Over the past few years, friendships between men have come under such scrutiny that they’ve even given rise to a new word; bromance. A portmanteau of brother and romance, the word defines a healthy and secure relationship between two or more men. Strictly platonic, these male friends may be so close and so connected that they seem like brothers. The word bromance goes hands in hand with the term “brother from another mother”, suggesting that they’re brothers in all but adoption papers and DNA.
Much has been made of the world’s most famous bromances, including the friendship between rapper and superstar mogul Jay-Z and President Barack Obama, comedy duo Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, and the hilarious (but friendly) rivalry between talk show hosts John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are apparently such a big deal that The Stage notes that there’s a bromance musical.
But the truth is, despite the many headlines about bromances, many men shy away from forming these close bonds, citing their masculinity as a reason for steering clear.
Why Male Friendships Are So Important
You may well be one of those men who pride themselves on the fact that they only have ‘buddies’; other men who they drink beer with, watch the game with and talk about women too. However, science says that there are significant benefits to forming closer bonds in which men are able to share their feelings and talk about what’s on their minds and not just what’s on the pitch.
A psychiatrist speaking to CNN suggested that when men have close friends, their mental health improves. While men may have wives and girlfriends who they are able to share things with, even in a relationship, men may still feel lonely and this can actually damage the romantic relationships that they have with the women in their lives. In fact, a small study published in Men and Masculinities indicated that men may even benefit more from their bromances than they benefit from their romantic partnerships.
Some men reported that in these bromances, they felt less pressured or less judged than by their romantic partners. This meant that they could share and receive feedback (in a non-judgemental way) at little to no risk to the state of those partnerships.
How to Hone Those Male Friendships
Every male friendship will look a little different. There are no set rules about how to make a best friend. You don’t need to throw epic parties like NBA players and Grammy-award winning rappers, nor do you need to get drunk with your friends and go on brilliant, inebriated adventures with them in order to become besties. According to Betway, one winner took home millions (£132 million, to be exact) and used his winnings in order to treat his friends, even gifting his friend Michael millions. Not everyone has casino winnings to share with their buddies and most of the time you needn’t splash the cash and give your pals a very expensive gift to keep them close, as there are plenty of other ways to show your appreciation.
Small actions count just as much and you can hone your friendships just by showing up when they need you. If your friend is going through something, reach out to them, ask them if they’d like to talk about it. Ask them what they need to get through this tough time and how you could help them through it. You can also make an effort to take on new experiences together. Do you usually go to the bar with your friends? Why not go on a road trip instead? Or take your buddy out to the movies? Many men already look for leadership skills among their peers, so you’ll win double macho points for choosing your next fun activity.
Where to Find Friends
As the saying goes, you find love where you least expect it and that goes for friendship too. But you could start by making an effort to improve the relationships with men you’re acquainted with already. That may include the men you occasionally talk to at work or the men within your family who you get along with but haven’t really had any deep conversations with.
Although men don’t often talk about it, there are lots of men in your position, looking to form close bonds too. Every best friendship starts with a conversation.