Why we need friends

This Thursday at 10 a.m. we’ve got an in-depth conversation about friendship and men. The idea for the segment came from our own Public Insight Network, which threw out the question: Why do men have trouble making friends with other men?

As I was chatting with segment guest Niobe Way, we got on to the subject of friendships and health. It turns out that friendships not only make us happy, but they’re linked to our ability to tackle problems and promote physical health.

An article from the New York Times in 2009 discusses some of the ways in which friendships lead to better health. The most fascinating part of the article is the very end, which describes a University of Virginia study where boys who stood at the bottom of a hill with friends saw that hill as dramatically less steep than boys standing alone. As Way said to me, “Who is next to you affects your perception of the world. When you have a close friend around, your challenges at work and life look less challenging.”

Just another reason to call up an old friend and invite them out for a drink. And stay tuned for Thursday’s discussion…

Maddy Mahon, assistant producer

  • This week I made a guest appearance on a local cable television show, “Life’s Second Half” and discussed healthy male friendships.

    It doesn’t surprise anyone that male friendships are different from female friendships. That doesn’t mean that men don’t receive the same emotional and physical benefits from close friendships. Men tend to put all of their relationship eggs into one basket. They tend to reply on a significant other to fulfill their emotional needs. Although many women are more than happy to take on that important role, let’s face it…men understand men in a way no one else does, in much the same way women understand women. Men understand the unique issues that other men face, work pressures, struggles and societal expectations.

    In general, it’s easier for women to make new friends and reconnect with individuals from their past. But there are ways men can begin to develop and build friendships: look to other men in the neighborhood, church, work and old friends that may have dropped off the radar. Take it slow, be willing to risk and it won’t take long to feel the benefits.

    For anyone interested in learning more about healthy male friendships I would strongly recommend the heart-warming book by Bob Greene, “And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship” and “Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships” by Geoffrey L. Greif.

    Lori Syverson

    Rock Rules Revolution

  • mike ballard

    I have always found that I change friends as I or my current friends change careers or jobs. I feel that men identify themselves by where they work or what they do, so it would make sense that most friendships between men start and stop within the workplace.