American Men’s Hidden Crisis: They Need More Friends!

 

American Men's Hidden Crisis: They Need More Friends

I found this really thought-provoking piece last month and wanted to share it with you.

I think it’s a valuable explanation as to what’s wrong with men, why they act the way they do, and why relationships are so very important to them.

“Of all people in America, adult, white, heterosexual men have the fewest friends. Moreover, the friendships they have, if they’re with other men, provide less emotional support and involve lower levels of self-disclosure and trust than other types of friendships…When asked about what they desire from their friendships, men are just as likely as women to say that they want intimacy. And, just like women, their satisfaction with their friendships is strongly correlated with the level of self-disclosure. Moreover, when asked to describe what they mean by intimacy, men say the same thing as women: emotional support, disclosure and having someone to take care of them.”

Being different than most men was a character building experience.

You’ve seen it yourself. Men who live a solitary life. They work. They drink. They watch football. They try to get laid. But they don’t share anything with anyone. They have no practice because there are often negative ramifications to being vulnerable.

“To be close friends, men need to be willing to confess their insecurities, be kind to others, have empathy and sometimes sacrifice their own self-interest. “Real men,” though, are not supposed to do these things. They are supposed to be self-interested, competitive, non-emotional, strong (with no insecurities at all), and able to deal with their emotional problems without help. Being a good friend, then, as well as needing a good friend, is the equivalent of being girly.”

This is so true and it’s one of the ways in which I’ve always been different than most men. I was heavily influenced by my mom, who is SUCH a good friend that she’s a bit of a martyr. And because I was inculcated with the notions of being kind, empathetic, attentive, and giving, I’ve had a harder time with men than I ever have with women. I was the guy who sent his male friends birthday cards well into their 20’s. I was the guy who went through periods of depression and anxiety, only to find that my male friends either clammed up or disappeared. I was the guy who would want to talk about meaningful things while watching football, only to be teased by my guy friends, who really wanted no part of it.

“Of course, not all men buy into these prescriptions for male behavior, but these expectations do influence most men’s friendships at least a little bit. They mean that, to make good friends, men have to take risks. In a context in which being a man is good and being friendly is being womanly, each time a man tries to form intimate bonds with another man, he potentially loses status. Men who want truly close friends have to fight the instinct to protect their standing above all else. This isn’t easy, as they’ve been told for a lifetime that their status as male, and their place in that hierarchy, is a significant part of why they’re important and valuable human beings.”

I’m not complaining. Being different than most men was a character building experience. I realized that I didn’t mesh well with stoics, macho types, and people who didn’t have easy access to their feelings. It’s part of why I dated so prolifically from 25-35 – I never felt fully connected to most of my friends, despite the fact that they’re great guys.

All of this has given me immense insight into what it’s like to be a woman trying to date these same men – yearning to hear a hint of self-confession or vulnerability, only to be told, “Nope. Everything’s cool.” These days, the male friends in my life are a lot more like me – driven, competitive and opinionated, but willing to discuss feelings as well. The more guys I meet like this, the more I learn of other men who have also assimilated their masculine and feminine sides.

This gives me hope that there are men like this out there – not just for me, as a friend – but for you, as a single woman. Similarly, I hope that you now have a greater sympathy and understanding for uncommunicative men. To some degree, they didn’t have a chance to be otherwise.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Fusee

    Evan, this is such a great topic to cover!
     
    Indeed the desire for emotional intimacy is not exclusive to women. However as the article points out, most men’s intimate friend is a woman, usually girlfriend or wife, sometimes mom or a platonic friend. It’s because women are available for – and value – such emotional disclosures. My husband is actually one of those men who has always been in touch with his need for emotional intimacy, and sure enough he shared the most intimate side of himself with his mom first then a good female friend he met in his mid-twenties. I quickly became his main confidante, listener, and friend as our relationship progressed.
     
    From the article: “It’s tough to know who to reach out to and it takes courage to do so.”
     
    Yes indeed. It’s already difficult for some women to make new friends, so adding the extra fear of rejection for being “a man with feelings” can be too much for a man to even consider. Also, there is the personality style to take into account. My husband is an introvert and quite a loner, therefore after he has spent his limited number of “social interaction chips” on me, little energy is available to make this effort of reaching out to men. But he would like to… And me too : )
     
    The article made me understand another reason why married men live longer, while marriage does not benefit women in the same way. Single and married women alike might get their “extra years of life” through their friendships outside the marriage, while men having less friends would get those extra years thanks to the friendship shared with their wife, therefore correlating marriage and higher life span for married men.
     
    In the end, like for everything else good in life if you want to get it you’re going to have to take a risk. Being emotionally vulnerable is a bit scary at first when we do not quite know how our openess will be treated, but it’s so worth it in the context of a trustworthy intimate friendship.
     

  2. 2
    LC

    My ex husband used to tell me that I was his best friend.  But he treated me terribly, and he also ignored or criticized most of his long term friends.  I used to tell him to invite his friends over to watch the game, I’d cook some food for them, and then I’d disappear.  He always refused.  I don’t know how you get a guy to be more friendly.  I give up.

    1. 2.1
      John

      LC, you must have had a dud for an ex-husband. I cant imagine any guy not being super grateful for any woman who cooks for food for his friends while they watch the game and then leaves them alone.  That’s such an awesome thing to do. Don’t give up. Most guys would love to have a woman that did that. Heck, most guys would love to have a friend with a wife that did that.

  3. 3
    Kristin

    THIS IS IT! THIS is what is wrong with so many men in the dating world! Particularly the online dating world!!! Why didn’t I ever make the connection between anti-social behavior and the clear absence of companionship! For some time now, I have been trying to figure out what has happened to the dating pool; what it is about online dating that has created an epidemic of men that freak out after date 3 or 4, because they don’t seem to know what to do next (ack! I’m not ready for a relationship! Huh? What have YOU been doing for the last month???).
    Evan, I was intrigued by what I read when I first discovered your website, about what women can be doing to create more space for the right guys who come along before they disappear. I got some good perspective on what today’s woman is doing to intimidate the crap out of men and how we could all use a healthy dose of ‘chill’. But, there is also a truth in that the ‘right guy’ pool seems to be shrinking – startlingly. What’s happening to the rest of the guys?! And I think you are onto something here.
    Men who don’t have friends lose all of the benefits of having people to trust, cultivating and nurturing social skills, physically being around other human beings.  They have no face to face social interaction, no personal bonding or development, limited life experiences, and they really don’t know how to act when they are around people anymore. They also lose the very necessary edict of accountability for behavior. If you have no friends, you have no one to disappoint and no one to be disappointed by. While unpleasant, even disappointment is necessary if you have any hope of having a relationship – especially with a woman. I’m just being real here.
    Thank you for this eye-opening, and deeply saddening perspective on the condition of the adult, white American male. Makes a girl wanna give a guy a hug!

    1. 3.1
      John

      Kristin said:
      ” what it is about online dating that has created an epidemic of men that freak out after date 3 or 4, because they don’t seem to know what to do next (ack! I’m not ready for a relationship! Huh? What have YOU been doing for the last month???).”
       
      I suppose you have been running into this lately and that’s why you are bringing it up. It could be that the guy is just being polite and not giving you the true reason . I can tell you that I have used that line whenever I felt a girl was not reciprocating. 
       
      If she isn’t offering to pay for things after 3 or 4 dates I dump her. But rather than tell her that’s the reason, I will pull out the “I am not ready for a relationship”.   Even though I am quite willing, ready and able to have that relationship, I will not proceed if I feel she is acting like I have to pay all the bills. Its not that she is a bad person, but just not a good match for me. This way, the guy puts an end to things and avoids the confrontation of her calling him cheap. I am not saying this is always the case, but if I have done it under the “no reciprocation” circumstances, I am sure other guys have done it also.
      As for the article that guys don’t have enough friends with whom they can share their deepest thoughts, I am uncertain. I have one best friend where we do share our personal thoughts, fears, etc. But the rest of my male friends we don’t go anywhere near that sort of stuff. All you really need is one male friend that you can confide your deepest feelings to. Perhaps women have multiple friends they can get that deep with- for me its just one and that’s enough.

      1. 3.1.1
        julia

        so rather than telling the women you are dating your needs: to not have a woman take advantage of your generosity, you expect her to read your mind and dump her when she doesn’t. Solid plan, we are always being told to stop expecting men to read our minds, likewise, you should do the same.
         

        1. marymary

          After three dates I don’t think either party is obligated to  divulge the “real” reason. still,  if  a man is constantly having to call it off for this particular reason  he may do well to  extend his limit to, say, five dates and make those dates less expensive.  
           

        2. Chance

          I think the issue is more that these women don’t want to pay, and not not because they don’t know that they are expected to behave in a fair and equitable fashion.  No self-respecting man will tolerate a woman with this type of sense of entitlement.  

        3. John

          Julia,
          A couple of points. First, I have raised the issue before and they get offended. Each time (has happened 3 times in last 3 years) they all say “It doesn’t feel like a date if a guy doesn’t pay.” or something along the lines of “they never pay for a guy”, etc. So my experience has been that the very conversation you say to bring up, has gone nowhere.
          Second point is that you shouldn’t have to tell someone to do the right thing. If a woman is taking advantage of my generosity by not reciprocating, that speaks volumes about her character and future expectations. Any woman I have gone out with that did the offering right away was always g/f material. The good ones just do the right thing instinctively without discussion.
          I don’t mean this to be a “who pays” dialog. I was just bringing up another possibility that if a guy gives the excuse “I am not ready for a relationship” after 3 or 4 dates it could be for something other than what the original commentator proposed. Nothing more.

        4. julia

          Chance and John
          Sometimes I offer, sometimes I don’t. I get the sense of what a man expects to do in the courting process, especially if I know his salary is similar to mine. I don’t think I’ve ever been ditched for not offering to pay. All my boyfriends, however, have made it very clear that they want to pay the vast majority of the time. So maybe its entitlement but if women are being taken out by men who expect to pay, don’t expect that women will start paying half the time or whatever. Sorry, that’s just how it is.
           
          However, if a man really said to me “I really like going out with you and as an awesome modern woman I know you can contribute too” I would be more than obliged. But again, if I am going out with an investment banker or doctor pulling 6 figures, I sort of expect that he will pay and have never been wrong.

        5. Clare

          John,
           
          Could your dates’ negative reaction to the subject have had to do with the way you brought it up?
           
          Discussing the topic of who pays in a more general, objective way is a great way to get her views on the subject without getting too personal.  Most girls will be happy to provide their thoughts on the matter if you say something like “I think it’s great if a guy is a gentleman and pays for the first 3 or 4 dates. What do you think?”
           
          That is a non-conflict way of gauging her views.  It also gives her a chance to hear your views and decide whether she likes you enough to adjust, if necessary. Then you won’t need to put up the smokescreen of “I’m just not ready for a relationship”.

      2. 3.1.2
        Pauline

        I have gone out with many men and offered to pay and was told to put my money away as it wouldn’t be right to expect a woman who he had asked out to pay for the date. I have also gone out with men who expected sex in return for them paying for the date. Yeah, that didn’t happen and I never went out with them again. Is this what you mean by “no reciprocation?”
        Who knows what your rule book has in it, I’m sure your dates don’t and the reason you don’t tell the truth is because it makes you look bad. Perhaps you could try being more honest and upfront about how you feel about paying for dates instead of lying about why you dump them if you are financially strapped and find it difficult to pay all the time. Or perhaps you need to check your attitude on how you view women as I get the idea that you think all women are out for what they can get. 
        Either way if your main deal breaker is the girl doesn’t pay after 3 or 4 dates and you give her the elbow … What next? What’s your plan or vision for a good relationship … if you really want one that is.

        1. Suzanne

          Pauline I think John did mention that whenever he brought up the topic, the women still didn’t change their ways. I was one of those girls that never paid for a guy. When I met my husband, one of the first questions I asked him was why did he dump certain girls. He said in the beginning stages it was for not trying to pay. Since I liked him a lot, I said to him that I was not one of those girls that refused to treat (even though up until then I really was). I took him out and cooked him dinner on our 2 subsequent dates. If I had not done that, I would have missed out. For many guys, that’s a big thing. 
          If you had the misfortune of meeting guys that expected sex for taking you out, then maybe your taste in men isn’t so good. Because when I was in my Non-Paying days, I never met a guy that still expected sex in return.

      3. 3.1.3
        Kristyn - with a Y

        Hi John
         
        I have always offered to pay for something by date two and have typically asked the guy (and paid) for date 3.  However, I recently went out with a guy where I was the only one who ever spent money on our dates.  EVER.  Our dates were all  going to one of our houses to watch a movie.  When he came to mine, I bought or made dinner.    In counseling, I have learned I need to be less accepting because it gives the idea that bad behavior is ok.  One of the tangible things I am working on?  Not even offering to pay until date 5.
         
        Also – as someone else mentioned, dates don’t have to cost that much or anything at all.  A recent date was driving around a mountainside neighborhood looking at the christmas lights.   (Different, more creative guy).  
         
        I offer my experience as a different perspective.  It’s not that a guy has to spend money on me but when they aren’t – I am reading that they are not interested. 
         
         

    2. 3.2
      Jitka

      You are correct.  I find this phenomena very sad too.  Intimacy scares ppl who never had it and this idiotic north american phenomenon of men being manly is not as pronounced in Europe either.  
      This is very sad, we all loose.

  4. 4
    Jennifer

    Evan do you think this is part of the reason men seem to marry so much faster after a divorce then women?  This doesn’t apply to all men of course, but there do seem to be a large number of men who divorce and rapidly marry in a very short period of time where I think most women will go through a ‘I need to be single’ phase.

  5. 5
    Mickey

    Kristin #3:
    This I don’t believe!!! Of all the reasons women normally come up with for pushing guys away, friendlessness is the top reason that guys can’t get into a relationship?
    Sounds like one more male bashing excuse to me.

    1. 5.1
      SparklingEmerald

      Mickey #5 – Kristin didn’t say SHE pushes guys away for friendlessness.  She is noticing more and more guys “not ready for a relationship” after date 3 or 4 and is speculating that this lack of friends may be the reason that men disappear or push HER away after 3 or4 dates.

      1. 5.1.1
        Mickey

        Sparkling:
        I never said that Kristen pushes guys away for that reason herself. I only said that it looks like one more male bashing excuse du jour.
        How would it look if someone were to say as a blanket statement that women have problems dating because THEY have no friends?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          The difference, Mickey, is that “women have no friends” is not true. Men lack in friends IS true (on the whole, thus the article). When you blindly attack any woman who offers criticism of men, you know who you sound like? You got it: the women who always criticize men! So please, take a deep breath and consider if you want to be seen as reasonable and objective or one-sided and partisan.

  6. 6
    Waqas

    Feels like someone is reading my mind.
     

  7. 7
    Mickey

    Evan:
    If standing up for myself and defending my position makes me “partisan”, so be it.

    1. 7.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That’s fine. Just know that you’re a mirror-image caricature of the women who upset you so much.

      1. 7.1.1
        Mickey

        I’m sure we can live with it.

      2. 7.1.2
        Jitka

        I agree with you on this whole heartedly!!!  There are many men who by having no friends either develop or worsen their emotional problems and antisocial personality traits.
         It is so sad because I just experienced a man who was angry at all his friends for not wanting to be around him for 7 years.  He said it was like pulling teeth just asking them to hang out and now I came along and actually wanted to be with him.  
        So he punished me with this negativity until I left him.  He began to treat me the way he claimed his friends treated him.  He pushed me away like he did them.  Sad sad story. He is binge drinking himself to death so I had to let go of him since he wanted to bring me down with him.  
        Sad thing is he posted an online personal ad giving himself one of the lines I used to say to him and literally looking for me, the ad is one only I can understand.  
        He had me and now is looking for me.  But when he was with me he said he feared making a commitment and could not make one.
        Now is out there claiming to want to make one to me.  It is as if some girl posted an ad online saying “I am looking for a dating coach named Evan Katz”, we would all know exactly who she is seeking. That is how obviously for me his personal ad is.  Funny but very very sad.  
        I had to tell his family of his drinking problem by facebook and did so the morning before Hoffman died.  Sad coincidence.  But, I did not want it on my conscience if something happens to him.  
        This is what a man with no friends is like in North America today.

  8. 8
    Sabine

    From my own experiences, I have known guys who has had friends since childhood and have maintained these friendships into adulthood. And, since they grew up together and have history, they are not afraid of being honest or sharing touchy feely emotions.  They already know the good, bad and ugly about each other! I agree that many “American men” are lonely in the sense that they don’t have real, authentic male friends. In other cultures, men hug each other and even kiss on the cheek and they are manly men! “American men” give handshakes, fist-bump and high-fives.
     
    I have a guy work friend who wants be friends and now more. As I found out from another friend (who was talking him up to me), she explained his marriage ended b/c he spent 15 years with a mean, rotten wife who was probably in some way was his “best friend” in a dysfunctional way. Maybe his male base of close friends moved on since he was paired with his ex for a long time…
      
    He is obviously (by his comments) seeking trust, encouragement, support and loyalty (and love though very, very, very cautiously). From all of our chats he a.) wants to be accepted as he is. b.)wants to know he is not a weirdo (which he isn’t) c.)wants a friend he can have fun with.  d.)wants to connect intellectually and to know his ideas are valid. When your male friends are paired or aren’t the type to share feelings (or have moved on) who do you share your feelings with? A woman. 
     
    I believe that in order to have a successful relationship, you should have a friendship along with a passionate physical connection with a man. With the history of his ex-wife,making new friends (open, honest, trusting) must be super scary! Like with any relationship (romantic or not), you need to be honest and vulnerable. And being both with the same person makes it twice as scary! 

  9. 9
    Ben Iyyar

    I believe that men are basically loners and that we generally bond with other men only in order to achieve short term goals.  In our personal non professional lives we would rather be on our own, independent, responsible, looking out for ourselves, and if we are married, looking out for, protecting, of course supporting,and leading our families.  I firmly believe that men are by nature strong, forceful, aggressive, protective,  and ambitious, and that we do not need other men to validate our sense of self. Frankly if women want someone touchy feely, emotionally open and expressive, gossipy, kissy, and weepy then they should just marry another woman and be done with it.  I have found that most women want their men to be men, protective, strong, not especially talky about their “feelings” all the time, and emotionally strong and giving when appropriate.  I like to give and receive a woman’s affection and while I do not want my wife to be weak and fearful, I also want her to be submissive and accepting of my emotional distance, just as I appreciate and respect her emotional expressions and her support.

    1. 9.1
      Sabine

      Ben – I agree with you and appreciate your honesty. I think that SOME women want a man to be protective, strong (emotionally, physically, socially, etc.) and giving. I fall into this group.  Being that I am hyper affectionate, this is high on my list amongst other qualities (intelligence, humor, hard working, etc.). I like a man to take the lead.
       
      I do think MANY women want their husband/significant other to be a little more of a listener and touchy feely friend. And there are MANY men who fit the bill here. This is probably their comfort zone. I really don’t want a husband for this type of emotionl chit-chat on a daily basis, per se. I am not a weepy woman so this type of guy is not what I’m searching for (though I personally am a self-proclaimed “softie”). At times, sure, but that is why I have girlfriends to talk about girly things. And, I agree with emotional distance is so important as I need some of that as well. How can one grow without reasonable space? 

  10. 10
    pauline

    Suzanne
    My taste in men is fine and I am currently going out with a very nice guy who never tried to bust my boundaries where sex is concerned and especially on our first date. I have offered to pay for dates and been told to put my money away and I often have him over and cook him dinner which he really appreciates.
    By far the majority of men I met while I was online dating were not looking for sex on the first date, some would not let me pay and some were quite happy to split the bill which did not bother me and this ‘who pays for dinner’ thing was worked out before we actually met so there were no embarrassing moments when the bill was presented. There were 3 separate occasions over several years when guys chanced their arm and I can only surmise that this tactic must have worked on other occasions for them, who knows what goes through a persons mind!
    The point  I was trying to make is that most girls these days are quite happy to share expenses as a lot of us have a decent job and this is supposed to be a time of equal opportunity in the work place for men and women.
    What I don’t buy with guys/girls who arbitrarily dump girls/guys and then lie about why they aren’t going to get another date, is these rules they have which no one knows about, as nothing is said beforehand about who pays or not and any other deal breaker rules they have. Surely being more honest and upfront in the early stages of getting to know someone will weed out those guys and girls who are looking for a free ride at someone else’s expense. I haven’t met anyone yet who is a mind reader and if you don’t ask you don’t know. That cuts both ways.

    1. 10.1
      Karmic Equation

      If a girl always offers to pay, then there is never an issue. This is one problem we can solve on our own without the guy involved. Why make it so complicated?
       
      If a man is insulted that you would offer, then he’s got problems. You’re better off without this type of guy. If he doesn’t know how to behave gracefully on date 1, what do you think is going to happen once he’s no longer on his “best” behavior?
       
      I usually offer when I remember to, and ALWAYS if I’ve had a very expensive item from the menu (I don’t spare any expense when I’m by myself, so I don’t believe in eating differently when I’m on a date). There’ve been a couple of times where I went to the bathroom towards the end of the date and the guy picked up the check before I got back and I would say, “Could I give you some money for tonight?” They always said no and I would always thank them with a sincere bright smile.
       
      I date expecting to pay half and always say an appreciative thank you when they insist on paying it all. I actually like it best if I like him and I say “Let me pay half” and he says with a twinkle, “You can get it next time.” I say “Deal!” and we both know we like each other enough for a next time. Very good dating short hand, imo.

  11. 11
    SAL9000

    That Salon piece that serves as genesis for this blog entry is sadly typical of both the cause and justification of the trend of feminization of American men that began in the ’70s, and the resulting ginormous societal fallout that cuts to the very core of our current socio-political-economic climate (read: problems).
    A real man, if he’s doing it right, spends most of his efforts to achieve and conquer and protect and provide and lead and mentor and account and produce and build, etc., etc. These masculine traits are mostly of the self. He doesn’t have time for “more” (real) friends. He has a few real friends and then gets on with living a happy fulfilled life being a real man.
    The real crisis is men are raised, compelled, demanded, expected, rewarded, etc., to not be real men.
     

    1. 11.1
      Dariko

      @SAL9000 I think that the traditional idea of masculinity you are talking about here is the very thing that makes many men feel they cannot show emotional vulnerability to others, lest they be labeled not a “real man” (your words not mine.) FYI your understanding of masculinity is not universally held around the world or even among all communities here in America, as other people have mentioned.
      Humans are social animals and we need human companionship. I have an acquaintance who is a therapist and she has told me that she sees a lot of men who only talked to their wives about serious or emotional things. Well what happens if the wife dies or the couple gets divorced? Suddenly the man has lost the one person in his life that he could truly share with. One person is not enough, people need a wider support system than that.
      I agree that there are some differences between men and woman, but we aren’t totally different species. All humans – men and women – need friendship, support and intimacy. When bad things happen you need to know that people will have your back. When good things happen you want people to share the news with. To claim that “real men” don’t need these things is to cut men off from some of the most fundamental and universal aspects of human nature.
      TLDR; men and women aren’t all that different, we all need intimacy and support.

  12. 12
    Clare

    This is so interesting.
     
    The men I know who are more emotionally vulnerable tend to have several female friends.  It is clear they feel more comfortable in the company of women, even though they usually do have guy friends for drinking, watching sport and picking up chicks.
     
    The trouble is, I think, is that often these guys would like their female friendships to develop into something more, and the woman just usually doesn’t see him that way.
     
    I agree, it would be great if guys could form more friendships with other men where they could be a little more open with their feelings, and share on a deeper level.  It’s great that they can often do this with women, but it’s not always conducive to a passionate romantic relationship, in my humble opinion.

  13. 13
    Marie

    One of my problems with my last guy is that he had friends, but they were NOT healthy. Nearly every interaction was around drinking alcohol, and the friends he spent the most time with were actually MEAN to him, even when he stood up for himself. These were mutual friends, as I met him through my social circle…the difference is that his closest friends were my tie-one-on distraction if I needed a night out… essentially they were my “drinking buddies” and I’m not a big drinker. He often complained about how they treated him, and I noticed how much more he drank around them. Yet he wouldn’t go out and make new friends, and he would allow their peer pressure to negatively impact our relationship… so much so that I had to end it on a night out with those friends. They were a bad influence on just about every level, offering only the level of companionship of not being physically alone.

  14. 14
    Peter 51

    A man who needs freinds can’t compete.  It’s lonely at the top.

    1. 14.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That’s ridiculous. Any person who doesn’t think he needs/wants friends is not going to be a very happy or emotionally connected person. But, you’re right, he will be rich because he spends so little time cultivating human connection with others.

      1. 14.1.1
        avery_t

        Evan, are you thinking about what you say, or are you just saying what you think you are supposed to say? 
         
        In general, the most financially successful men have the easiest/best time on the dating market. A man who devotes his time to work may be CULTIVATING his dating/sex life (by becoming a top earner). For some men, it is much more important to marry a model than to be single, celibate, and have many male friends. 
         
        I know many emotionally connected people who are not happy. For some men, happiness = sex with gorgeous women. It may also = owning a home in the Hamptons. 
         
        To me, one great love relationship = 10,ooo friendships. I want love as well as sex. Not just sex. But absolutely no number of male friendships can equal one great love/sex connection with a woman. They are categorically different and, since so many attractive women care a lot about income, it pays more to devote one’s time to earning than to making male friends (unless what one wants from life is to spend it with other men complaining about being single and unlaid). 
         
         
         
         

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Avery, without remotely understanding what you’re getting at, I can assure you that I’m saying whatever I mean, and that “what I think I’m supposed to say” has never ever occurred to me in 7+ years of blogging. I write what I feel, not what my readers demand…as I think the comments can readily attest to. :)

  15. 15
    joek

    “But they don’t share anything with anyone.”
     
    Because we don’t WANT to. What’s wrong with that?
     
    No offense Evan, but this is a bunch of nonsense. Let’s just reference your entry about “the Marlboro Man/They Don’t Go Both Ways”.
     
    Men, like women, exist on a continuum – on one end you have the Marlboro Man (rugged, quiet, keeps his own counsel), on the other you have Mr. Emotions on His Sleeves (no offense intended in that label…but I would never hang out with a guy like that-it’s too tiring). If most men fall somewhere more toward Marlboro Man, then the standard most people see will be more like him.
    Here’s the deal – around here we’re always talking about how most men are more ACTION-oriented, this would also mean the ways we bond with other guys would ALSO be more ACTION oriented (heck, even how we connect with women – just consider one thing Evan always says – men look for sex and find love…sex is PHYSICAL activity.)
     
    Evan said “This is so true and it’s one of the ways in which I’ve always been different than most men…I’ve had a harder time  with men than I ever have with women… I was the guy who would want to talk about meaningful things while watching football, only to be teased by my guy friends, who really wanted no part of it.” What this shows is that MOST guys aren’t as interested in this stuff as YOU.
     
    I’m a more emotionally-aware guy than the average (heck, I comment here frequently-that should say something), but the last thing I want to do is “discuss my feelings” with anyone – it’s…work enough to discuss it with an SO who I feel obligated to, let alone with another guy where it serves no purpose. There’s simply no value in it – my feelings are mine, not someone elses, and I see no value in discussing them. You wanna know if I like/dislike something, sure, I’ll tell you, but beyond that what am I going to gain in a greater discussion? I hate the Rolling Stones…what would be gained by “digging deeper” into why I dislike them?
     
    The salon piece is a bunch of fluff, cherry-picking and anecdotes: “People with friends are healthier.” Sigh – ascribes cause when there’s only correlation, and doesn’t even provide a supporting reference!
     
    They claimed “[that when men] describe what they mean by intimacy men say the same thing as women: emotional support, disclosure and having someone to take care of them.” 1. Reference please, 2. This is such a broad concept that you can’t possibly get five people to agree on what it means, let alone thousands required for an accurate study. I’d bet a month’s pay that most men don’t have the same definition of intimicay as women…if we did than why would this blog exist?
     
     
    And finally, the use of this anecdotal interview is rather telling:
    “[My friend and I] we mostly joke around. It’s not like really anything serious or whatever… I don’t talk to nobody about serious stuff… I don’t talk to nobody. I don’t share my feelings really. Not that kind of person or whatever… It’s just something that I don’t do.”
     
    “I don’t talk to nobody”? This is going to sound rather critical and nitpicky, but this kid ain’t got the best education speaking like that – you think he’s going to be the arbiter of introspection? Plus, we’re basing this all on interviews with boys of 17 and their male bravado? Are you KIDDING me? We’re practically MORONS with hormones then. Yea, *I* wouldn’t have admitted anything risky at that age either (today, older and more mature, different story). And the college-guy quotes? More cherry picking to support the thesis (and we’re still figuring out how to even GET a date at that point).

    1. 15.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Seems to me like you don’t like the results of the study, so you’re picking apart the study. Seems equally clear from all happiness studies that friends (or other close personal connections like family) are one of the main factors that contribute to happiness. Not really seeing this as a controversial stance. I may have cited the study because I’m a “feelings” guy and therefore it resonated with me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

  16. 16
    JoeK

    Sigh. Salon cherry picks, uses anecdotes, presents unsupported conclusions but you’re going to claim “I didn’t like the results of the study”. The study wasn’t even properly respresented by Salon.
     
    What I didn’t like was Salon’s disingenuous representation of information which is far more nuanced than any of their conclusions allow.
     
    I wrote a long, wordy response Evan, but realized it boils down to this:
     
    The book is interesting, insightful reading, the Salon article is non-nuanced, disingenuous, cherry-picking, claptrap.
     
    Ladies, don’t let the Salon article mislead you into believing men are emotionally trapped inside themselves and are just yearning to let their feelings sing to every guy they meet, but aren’t allowed to for fear of being labelled gay (or whatever negative inference Salon was going for).  Believe they are behaving exactly how they want to behave (as Evan has often said). Observing the coming-of-age experience of boys is interesting and insightful, but by no means representative of what mature men think, feel and experience.
     
     
    (PS. Evan, I’m a “feelings guy” too, maybe that makes me more sensitive to this subject when I see it so terribly misrepresented, because I undertsand it, but disagree so strongly with the “crisis” label, rather than seeing it as a “coming of age” process )

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