As adult men, the idea of meeting new people to form friendships can feel uncomfortable. It might even seem impossible at times. After all, we’re focused on our careers and busy all the time. Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem necessary. However, men’s friendships outside of work, romance, and family are important. It’s healthy to have people in your life you can blow off some steam with. Whether it’s connecting with friends through social media, engaging in face-to-face conversations for casual chats, or a full-on “bromance” with your best pal, spending time with other men who share similar interests is beneficial for your well-being.
Solidifying Your Friendships With Adventure
Being there for your buddies no matter what is a fundamental aspect of men’s friendships. If you’re yearning for some quality time, grab a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition! You’ll embark on an unforgettable night out. Our adventure book is packed with over 50 unique scratch-off challenges that will enhance your bond with your pals. Whether you’re in the mood for creative activities, cooking experiments, or exploratory ventures, this book has got you covered. You can also use it to preserve your cherished memories! Gather your crew, choose an adventure, and create an incredible experience together.
The Importance of Men’s Friendships
All humans are naturally social beings. Some are much more social than others, obviously. But even humans who swear they hate people go a little cuckoo when they go full-on hermit. We’re meant to interact and live in communities. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, everyone can benefit from connecting with others to bounce around ideas and receive emotional support when necessary.
Friends also serve as accountability partners. People are more likely to achieve their goals when they have someone holding them accountable. When you have a best friend, they check on your progress because they genuinely want the best for you. You do the same for them.
Close friendships among men, often referred to as “bromances,” can offer a level of fulfillment that rivals or even surpasses romantic relationships with women. This might be attributed to men feeling a greater sense of understanding from their male friends and anticipating loyalty and support in times of distress. The strong bond between male friends often leads to a deeper sense of self and more stable relationships all around.
Men’s Friendships Provide Understanding
Having a friend that understands you is important. Not all conversations are appropriate to have with your parents or even your spouse. Sometimes, you need to vent to another dude about your spouse (we’re not talking about breaking spousal confidence here but just sharing general advice and shared experiences with one another). Demanding careers, raising children, and being married can all be stressful. Men who have like-minded companions can support one another over a beer and realize they aren’t alone. Most men are dealing with the same stressful life situations, and just knowing that someone else gets it is an important part of human socialization.
Why Men Are Isolated
These days, it seems uncommon for men to have a close-knit group of friends. A recent report from the Survey Center on American Life revealed that American men have fewer social connections compared to the past. In 2021, 15% of men reported having no close friends. However, in 1990, the number was 3%. This indicates that men may be experiencing a decline in friendships, which can have negative effects on their well-being and overall satisfaction.
A Decline in Engagement
So why are we in a men’s friendship recession? There are various reasons, including a decline in participation in civic or religious organizations, lower marriage rates, and changes in the workplace, such as remote work and long commutes. These factors create missed opportunities for men to develop friendships with other men. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to increased isolation for both men and women. In another study called “The State of American Friendships,” research found that young men rely on their parents for emotional support much more than women do. This, too, adds to their perceived need for fewer friends.
In today’s social media age, it has become increasingly challenging to form meaningful friendships or maintain existing ones, according to research. For many men, it becomes more difficult to meet new people or sustain long-term friendships. That includes keeping in touch with old friends. Feeling emotionally isolated is a major contributor to unhealthy habits and diseases, such as smoking, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, high blood pressure, tumors, and other neurological disorders.
Men may struggle with mental health issues or past traumas that make it difficult for them to form close friendships. Negative experiences, such as being embarrassed or bullied during their high school years, can impact their self-esteem and hinder their ability to make new friends. In order to cope with their insecurities and social anxiety, some men may become controlling or push others away. That further hinders their ability to develop and maintain friendships.
Anxiety and Shyness
Social anxiety, lack of social skills, and introversion can make it challenging for some men to establish friendships. Men with social anxiety often have an irrational fear of being embarrassed or judged by others. They may struggle with the necessary social skills to engage in emotional intimacy, which affects their ability to form meaningful connections.
Consumed With Achievement
Some men prioritize their work and personal goals over their social lives. Unlike women, who may find it easier to balance their work and social commitments, many men struggle to dedicate time to their social life. Before long, they look up, and all their friends are gone. They’ve done nothing but work for years.
Men who have experienced frequent relocations during their childhood, adolescence, and adult life often find it challenging to maintain friendships. The lack of stable connections due to constant relocation can lead to social isolation and difficulty in establishing lasting friendships. Additionally, moving to a new city from a rural area can make it difficult to integrate into a new community, leaving one feeling like an outsider and increasing the sense of loneliness and isolation.
Traditional Male Socialization
Experts agree that much of this comes down to established patterns of male socialization. There comes a point in an adolescent male’s life where too much physical touch or too much emotional vulnerability will result in the child being called “gay” or “feminine.” One embarrassing incident like this is enough for most young males to change their behavior instantly. Friendships become surface-level and based on “guy stuff” quickly, making them easily disposable later.
Research by developmental psychologist Niobe Way reveals that boys desire and need intimacy but feel pressured to withhold vulnerability or affection, which are essential for nurturing friendships. As a result, boyhood friendships often fade during late adolescence, putting the boys at greater risk of experiencing mental health issues and poorer physical health.
Ways Men Socialize
When it comes to how men socialize, it’s often observed that their relationships tend to be more side-by-side rather than face-to-face. Many interactions take place in settings where men are engaged in activities together. These include watching a game, sitting at a bar, riding in a golf cart on a fairway, fishing, or traveling in a truck. In these situations, men engage in conversations. Of course, there are also face-to-face settings, but they often involve competitive activities, like tennis, chess, or poker.
Older generations of men are aware that one-on-one interactions were sometimes criticized as being associated with homosexuality or femininity. This was considered threatening to traditional masculinity. To avoid such implications, men often gathered in larger groups and interacted in mildly aggressive and joking ways. The concept of brotherhood characterized by playful interactions, physical proximity, and a non-sexual nature was prevalent.
Gatherings of Purpose
Regarding face-to-face conversations during meals, which are often seen in female friendships, men don’t do that. They eat together, but lunchtime gatherings are more common than dinners. Ideally, there is a specific reason for the meal, such as meeting for business or catching up. Frequently, the meal is associated with another activity, such as a sport or hobby, or it serves as a break for coworkers. Having three or four people at the table instead of just two helps keep the conversation flowing and creates a generally lighter atmosphere.
Ways to Develop Friendships
To foster effective friendships, experts suggest finding the right activity to engage in with other men. Essentially, you just take the things you already love and look for avenues to partake in those hobbies with other men. As you bond over a mutual love, you’ll naturally begin to form a friendship that extends beyond the task at hand. It begins with discussing shared interests, like cars, sports, fishing, or other hobbies. As the conversation progresses, men can gradually delve into more personal topics, such as their relationships, life stressors, and emotional issues. It requires bravery and openness to initiate these conversations and establish deeper connections with others. Start slow, and progress when you feel comfortable, but don’t assume you’ll scare off your new friend. It’s likely that they are in the same social isolation as you are and they are looking for deeper connections, as well! Here are a few ideas of places to find new male friends.
1. Sports Leagues and Fan Clubs
If you enjoy sports, joining a sports team can be an excellent way to make new male friends. You can bond over a shared activity and have fun together. Most cities and towns have clubs or leagues that are open to anyone interested. Being part of a sports group not only helps you stay active but also allows you to form lifelong bonds with other men.
Men bonding through sports activities such as golf, softball, bowling, and tennis creates a unique and enriching experience. Engaging in these sports not only promotes physical fitness but also fosters camaraderie and friendship. For instance, when men come together to play golf, they strategize, encourage each other, and share moments of triumph and challenge on the green.
Men often find a unique sense of camaraderie and bonding through their shared passion for being part of a fan club. As men get together to cheer for their favorite team, the atmosphere becomes electric with excitement and anticipation. High-fives, fist bumps, and loud cheers become the language of brotherhood, uniting men in a collective experience. They discuss game strategies and analyze player performances, forming a tight-knit community centered around their common fandom. From organizing game day parties to attending live events, the bond among these fans grows slowly. They share not only the highs of victory but also the lows of defeat. Being part of a fan club provides men with a sense of belonging, acceptance, and the joy of experiencing their passions alongside others who understand and share their enthusiasm.
2. Men’s Book Clubs
Book clubs are often associated with women, but there’s nothing gender-specific about books. Joining a men’s book club provides a platform to discuss meaningful literature with other men. It can be an easy way to make good friends who share similar interests. Meetings are not just intellectual exchanges; they are also opportunities for genuine connection and friendship. Before diving into the book discussion, they may share stories from their lives, crack jokes, and enjoy the camaraderie built around their shared love for reading.
Fraternal organizations offer a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment by connecting you with like-minded men. These groups provide an ideal environment to start new male friendships. You can meet people who share common ideas, values, a sense of responsibility, traditions, and a focus on personal growth.
4. Social Media Groups
Sometimes, joining online men’s friendship groups or social media communities can be an effortless way to make male friends. These social network groups cater specifically to men seeking friendships. They ensure that you connect with like-minded individuals who share your interests, ideas, and goals. Platforms like Mensgroup.com are excellent places to make and maintain new friendships. Here, you can meet men who genuinely want to support your personal growth and success.
5. Car Shows
Car enthusiasts gather at car shows, meetups, and racing events, where they can discuss their favorite models, share tips on modifications, and showcase their own customized vehicles. Working on cars together, whether it’s restoring a vintage classic or upgrading performance parts, becomes a collaborative effort that deepens their friendships.
6. Video Gaming Platforms
Men who enjoy video games often connect through online gaming communities or gather for gaming sessions at each other’s homes. They embark on virtual adventures, strategize in multiplayer battles, and compete in friendly competitions. Gaming allows them to share laughs, conquer challenges, and build memories together. They discuss gaming strategies, recommend new titles, and even exchange gaming equipment or accessories, further strengthening their bond.
7. Outdoor Adventures
Outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, or camping, also provide opportunities for men to develop more intimate friendships. They embark on adventures in nature, tackling rugged trails, casting their lines into tranquil lakes, or gathering around a campfire. As they navigate through the great outdoors, they share stories, provide encouragement, and appreciate the beauty of the natural world. The combination of good laughs, mastering new skills, and the tranquility of nature contribute greatly to lower stress levels in men.
8. Creative Hobbies
Additionally, men may bond over creative hobbies like photography, painting, or music. They may join photography clubs, art workshops, or jam sessions, where they can showcase their artistic talents and inspire each other’s creativity. They discuss techniques, share feedback, and collaborate on projects. These shared creative endeavors not only fuel their personal growth but also deepen their friendships as they support and inspire each other’s artistic journeys.
9. Friendship Apps
We are fortunate to live in the digital age, where making new friends is just a click away. With the advent of apps and online platforms, connecting with like-minded individuals has become easier than ever before. By simply downloading a friendship app, men can create profiles that showcase their personalities, interests, and preferences. These platforms offer features such as matching algorithms or personalized suggestions that help connect users with potential friends who have compatible profiles. Through messaging or video chat functionalities, men can initiate conversations and get to know each other better before meeting in person.
A Few Good Options
Nextdoor is a unique social network app designed specifically for individuals who have recently moved into a new neighborhood and are seeking to establish connections and friendships. This private online platform fosters a sense of community and aims to strengthen the bonds among neighbors living in the same area. It serves as a virtual hub where neighbors can come together, get to know one another, and form lasting friendships within the comfort and familiarity of their local surroundings.
Meetup is an ideal platform for meeting new friends. Whether you’re passionate about cooking or a particular sport, this app provides a means to connect with like-minded individuals and join friend groups dedicated to enjoying your favorite hobbies.
Skout is a firm believer in the power of unexpected encounters and aims to facilitate social connections, ranging from friendships to networking opportunities. The app’s user-friendly features, such as chatting, photo sharing, and virtual gifting, make it effortless to forge new friendships and establish connections. The Skout community spans more than 180 countries and offers its services in 14 different languages, ensuring a global reach and making it accessible to users worldwide. Whether you’re seeking companionship, looking to expand your social network, or are eager to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, Skout provides a platform to effortlessly make new friends and explore meaningful connections.
10. Church or Civic Groups
Some of the men who claim the strongest friendships are those that are involved in civic volunteering groups or religious groups. Members of these groups share strong ties. They worship the same god, generally have the same moral values, probably live a similar lifestyle, and share the same passions. Joining a small church group or community volunteering group is one of the fastest ways to connect with others.
Building deep friendships with other men is a process that requires time, effort, and genuine investment. It’s important to understand that men’s friendships do not develop overnight but gradually evolve as you nurture and cultivate the relationship. To establish a solid foundation for a deep male friendship, it’s essential to be proactive and take the initiative. Show genuine interest in getting to know the other person on a deeper level by engaging in open and honest conversations. Take the time to listen attentively, ask thoughtful questions, and share personal experiences and stories. This creates a sense of trust and vulnerability, allowing both parties to feel comfortable opening up and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.
Now you have the tools to develop friendships with men! But are you trying to decide if you can develop friendships with women also? Then take a look at our article “Can Men Be Friends With Women?”
If you need a little help with conversation, check out these “130+ Deep Questions to Get to Know Friends Better.”
Frequently Asked Questions
The importance of men’s friendships is often overlooked. Having a male-support group can decrease stress, alleviate feelings of isolation, and contribute to overall well-being.
Men are becoming more isolated because of declining participation in organizations, the social media age, and changes in the workplace, such as remote work and long commutes.