Who You Gonna Call? No One

Periodically taking stock can bring to light aspects of your life you’ve been overlooking. 

We’re all busy, right? Sometimes it’s difficult to spend time alone with our thoughts. Even uncomfortable. But it needs to be done. 

Recently, I sat and I thought and reflected on the last fifteen years of my life and sort of looked around the room in bewilderment as I came to a startling, sobering, conclusion:

I have no friends. 

I have acquaintances, sure. Online followers, yeah. And you’re all great. 

But as far as flesh-and-blood friends, especially male ones? People I can call on the phone or meet up with to talk with, laugh, and share hopes and fears and anxieties, knowing I’ll find a supportive ear and a confidant who will tell me what I need, and not want, to hear?

I have one, maybe two. 

Why is that?

If stuff I read is to be believed (hint: it’s usually not, but bear with me), men are really bad at forming and maintaining friendships. Especially in a marriage or other long-term relationship. 

Is this all about gender stereotypes, “Men don’t share feelings!” and all of that? With men killing ourselves at alarming rates (while no one really cares), you’d think we’d be encouraged to form other male friendships. 

But nah. 

Why is that?

It can’t all be “gender stereotypes,” because when I was younger, I had more friends than I could count. I had no problem making and maintaining friends. 

On my 26th birthday, one of my best friends there an impromptu party for me. He just rattled names of close friends of mine off the top of his head. When the guest list was completed, there were 46 people at the restaurant. 

Forty-six! And close fiends, all. 

This was ten years ago. Of those 46, I regularly keep in touch with two of them. 

Two. 

And by “keep in touch” I mean “call once a month, maybe, and text occasionally.”

Why is that?

A lot of it is on me. I’m lazy, I guess. Family and work and other responsibilities take up time and energy. And it’s not hard to feel guilty for hanging out with friends when there are children and spouses and other family members and career-related things one could be spending one’s time on. 

And yet…women seem to have few problems maintaining healthy social circles. 

Why is that?

It’s hard not to feel isolated in modern American society. It’s almost as if the powers-that-be, whomever they are, want men isolated and alone. 

Again, I ask rhetorically, why is that?
Self-reliance is a very masculine trait. And yes, we are all born alone and we all die alone. But self-reliance doesn’t mean living a monastic life. It’s still good to have a group, a tribe, to talk to, to support you, to hold you accountable. 

Thank God for the Internet. Friendships made here aren’t perfect substitutes for those in the real world, but they do provide strength and inspiration and a sounding board.

Maybe some of them will spill over into the real world. Who knows? The stigma surrounding this seems to be fading. 

On my 36th birthday later this year, I’ll likely be with my wife and my son again. I don’t want birthday presents. I don’t want cake. I don’t even want a card. 

But sometimes . . . sometimes I do think it would be nice if there were 46 other people willing to come hang out with me. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Who You Gonna Call? No One

  1. I know what you mean. As we get older and form new groups (family), it gets harder to maintain friendships. My two closest friends and I mostly just game together online now and then and use gchat or email. You’re right that the internet really helps.

    I don’t remember my dad having any good friends that he saw often. I was told that the guy he considered his best friend lived on a farm in some far-off state (I was too young to remember which one now). They rarely talked anymore, but still considered each other to be close friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      It’s weird, isn’t it? And yet, think about the women in your life: Lots of friends, I’ll bet. It is a gender-specific thing? A society thing? Both? Neither?

      Either way, the Internet helps mitigate a lot of this. It’s imperfect, but it’s better than nothing.

      Like

  2. I’ve thought about this, a bit. I think it’s one of those sociocultural phenomena that’s likely varied in its textures and rich in its layers — a bit too complex and case-by-case to summarize, or pin down to a particular ’cause’ or two.

    Nonetheless.

    Maintaining friendships takes effort. I know I am *horrible* at simply texting people, starting conversations unsolicited, and asking how people are doing (how they’re _really_ doing). And, yet, if I really wanted a friend, isn’t that all it takes, too? Occasional texting? Maybe, once in a grand while, meeting for a meal or other social occasion?

    Having a family makes it more difficult, sure, but not impossible. I think there’s also just an underlying, unspoken contentment — a sort of ‘okayness’ with having fewer deep friendships. Perhaps it’s a season-of-life thing, too. Or maybe that’s just it for me; there was a time that I needed (perceived a need?) more in-depth friendships, and that time has passed. Maybe we get poured into for a while, then it takes time to shift into pouring into others.

    Or something. I dunno. But I enjoyed your thoughts here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      You’re absolutely right that there is a lot to it. I’m probably missing something. It has to be more than a “guy” thing, because we all had lots of friends in our youth (think high school or college friends; close-knit, right?). Then something happens and both the impetus and the perceived need for friendship dries up…and then here we are.

      Maybe it is as easy as texting and calling. With all of this *communications* technology, isn’t it crazy how phone calls feel so annoying and intrusive?

      And who knows? Maybe in old age, these types of friendships will be picked up again.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s