Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Male friendship: It’s okay to be an emotive switch hitter

It all started with a cassette tape of Cheap Trick music in 7th grade. We've been friends ever since.

Our extended network of friendships since has had its share of ebb and flow, but there's still a core group of us that still get together every year to rock and talk and walk the walk of adult men with responsibilities and families.

And create witty new inside-baseball catch phrases like: Are you sure you haven't done this before?

No, I can't tell you what that means, although I'm sure my lovely wife would tell you it hovers somewhere around leftover 7th grade sensibility wrapped in foil and left in the frig to fossilize.

Good times. Friendships 30 years in the making. I love these guys.

According to the experts, that love varies dramatically from that of women friends; Women relate "face-to-face" and men relate "side-to-side." The major difference being that women share more intimacy and are more supportive of each other than men. Men share by doing with another, but are less intimate and supportive. Male affection has been called "covert"—razzing and backslapping, indirect signs of intimacy, may be quintessential expressions of brotherly love. Razzing and backslapping are two things we do quite well.

Certainly there's a whole body of research around the evolutionary and biological differences between men and women. Men's immune systems are weaker and testosterone reduces the effects of oxytocin, which has a calming effect on the body, allowing women to better nurture their relationships while men battle with fight or flight.

Gentlemen, we really must drink more oxytocin shakes with our mates. Really. It's not called the hormone of love on friendship alone.

But our group of friends push beyond the boundaries of scientific stereotype; we share by doing and razzing but aren't afraid of intimacy and being supportive of one another as well. It's okay to talk about a crazy family member and provide counsel. It's okay to talk about falling down and the epiphanies of fatherhood. It's okay to give each other a hug when needed. It's okay to watch Mama Mia and sing along –

Oh, that's just me. Thanks for reminding me guys. See how supportive they are?

Friendships like this are vital for our longevity and are great models for the daddies in the group to share with their children. Tell them it's okay to be an emotive switch hitter.

Are you sure you haven't done this before?

Mommy's alright,

Daddy's alright,

They just seem a little weird

Surrender, surrender,

But don't give yourself away…

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I'm so glad that you guys all stayed close. That's awesome :-D.

    I stayed close to Debbie Pierce and of course Corinna Jordan for YEARS - we moved away from Visalia and lived in San Clemente for a long time but eventually she moved back home. We met up a few times when I was there, but eventually lost track of each other. She remarried and I don't know her new last name ...

    That's the problem with us girls taking on the names of our husbands ;-)