Male Friendships

Steve Arterburn

Roscoe and Arnie were friends for forty-five years.  They met at work, played golf together every Saturday, and played poker with a few other guys on Tuesday nights.  When they retired, they started playing golf together three times a week.

When Roscoe was diagnosed with colon cancer, he bravely endured chemotherapy and two surgeries before he passed away at age sixty-eight.  After the funeral, the minister, who knew both men only casually, said to Arnie, ‘You men have been close friends for two-thirds of your lives.  Roscoe must have confided in you about his hope for recovery, his fear of dying, and his remorse at leaving his wife behind.’  ‘Nope, Reverend,’ Arnie replied, wiping the tears from his eyes. ‘We talked about golf, fishing, poker, and work.  We didn’t talk about what we were afraid of. We were good friends, Reverend, but we weren’t brothers.’  

Unfortunately, many men view their friendships with other men the way Roscoe and Arnie viewed theirs.  For them, a friend is someone who enjoys working, fishing, playing golf or racing stock cars with.  But the relationship rarely gets much deeper than what they do together.  The macho code of mythical masculinity prevents them from revealing their fears, dreams, weaknesses, mistakes, or hurts to each other.  

Today’s man would do much better at handling the stresses of life if he had some friends who were more like brothers:  men to whom he could bare his soul and still be completely accepted.  Do you have a friend like that?

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