Girlfriends are all about closeness – sharing secrets, doling out advice, going to the bathroom together and generally just being there for each other. For boys it’s a different story. Take a look at Hollywood. The strongest examples of male friendships tend to be between toxic bachelors whose relationships are seemingly defined by their shared passion for bar-hopping and bedding models. Then there are dynamic duos like Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, whose bond is built around working together and making money.
So what is it? Do males not require the same emotional depth in their friendships, or is it more complex than that? The New York Times ran a piece on Niobe Way‘s new bookDeep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis Of Connection which gets to the bottom of this issue. According to Way’s studies, boys value an emotional connection most in early adolescence. Then, things start to get a little murky.
The article notes, “But as the boys grew older, the intensity of those relationships faded. Boys feared being seen as ‘too girly’ or even gay for expressing attachments to one another, even just for feeling them.”As my teenage years approached, I recall changes in my dynamics with other males that Way addresses. Friendships became more superficial, framed by hyper-masculine bonding activities like video games and talking about girls.
In a culture where phrases like “No homo!” are uttered regularly to reinforce someone’s heterosexuality, are boys losing out on true connections for fear of being perceived a certain way? Yes, and it’s unfortunate. Guys, we need to get it together! It’s time to suck it up and embrace the bromance before it’s too late. Girls share everything and they are better off because of it.
OK, so maybe you should keep some details to yourself, but it’s time to ditch your pride and say it loud and say it proud – “I love you, man!” (After all, if Entourage has taught us anything it’s that “hugging it out” is a good thing.)