have a friend that recently got married. In the past, we talked about it and how we both wanted to be close friends. But I think he sensed when I was trying to get “too close” and he distanced himself eventually.
Me: I feel it gets awkward almost anytime you have the courage to say out loud what you want. How would you describe what intimacy looks like in friendship for you?
Friend: Like someone I can call anytime, a shoulder to cry on when I have a bad day, someone I can tell anything and everything to(the good and bad), someone who’s just there. What’s your view on intimacy?
Me: I would say intimacy has to involve vulnerability and trust. These two over time pave the way for an increase of intimacy. For it to be real, the friendship has to be consistent on some level. It’s been a struggle for me to believe others’ investment in the friendship at times when they’ve been flaky. In my mind, if they cared, they would initiate and make time for us to spend time together. Time is important to me. I need to see that it actually matters to them. But I do have to be careful not to be critical and judgmental. If there has been a lull with time shared, I struggle not to take it personal at times. I have to remind myself that maybe they are having a busy week. I have to let go of control and let it be what it is. Letting go of expectations is a huge thing! I have to remind myself that if the friendship doesn’t look a certain way that I want it to, it still has value. When I do this, it frees me up to simply enjoy the friendship for what it is. Everyone is in a different place in life so people have different roles and can give in different seasons in different ways. Remaining in a place of thanksgiving for friends, whatever the depth or consistency, is really helpful too! So to answer your original question, I do believe guys can have best friends. But it usually takes years and years for this reality to manifest. And that my friend will be a test of real love. Time always checks your motivation…is it just to serve yourself or is it love your brother? We all look to what we can selfishly gain out of something first. But as Christ followers, we are called to lay down our lives for love, preferring others’ needs over our own, choosing to serve. I wonder if we all looked to our friendships as an opportunity to love and give, rather than receive, would we then find ourselves in deeper friendships all around?
LEAVE A COMMENT – SHARE YOUR STORY
What’s your view on “bromances”? Have you ever had a close male friendship that was healthy or unhealthy? How do you navigate that? Do you find it easy or difficult to develop male friendship?