Why Do Many Men Have Few Friendships?

I met up last night for dinner with two college classmates. One was in town and he was one of my college roommates. Four of us lived together all four years.

It was really fun. Same old jokes and a lot of laughs. It was great to be able to reconnect with old friends and immediately begin discussing various fun, serious and absurd topics.

One conversation thread we had was how most working men have very few male friendships. We tend to have many business acquaintances, but with work and family life, there isn’t much time to develop true friendships. We might have “activity pals” (a tennis partner, a biking buddy, etc.), but often, those relationships don’t continue when those activities end.

And, I know a lot of men are really frustrated with this, including my former college roommate. So, I encouraged my friend to start a discussion group.

I’m fortunate in that I’m involved with a Bible study. I looked around and couldn’t find one that I liked, so I started one. I was in that one for about four years, and I’m currently in one that’s been meeting for over three years and which I helped kick off.

Starting a new group wasn’t easy, but one day, I decided “Why not–what’s the worst thing that can happen?”

In my current group, we’re all fathers and in business, and so, there’s a lot in common. Two of us are in private equity/VC, one is in commercial real estate, there’s a marketing expert, a techie, and a public stock manager.

We meet every other Friday morning for an hour. Attendance is optional, and we discuss something faith-oriented. Often, the discussion goes off topic to current events, parenting challenges and some jokes. Frankly, I think that’s also the point of the group: a forum for interesting discourse, whether serious, personal or fun.

I really trust these guys and have a great deal of respect for them. I know they’ve got my back.

I think the irony of social media is that we are more connected than ever, but in many ways, it can create an illusion of connected-ness. We’re reading about, and connecting electronically with, a lot of people, but are we really connecting as persons? It’s one reason why I now very rarely check Facebook.

So, if you’re feeling that you need more connected-ness, I’d challenge you to be entrepreneurial. Start a group. Could be a book club, a group of cyclists who meet up and train, or something faith-oriented.

Just do it.

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