5 Steps to Stronger Male Friendships
You’re hard-working. You care about your family, about your health, about your community. You’ve been successful in your field.
There’s just one problem – you feel alone. Sure, maybe you have a partner, kids, or siblings who play a role in your life, but there’s something missing.
You’re looking for those genuine connections and friendships with other men – those bonds you had when you were in high school or in college, before your life and career got hectic and the expectations placed on you increased.
You may think, “I actually have lots of friends,” referencing your social media connections or the coworkers you chat with after a weekend full of activities. However, you’re still hungry for those true male friendships and connections, for strong bonds and friends with whom you don’t have to show off or put up walls to protect your ego and image.
Finding those types of friendships probably sounds intriguing, yet exhausting…like it’s too late to start over or to invest that time into a relationship. Do you really have the capability to learn how to make friends as a guy who already has a full plate of responsibilities?
The answer is yes. You can do it, because there are so many other men who want the same types of friendships you do; in fact, 2.5 million men in Britain admitted to having “no friends” when polled about their relationships.
In a world of men who crave connection, you can be a friendly beacon, someone who offers friendship freely and provides true value to those around him. Here’s how to get started:
5 Steps on How to Make Friends as a Guy
1. Decide what you want.
When you’re figuring out how to make friends as a guy, your first step is to focus on the kinds of friendships you value.
Are you looking for a friend with whom you can discuss your career goals? Someone to share in outdoor sports like hiking or biking? A fellow parent who’s available to do weekend playground outings with the kids?
While you can find friends anywhere, research shows (and it’s just common sense), that you’ll be likely to form stronger friendships with people who share similar interests.
After all, in today’s busy world, you have many activities and demands competing for your attention. If you add a new category of activities specific only to your new friendships, it’s more likely they’ll fall by the wayside or atrophy when they go head-to-head with other priorities.
2. Let your guard down and relax.
Anxiety can wreak havoc on your emotions and make it harder to feel like you have anything to offer in a friendship. Instead of going into a social situation keyed up and focused on the potential for failure – relax.
Take a moment to be mindful before heading into a social situation or striking up a conversation. Think back to what you want to achieve as you talk, whether it’s getting to know someone for the first time or finding additional pieces of common ground on which to build your relationship.
If you’re overwhelmed or tense, you won’t be able to be your best self.
When you relax, on the other hand, you improve your self-confidence and self-awareness. You’ll be better able to focus on your conversational partners and build friendships because you’ll be less focused on looking inward and worrying about whether you measure up.
It’s natural to be cautious in a new friendship or relationship, but staying too guarded can impact your ability to really create a connection. Stop worrying about whether what you say will come off as cool or successful or impressive enough to gain the admiration of the guys you interact with.
Instead, consider letting your guard down and being honest about your views, your life and – yes – your openness to building new friendships.
It might not come naturally at first. but as you practice openness and vulnerability, you’ll find that it makes you more approachable to the types of friends you want to engage with, and that it brings the right kind of people to you – ones who respect the honest views you’re voicing.
4. Be ready to listen.
What’s the one thing that makes people attractive to others? It’s not necessarily their looks or a commanding presence. It’s enthusiasm, the ability to take a genuine interest in the world around you and in the people around you.
When you are trying to make friends as a guy, don’t give in to the temptation to get distracted, to look at your phone, to prepare your own next witty comment or comeback. Instead, use your listening as a way to connect, to ask questions and to find common ground.
When you listen, you make the people around you feel important and valued. Who doesn’t like that? It’s an easy step that moves you closer to being a better friend, as well as a better person.
5. It’s personal, but don’t take it personally.
You’ve probably experienced one of these situations before – you’re forced into a grudging acquaintanceship with your partner’s friend’s partner, with a new coworker, or with the other dads lining the sides of the Saturday morning soccer field.
In some of these cases, you may make a connection and earn a valuable friendship. In others, no matter how often you try to strike up a conversation, there’s no real connection. You leave feeling vaguely dissatisfied and wondering why it just doesn’t feel natural.
It can be easy to feel personally rejected in these situations, but if you’re trying too hard to make a friendship work, it might just not be meant to be.
Be aware of how you feel about yourself amid your efforts to make new friends. Are you deriving positive energy from these efforts, or do you feel burned out or exhausted after trying to connect with others?
Everyone you encounter isn’t meant to be in your inner circle, and some of those casual chats with colleagues or fellow parents may never progress to anything more. It’s not a reflection on your ability to build friendships, but it is a chance to reflect on the traits you value in a friend and
Relationships and friendships can increase your resilience and get you through tough times and keep you healthier both physically and mentally.
Once you’ve started building or rebuilding those connections, you’ll have a stronger safety net against depression and anxiety, as well as against physical disorders. You’ll be better able to make it through tough times because you’ve cultivated a group of friends and brothers you can trust, and with whom you can be open and honest.
You don’t have to do it alone.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to make friends as a guy, we have resources designed to connect you with other men in the same boat.
By joining a men’s group, you’ll connect with other men who want to create relationships, better express their emotions and build lasting bonds. Through our EVRYMAN online membership platform, you can take the first steps toward creating those friendships you’ve missed. Give it a try today.