It takes a surprising amount of courage to open up and reach out to other men – after all, it requires fighting against years of social coding and gender expectations.By trying to foster a more intimate bond with somebody, you’re tacitly making yourself vulnerable and admitting to weaknesses, which is part of how men lose status amongst other men.

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And I don’t mean someone you game with or go out on the town or the ever classic “help you move bodies”. Having few intimate friends is quite literally dangerous to your health.

How many of you have a friend – or several friends – who you can go to when you need help. Studies have found that people with fewer close friends tended to have a greater risk of death.

Just as with romantic relationships, you’ll have to be willing to communicate your needs and explain how you feel and what you want. You’ll feel like you’re the only one out there who feels this way.

People who you thought were your friends may pull back because they can’t handle that level of openness and honesty.

Worse, other men might push back, trying to shore up their man-cred at the expense of yours.

It can be hard, even for guys who want a closer friendship, to deliberately lower one’s guard and not lash out from sheer instinct rather than consciously rejecting someone. Better to get drunk first, so at least you can blame your sudden shameful lack of masculinity on the alcohol.

It’s a cultural issue, part of the kabuki theater of gender roles that we still live by – men are the doers while women are the nurturers. Women are from greater levels of emotional intimacy, especially with other men. As I’ve mentioned before, men are taught to be disconnected from their emotions. and that’s pretty much just as femme-y as the other guy, so clearly the two of you might as well go out back and blow each other, right?

Sharing is weakness, and weakness is something to be avoided among men. Since men are socialized to not be connected with our emotions – outside, of course, from anger and lust – we tend to from seeking emotional intimacy outside of their relationship; many people feel as though this were a potential threat to their romantic bond. (Interestingly, there is even some of this amongst gay men; there are subsets of gay men who try to compensate against the stereotype of being “queeny” by trying to be hypermasculine and straight-presenting as possible…

And it doesn’t help that we have precious few societal models for male intimacy that isn’t overtly romantic or played for bad comedy Sure,you’re allowed to let your guard down if you’ve fought Nazis together or are part of a criminal organization. So, many times are going to have to be the example of how you want others to respond to you. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and be comfortable with letting yourself be vulnerable, with the expectation that there will be people who will misunderstand what you’re doing.