Mak­ing friends not al­ways easy for men

Taupo Times - - FOLLOWS IN PARENTS’ FOOTSTEPS CARE OF BUSINESS - LEE SUCK­LING

OPIN­ION: One in eight men has no close friends. This fig­ure was un­cov­ered in re­search by the Movem­ber Foun­da­tion, and it’s be­lieved that men strug­gle to main­tain (and make new) friend­ships with other men dur­ing their 20s through to late mid­dle age.

Most friend­ships be­tween men are based on a sense of ca­ma­raderie, and this is eas­ily born in com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ments.

Whether it be on a footy field or in the sales depart­ment of a big cor­po­rate of­fice, com­pet­i­tive spa­ces en­able males’ re­la­tion­ships with each other to thrive.

With an air of ri­valry yet a tan­gi­ble com­mon in­ter­est, such places are prime breed­ing ground for guys to bond.

Out­side of these non­com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ments, it’s tough for men to make friends.

In the US, for ex­am­ple, it’s quite com­mon to sit alone at a bar and chat to others who might come your way.

In New Zealand, that’s cul­tur­ally frowned upon. Any ‘‘loner’’ try­ing to talk to strangers over a pint risks be­ing con­sid­ered a weirdo.

Our na­tion’s cap­i­tal presents a dif­fi­culty in the friend-mak­ing and re­tain­ing sphere. I’ve lived in and out of Welling­ton for five years, and come to ex­pect a 20 per cent at­tri­tion rate of mates ev­ery year.

That is, I can re­li­ably say one in five friends leaves the city an­nu­ally, mak­ing my friend­ship group ever-di­min­ish­ing.

For this rea­son it’s im­por­tant to al­ways try to make new friends.

When peo­ple typ­i­cally only stick around for two or three years in a city such as Welling­ton, you must con­stantly be on the look­out; or else you’ll end up as one of those guys who has no close friends at all.

Trou­ble is, when you work from home like me, are only in­ter­ested in solo sports and ex­er­cise, and know peo­ple aren’t re­cep­tive to the ea­ger friend­maker down the pub, your op­tions are lim­ited.

In 2015, my en­tire group of friends moved over­seas. They were all reach­ing the cut-off age to qual­ify for UK work­ing hol­i­day visas, and knew it was then or never.

Lit­er­ally ev­ery guy was gone: off to bank­ing jobs in Lon­don and week­end jaunts to Barcelona.

It took a solid, lonely year to build my cir­cle of friends back up af­ter that dire sit­u­a­tion.

Rather than find my­self a new group of guys to slot into, I hedged my bets on in­di­vid­u­als who wouldn’t join a mass ex­o­dus be­cause a) they didn’t re­ally know each other, b) like me, they’d done their OEs, and c) they owned houses so were sad­dled with mort­gages and tied to the city for a good long while.

I met them all not at bars or sports fields, but at par­ties.

I lit­er­ally spent an en­tire sea­son of Fri­day and Sat­ur­day nights with an ex­plicit goal of meet­ing new peo­ple.

It’s 2017 now and I can say I have about five close male friends. But I don’t con­sider my­self home and hosed. As our paths and cir­cum­stances evolve, I’ll still ex­pect to lose one of them ev­ery year.

As such, I still see it wis­est to RSVP ‘‘yes’’ to ev­ery party I get in­vited to.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Re­mem­ber to send your let­ter to the edi­tor to daniel.hutchin­son@

fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz or post to Taupo Times, PO Box 205, Taupo.

123RF

What do you do when all your mates move over­seas?

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