The History and Nature of Man Friendships

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 24, 2008 · 60 comments

in Friendship, Relationships & Family

Friendships are an important part of a man’s life. Friends are those men you can count on when the chips are down. They’ll back you up even when the whole world is against you. Friends are those men who will buy you a beer (or a soda) when you lose a job or your lady dumps you. While the man friendship looks like a simple relationship, its history is actually quite interesting and complex. The virtues of duty and loyalty have remained the same guiding principles in man friendships throughout time. However, how men express those principles in a friendship has have gone through fascinating changes in the course of human history.

What follows is a brief history of the man friendship.

The Heroic Friendship

In ancient times, men viewed man friendships as the most fulfilling relationship a person could have. Friendships were seen as more noble than marital love with a woman because women were seen as inferior. Aristotle and other philosophers extolled the virtues of platonic relationships- a relationship of emotional connection without sexual intimacy. Platonic relationships, according to Aristotle, were the ideal.

During this period of time, the idea of the heroic friendship developed. The heroic friendship was a friendship between two men that was intense on an emotional and intellectual level. Examples of heroic friendships exist in many ancient texts from the Bible (David and Jonathan) to ancient Greek writings. A man friendship that captures the essence of the heroic friendship is the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus.

Achilles and Patroclus fought together during the Trojan War and had a close relationship. A really close relationship. When Hector killed Patroclus, Achilles was beside himself for days. He smeared his body in ash and fasted in lamentation. After the funeral, Achilles, filled with a mighty rage, took to the battlefield to avenge the death of his best friend.

The image of Achilles and Patroclus was an important one in the ancient world. When Alexander the Great and his war pal, Hephaestion, passed through Troy, they stopped, with the whole army in tow, in front of the tomb of Achilles and Patroclus, thus demonstrating the veneration they had for these men and their friendship.

Male Friendships in 19th Century America

Man friendships during the 19th century were marked by an intense bond and filled with deeply held feeling and sentimentality. Man friendships in many instances had a similar intensity as romantic relationships between men and women. Essentially, it was a continuation of the heroic friendship of the ancient world, coupled with the emphasis on emotion common to the Romantic Age. A fervent bond did not necessarily imply a sexual relationship; the idea that these ardent friendships in some way compromised a man’s heterosexuality is largely a modern conception.

Men during this time freely used endearing language with each other in daily interaction and letters. For example, Daniel Webster, an American senator and one of this country’s greatest orators, often began his letters to male friends with “My lovely boy,” and ended them with “Very affectionately yours.” Even letters by manly man Theodore Roosevelt to his friends were filled with sentimental language that would make most men today rather uncomfortable.

In addition to using affectionate language with each other, men during the 19th century weren’t afraid to be physically affectionate. Many men would give no thought to draping their arms around their bud or even holding hands. And while it is quite foreign to our modern sensibilities, it was even common during this era for men to share a bed to save money. For example, The Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, shared a bed with a fellow named Joshua Speed for a number of years. Some scholars have concluded that this means Lincoln was gay. That’s where we get the term “Log Cabin Republican.” However most scholars conclude that there was no nookie going on between Abe and Joshua; they simply enjoyed a close and comfortable man friendship.

Take a look at these photos of man friends from the late 19th and early 20th Century. These guys were pretty touchy with each other. In fact, it was these photos that inspired me to write the post. During my weekly searches for vintage pics of men for the blog, I kept on coming across old photographs of men being really affectionate with one another. It’s pretty jarring to our modern man sensibilities:

“You know, Alfred. There is another chair for you.”

“Shut up, Jedidiah.”

Check this out

“Team picture!

“Nothing like smoking cigars and holding hands with my bros.”

“Let’s express our man friendship in the most unnatural and awkward pose possible.”

“Come here you big lug!”

Jim looks down at Cliff with a jealous rage.

“Why does HE always get to hold Frasier and Ralph’s hands?”

Shooting big game and holding hands with my man friends.

Hemingway, eat your heart out, dude.

Some men see these photographs and wrongly conclude that these men were expressing their closeted gay tendencies for the camera. But this is not so. Actually, when you start sifting through old photos, you find that these kinds of poses were not abberations, but were actually quite commonplace. The photos open up a window into a picture of manliness quiet foreign to us now.

There are several reasons why men were so damn affectionate with each other back in the day. First, men were free to have affectionate man relationships with each other without fear of being called a “queer” because the concept of homosexuality as we know it today didn’t exist then. America didn’t have the strict straight/gay dichotomy that currently exists. Affectionate feelings weren’t strictly labeled as sexual or platonic. There wasn’t even a name for homosexual sex; instead, it was referred to as “the crime that cannot be spoken.” It wasn’t until the turn of the 19th century that psychologists started analyzing homosexuality. When that happened, men in America started to become much more self-conscious about their relationships with their buds and traded the close embraces for a stiff pat on the back. The man hug was born.

Another reason for the nineteenth century’s intense man friendships was that the social structure of society during this time helped foster such intense bonds. Men and women basically lived in separate homosocial worlds until they got married. There wasn’t much interaction between the sexes at that time. (Interestingly, this is why amusement parks like those on Coney Island enjoyed such popularity in the early 1900′s; it was one of the few places men and women could mingle freely and even “accidentally” fall into each other’s arms on rides.). This separation led many young men to fulfill their needs for physical affection and emotional companionship with other dudes.

Additionally, fraternal organizations, ranging from the Freemasons to the Odd Fellows, were at their peak in membership in American history. Nearly 1/3 of all American men were members of some fraternal organization at the end of the 19th century. At their lodges, men would bond, connect, and help each other become better men.

Male Friendships in 20th Century America

The man friendship underwent some serious transformations during the 20th century. Men went from lavishing endearing words on each other and holding hands to avoiding too much emotional bonding or any sort of physical affections whatsoever. Fear of being called gay drove much of the transformation. Ministers and politicians decried homosexuality as being incompatible with true manhood. And like most deviant behavior in the 1950s, homosexuality was associated with Communism.

Additionally, market economics began to influence male friendships. The Industrial Revolution and ideas like Social Darwinism changed the way men viewed each other. Instead of being a potential friend, the man next to you was competition. The world was an urban jungle and the man who looked out for himself was the man who was going to eat. It’s hard to develop the cutthroat instinct needed to destroy the competition when the competition happens to be your bosom buddy.

Increased mobility during the 20th century also contributed the decline in man friendships. When you have to follow your work, it’s hard to set down roots and make true friends. And with the increased leisure time that came with industrialization, men began to play more sports and take part in outdoor activities. They naturally geared their relationships with other men around these sorts of pursuits. Suburbia created other places where men could establish man friendships- the golf course, the front yard, and work. Instead of basing friendships on an emotional bond, men in the 20th century based their friendship around activities.

The one area in modern man friendships where we still see strong emotional bonds is in the military. One of the reoccurring themes I read in stories about a man’s military life are the friendships that they established while in the service. Working in largely all-male teams in life and death situations creates intense bonds and a true brotherhood. Soldiers will never leave a man behind and are willing to die to protect their comrades. Interestingly, it would seem that the overt machismo of the military allows these strong bonds to exist without the fear of homophobia getting in the way. Here’s a particularly touching image of a man friendship among soldiers:

Several man groups have tried to help men more deeply connect with their feelings and with each other. Those movements have, for the most part, not been as successful as people thought they’d be. I think perhaps it is because the whole thing seemed too forced. Sure, today’s man enjoys close camaraderie with his pals; but he doesn’t want to be given cues or told when to get teary eyed and emotional.

What’s So Great About Man Friendships

Today, when a man is free to form close and intimate associations with females, he generally does not feel the need to cuddle with his bosom buddy and express his love.

Except when they’re really really drunk:


Superbad clip

Still, it’s a shame that our society’s rampant homophobia prevents men from connecting with each other on a more emotional and physical level. I’m not talking about crying and holding each others heads in our nooks. Hell no. And I can’t say I pine for the days of friendly bed-sharing. But men, particularly American men, are often missing out on the benefits of close man friendships. Studies reveal that men who have several close friends are generally happier and live longer than men who don’t. And yet research shows the number of friends and confidantes a man has to be steadily dropping, leading to greater isolation and loneliness. Once you leave college, and especially once you get married and have kids, it becomes pretty difficult to make and keep friends. But the effort is worth it.

In talking to my wife about the differences between man friendships and female friendships, she helped me flesh out several of the admirable qualities of friendship between dudes:

True loyalty. A lot of my female friends will complain about one or more of their boyfriend’s or husband’s friends. The disliked friend will usually be a guy the husband/boyfriend has known since high school or even longer. The woman will be baffled as to why her husband or boyfriend is still friends with this character when on the surface they no longer have much in common. These women miss the nature of man friendships; it’s all about loyalty.

Non-judgmental. Dudes really aren’t very sensitive or critical of each other. Several times at the gym I have seen a really fit guy helping his fat friend get in shape. But I’ve never seen this dynamic among women. A guy can say, “Hey man, do you need help with that? Let’s work on it together,” without the man getting offended and saying something like, “What? You think I’m fat? I can’t believe you think I’m fat!”

Straightforward. When a guy is bothered by something that his friend is doing, he simply tells his friend, they discuss it, sometimes heatedly, and then move on. A man generally does not keep burning angst bottled up inside, waiting to explode. And when men no longer get along, they most often simply go their separate ways without much muss or fuss. Not so, for a lot of the female friendships I have seen (not all ladies, not all!). A lot of women, and sorry ladies, it’s true, are down right cruel to each other. They not only part ways, but engage in emotional warfare designed to crush each other’s spirit. Guys keep things pretty straightforward; we like each other, cool, we no longer get along, see ya.

It has been said that female friendships can be pictured as two women facing one another, while male friendships can be symbolized as two men standing side by size, looking outwards. So here’s to having a buddy, a brother to take on the world with. Long live man friendship.

Sources:

John Isbon, Picturing Men: A Century of Male Relationships in Everyday American Photography (University of Chicago Press, 2006)

E. Anthony Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity From the Revolution to the Modern Era (Basic Books, 1994).

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Phoebe August 24, 2008 at 10:29 pm

This is great. I’ve seen some great friendships between my guy friends. And I know from watching my brothers, that though they want to have a real, loyal, and affectionate relationship, it’s hard to find. Fortunately, they can be that for each other. Like you said, this kind of man friendship is basically just that: brotherhood. It’s a wonderful thing.

2 Shatt August 25, 2008 at 12:26 am

My best friend from my high school days has since relocated out of state and damned far away, but we still are able to keep connected on the phone and via IM programs.

And the few times we manage to get together? Just like he never left. Homefries and I haven’t lived in the same city for almost 4 years now but the bond is still there.

3 Jen August 25, 2008 at 2:29 am

No David and Jonathan? Whether or not you think that they were gay, 2 Samuel gives an incredible statement about the bonds that can exist between men.

Real women aren’t cruel to their friends…I think that most of us outgrow that at about 12 years of age, unless we’re incredibly shallow (we also recognize the value of our husband’s male friendships). Friendship builds the participants up, or it’s not worth anything. Don’t be misled by the things that you see in the news about women- most of us are actually fairly decent human beings with a pretty firm grip on reality. And I guess for female friendships, substitute “mothering” for war, and it’s the same type of bond.

Jen

4 Brett August 25, 2008 at 3:40 am

@Jen-David and Johnathan get a shout out under “Heroic Friendship.” And I definitely didn’t base my observation about the occasional meaness of women off the media. It is something I talked to my wife about and have actually witnessed firsthand among adult women. And they weren’t shallow, they just had some intense falling outs. I’m definitely not saying that female friendships aren’t without merit, they have their worthy qualities and flaws just like male friendships do, these are just some things that are great about male friendships.

5 Peter James August 25, 2008 at 4:05 am

I just watched the film Chuck & Larry with Adam Sandler & Kevin James. It was exactly about the bounds of friendship b/t two men who are pretending to be gay, but actually are just getting closer as friends. It was great to watch, and then to read this post on the long history leading up to it was the icing on the cake :)

http://yinvsyang.com/

6 Darren August 25, 2008 at 5:24 am

Great post. I am a Freemason and found the kind of brotherhood that I hadn’t experienced since I left the U.S. Navy. The Freemasons are still “making good men better”. In Massachusetts, lodges have open houses, called “Square and Compasses” days, usually about two per year, where men can come in and meet the guys and find out about the Fraternity. Of course, you don’t have to wait, all one has to do is ask a Mason, or go to the web site of the Grand Lodge of their State. For me, the most striking thing about it, is how every Mason you meet is happy to call you “Brother”. 2B1 Ask 1

7 Brett August 25, 2008 at 5:40 am

@Peter James-Actually I watched Chuck and Larry this weekend too. The commercials had made it look kind of dumb, but I enjoyed it.

@Darren-The Freemasons are awesome. I’d love to be one someday and I think all men should at least look into it to see if it is for them.

8 Granata August 25, 2008 at 5:45 am

I really enjoyed reading this post. My buddy (closest male friend I have, incidentally) were just yesterday discussing how odd it is to us that the men we know from Africa are way into holding hands. While I’m not in a hurry to skip down the sidewalk with my friend, fingers intertwined, I do appreciate how close we are.

Your comment about friends drifting once marriage and especially kids happens is a true and unfortunate part of life. It makes me want to join a fraternity so that there is a designated time for hanging with those guys.

9 Brett August 25, 2008 at 5:57 am

@Granata-

Yeah, I had friend who spent two years in Africa doing missionary work, and the African missionaries with which he was paired would hold his hand wherever they walked. At first my friend was totally uncomfortable with this, but after awhile, he started to dig it and it seemed perfectly normal.

10 Daniel August 25, 2008 at 6:04 am

Wow. fascinating stuff. This is why I love AoM. It’s well-written, it’s well-researched, and it talks about subjects you can’t find elsewhere on the web. Great job.

11 Cameron Schaefer August 25, 2008 at 6:22 am

Great post and equally insightful comments! So glad to see that AoM readers are a cut above the often childish and snarky audience that many blogs seem to attract. Keep on bringing it strong! And long live the man hug!

12 Writer Dad August 25, 2008 at 6:35 am

The best friend I ever had, until I met my wife, was my friend Jimmy. We were the best of friends all through junior high and high school (a la superbad). We shared everything and did everything together. A lot of people made fun of us. It’s fine with me now, as it was then. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

13 Paul Mac August 25, 2008 at 6:36 am

Great article, Brett. Can I recommend you now write a companion piece on how to find and build great male friendships? I think most married men would benefit from having a great male friend or two, but you get to a stage in your life where you forget how to make and sustain new friendships, or are too self-conscious to, and tend to rely on your work colleagues as your friends.

14 Brett August 25, 2008 at 6:40 am

@Daniel and Cameron-Thanks!

@Writer Dad-Do you still keep in touch with Jimmy?

@Paul Mac-That’s a great idea and I will definitely do it. I’m definitely in that exact stage of life that you describe. When you get married and especially if you then move, it’s hard to establish new man friends, and you practically forget how to, like you said.

15 Sawicki August 25, 2008 at 7:20 am

@Jen – As a female, my experiences with my female friends have often been horrifying. My most recent story is a woman who after 5 years just one day up and decided I was an inconvenience. (I was staying at her house for a couple of weeks while apartment hunting and she threw me out. I was several states away from home with no place to stay.) And don’t even ask about high school. I’m always jealous of how men will stick by each other and voice their concerns about each other without venom and move on instead of saying “F*** it, I’m sick of them now” and toss away a human being. I’ve recently been sticking to male friends only these days.

My first visit to this site, and a great article. A couple of years ago I met a guy from Saudi Arabia who told me he wanted to get a puppy, but his friends here told him that men with puppies were gay @_@ I think no matter what a guy does, someone somewhere is going to assume he’s gay.

16 Hayden Tompkins August 25, 2008 at 7:45 am

This is such a great post. Men definitely need to maintain friendships with other men, especially after they are married. I think women can get distracted by the ‘guys night out’. It isn’t necessarily about going out with just any guys, but men with whom you have developed deep friendships.

I suddenly have the urge to see “Secondhand Lions” again!

17 Will August 25, 2008 at 8:50 am

Thank you, Brett. (And I echo Paul. Friendship is one of the things I want to expand in my life.)

18 Tyler @ Building Camelot August 25, 2008 at 9:54 am

In Stu Weber’s book, The Four Pillars Of A Man’s Heart, one of the pillars is friendship. If any of the four pillars is out of balance, men aren’t as strong as we can be and we tend to overcompensate in some other way.

It seems as I get older, it’s harder to make friends. Between work, kids, diapers and everything else, there just doesn’t seem to be any time to find friends let alone grow and keep friends. They are probably just as busy as you are!

This is a great article because it comes at a time when I’m really trying to make some good friends that I can lean on and who can lean on me…it’s certainly not going to be easy, but as a father I think it’s very important for my wife and kids as well.

19 Katie August 25, 2008 at 10:47 am

@ Jen

I agree…most portrayals of women being catty and cruel are a result of the entertainment industry or are what we outgrow after highschool. I’m a 25 year old female and I have some of the best friendships a gal could ask for. Do we fight? sure, but I’d like to think that at 25 I’m mature enough to discuss my issues with them rather than lower myself to petty name-calling and back-stabbing. It is true that men rarely resort to such tactics, but in all honestly after I graduated high school I’ve rarely seen a woman be such a way with her friends. Of course I am talking about real friendships here, not those superficial plastic-based morons you see at night clubs who’s definition of “friendship” means some chick that can help her manipulate men and then later discard. I’m speaking from a mature women’s standpoint who’s friendships carry a little more weight to them.

Most women restort to having a majority of male friends or use the tiring phrase “I have more guy friends because I can’t stand girls” because they don’t put any effort into finding the right female friends. I mean friendship is exactly like dating, not every person is going to be a perfect match, you have to put some effort into it and frankly I think guys are better at this. They simply think “yeah that guys sucks” and move on where women are more likely to try and change their friends or mold them to be what they need.

Ok I’ll stop rambling, but nice article, sometimes I wish women could form the friendships that men do without the emotional craziness, but eh, then who would I have to gossip to men about?

20 Kate M. August 25, 2008 at 12:39 pm

@Katie

I think every woman has different experiences with female friends. I am a 27 year old female and I have had some wonderful female friends and I have had some crazy cruel female friends. And the latter were post high school experiences, so it is not simply a matter of being an immature high school thing.

I’ve had best girlfriends and best guy friends, and I have to say I prefer the latter. Not because I did not put enough effort into finding the right female friends, my female friends were great, but simply because even the great ones sometimes were unnecessarily dramatic at times. With guy friends there was a refreshing straightforwardness that mirrored my own instead of the drama/fight/let’s talk about our feelings and make-up cycle of female friends. And again not every female friendship of mine has been like this, but enough that I can say men make better friends. Of course the pickle is that once you get married you can’t really have guy friends anymore. Which is a bummer.

21 Charles August 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Good article. Under heroic friendships you might want to consider Gilgamish and Enkidu–they were buds about a thousand years before Achilles and Patroclus.

It’s not only Victorian friendships that were discussed in such sentimental terms but also those of the Renaissance. Sir Philip Sydney’s sonnet “My true-love hath my heart, and I have his” demonstrates this well.

My true-love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given.
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss:
There never was a bargain better driven.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own;
I cherish his because in me it bides.
His heart his wound received from my sight;
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still, methought, in me his hurt did smart:
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

When I lived in Asia, one of the things I noticed right away was the number of high school and college guys who’d walk down the street holding hands, or soldiers resting on the sidewalks head-to-head with each one’s head on the other’s shoulder (hard to describe, I’d never seen it done before). Even taking naps together. And this were just ordinary, everyday things common to friends. I lived in Asia for over 6 years and I did notice that these displays dwindled the more aware the guys became of Anglo-American culture and the, as you say, homophobia the developed post WWII. (For some additional great photos of friends/camaraderie take a look at At Ease: Navy Men of WWII)

22 Stephen Williamson August 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Not that it really detracts from the article much, but my understanding of Achilles and Patroclus’ relationship put it pretty far from “platonic”.

23 Brett August 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm

@Stephen-

There is a lot of speculation about not only the extent of the Achilles/Patroclus relationship but that of Alexander and Hephaestion, Johnathan and David, Lincoln and Steed. But the burden of proof rests on those who would make these relationships out to be homosexual in nature and it simply can’t be proven either way.

24 Britt August 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm

I would like to point out that a lot of what you are talking about is limited to the USA… When I was in Argentina it was NORMAL for two close male friends, str8 male friends, to kiss upon meeting. On the mouth, no tongue, just a kiss. It is also common to hold hands, that is also common in Arab countries, for men who are friends to hold hands.

Being from the USA it sorta surprised me the first time one of my Argentine friends hollered out with joy at seeing that I had returned to Mar Del Plata, and came up to me with a big bear hug and a kiss, his wife was a little more reserved as a kiss on the mouth from her, in front of him, would have been the sincerest insult, but I didn’t duck or dodge, just hugged him back and tryed to remember, “When in Rome…” My gal at the time (from Bahia Blanca) later told me she thought that might happen and that she was so proud of me, because she had lived in the USA long enough to know that we from the North are not so expressive…

So, male friendships that you describe are not so uncommon, just not in the USA…

Oh, and sleeping in the same bed… well, back in the 19th century it was completely common for strangers to share a bed in rooming houses or boarding houses… You see, back then a bed was considered to be a piece of furniture for sleeping on, not like today when we also consider it to be a sexual stage.

25 Britt August 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Soldiers…

When I was in the 10th Mountain Division, many times you would cuddle up with your buddy or buddies, not for any other reason that it was cold and you were tired and you wanted to get some sleep without dying of hypothermia… One night on a night attack we were out on a frozen lake, about 15 of us, and we had about two hours before beginning a coordinated attack, So we set out sentries, and the other 8 of us cuddled up in a pile on the ice, got an hour of sleep, then replaced the sentries and they did the same…

No one thought about who was or was not gay, or whether or not some outside observer might think about that, we were just cold, tired and miserable, so you got some sleep if you could.

26 Virilitas August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm

The photos in this post really enhance your writing on this topic; I have really liked the soldiers photo ever since I saw it in your other article. Also, you might find my related post interesting: Why are Men Closer in Other Countries?.

27 Paul Mac August 26, 2008 at 2:27 am

@Brett – I think so many men who want to be good husbands and fathers think they’re doing a good thing by devoting themselves to their families and not maintaining or seeking good male friends. My wife is definitely my best friend, but I’ve realized I need some guys just to hang with, talk to, be stupid with sometimes. And my marriage would be better for it.

But how do you do it? It’s a bit like love – you can’t just go out there and find a best friend. There’s so much serendipity involved. So, right now, I’m just doing my best to be the kind of person who is a good friend (looking at stuff like overcoming my shyness with new people, being more open, listening to other people, working out how to find find common interests ) and adding one or two close male friends to the list of stuff I’m asking God for right now. Haha.

But it’s encouraging to hear that there are others who feel like they want to find new friends once they’re married. I sometimes get the impression I’m too late to the party and everyone’s already got their established friendships.

28 Mr. Sweet August 26, 2008 at 7:39 am

@Paul Mac — You’ve somehow captured my thoughts on this subject perfectly. I’ve seen other men who seem to have a wealth of genuine friends and it is something to which I aspire. I’m married five years now, as is my best friend growing up. Our relationship has devolved over time, simply due to life’s other demands. It is one of the sadder aspects of my life. I recognize the need to cultivate new friendships. My challenge is to do so without it seeming awkward and forced, as you allude to. This best friend who I reference threw up on my head in kindergarten. True story. We became fast friends, and there is your serendipity, albeit the more disgusting variety.

29 mVerna August 26, 2008 at 7:45 am

To augment your article, according to the Civil War era author of the book, “Co. Aytch” Sam R. Watkins had mentioned that during one of the engagement in Tennessee, one of his friends was mortally hit, and how he and his other friends took time out to kiss him on the mouth to bid him goodbye, for they know they wouldn’t see him in his mortal coil any longer.

Uncomfortable to read, yet very touching.

Docconicus

30 opi August 26, 2008 at 9:15 am

One of best writeups I read this month. Congratulation.

31 Aaron August 26, 2008 at 6:33 pm

The more casual physical contacts of male friends in the past have been used by modern homosexual advocates to claim various historical and fictional figures as gay, usually as a way to rationalize their behavior. For instance, they try to claim President Lincoln was gay because a Secret Service agent once slept in the same bed as Lincoln. Homo-activists also claimed homosexual overtones in “Moby Dick” because of the passage where Ishmael slept in the same bed as Queequeg.

32 Chris August 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

I recently discovered this website, and I look forward to reading more excellent articles just like this one. As a guy who gets labelled as “gay”, I agree that many gay activists (or people in general) go overboard when they interpret any intimacy or effeminate characteristics among guys as a sign that they’re gay. I used to think I was “born gay” because I certainly didn’t “choose” to develop these attractions towards other men. Now I’m more open to the possibility that some guys get labelled (and sometimes label themselves) as gay BECAUSE of the lack of healthy male intimacy in their formative years and the confusion they faced when they developed strong affections for another guy.

Now, as an adult who has moved far away from his hometown, I find that most of my close friends are either gay men or straight women. I feel this need to develop more friendships with straight guys and experience healthy male intimacy that I didn’t have growing up, but I wonder how straight guys would feel about having a guy like me as a friend. I do have a sordid past, so an intimate friend would eventually learn about it.

33 Max Hydrogen August 27, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Whilst working a factory job, I met a co-worker from the Democratic Republic of Congo who had worked as a pilot for the U.N. I got to know him a little and one day whilst we were returning from break he started holding my hand… At the time I did not know it was a sing of respect and especially in the environment of a minimum salary blue collar factory I was scared to death that the other workers would see us hand in hand so I pulled my hand away and he grabbed it again. Yet again I pulled it away.

Later on I learned that it was just part of his culture and he was actually showing me his esteem. I feel really bad if I offended him.

34 Will August 28, 2008 at 12:47 am

@Chris, good luck to you. I’m sure there are many who can overlook a sordid past in a friend. After all, it’s past, so it won’t involve *them*. At least, that’s how I think I would feel.

35 Matt in NZ August 28, 2008 at 5:39 pm

I just happened across this blog by linking from another (you know how these things go). It’s fantastic. What amazes me even more is that there are men out there who obviously miss the comraderie and unique close friendship that a male friend can offer.

I am gay (yet strangely manly!) so much of the hugging stuff doesn’t really bother me. What I want to say however, is that I have several straight male friends who also have no problems with hugging me or demonstrating affection in a physical way. I guess this is testament to the fact that they know and trust me, and that they are very secure in their own sexuality. Sure – I wind them up every now and again – after all what are gay friends for – but they take it in good humour and often reciprocate the humour (as do their wives and partners). Mates – gay or straight – maketh the man…

36 Tom August 29, 2008 at 6:49 am

I find that in my country (UK), men have these strong bonds but choose to express them in different, and fairly odd ways. Often my closest friends will greet me with an insult, and then announce that he did something terrible to my mother, to which I reciprocate in kind. Obviously if a casual friend had said those things it would be no laughing matter, but insulting each other in an amusing (albeit childish) way is a form of showing trust in each other.

There was an incident years ago involving two Manchester United footballers. During a match, one of the footballers (Paul Ince) was called a ‘black c***’ by an opposing player, and after the match went out on the town with his team mates. As he and another player (Mark Hughes) were coming out of a nightclub, Hughes put his arm around Ince and jokingly slurred, ‘take me home you black c***!’. A black doorman overheard this, took great offence and grabbed Hughes by the throat, and only let go when Ince told him, ‘It’s ok, he’s my mate! He can call me whatever he wants!’

You may find this sort of thing deeply immature and childish, but I think it shows that male friendship can be a strange and beautiful thing.

37 Danny August 30, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Just discovered AoM yesterday. I’m really impressed.

You know it’s funny, I was at a party the other day and I was sitting next to one of my close friends. Just for the shock value to the people around us, I reached out and held his hand in mid-conversation. A couple of people laughed and it did the trick. But after awhile things just continued normally. And only later on, when all the shock value had gone away and one of us had to get up to use the bathroom, did we realize that we’d been holding hands for almost an hour.

I care deeply about the women and men in my life. And ladies, say what you will, but just as there are wonderful aspects that are found exclusively in female friendships, there are also some wonderful bonds that can only be found in male relationships, and there is nothing wrong with celebrating them.

Great article!

38 Sky September 1, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I like this article a lot. Awesome job unpacking the way men’s friendships have changed over time, with attention to the social construction of gay identity.

I just wish that at the end, you hadn’t digressed into comparing man friendships with friendships between women, because in so doing, you oversimplify the latter. Just because YOU’VE never seen a certain dynamic among women doesn’t mean it exists. The “men are from mars, women are from venus” attitude is so reductionistic.

39 Tim Woolery September 3, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Some of the best words I’ve found on the same topic come from Somerville, MA and a Best-of-Craigslist post that discusses the differences between “friends” and “mates”. I’ve never forgotten it.

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/bos/367672638.html

40 Ryan Shelton September 9, 2008 at 10:44 am

Great article. It reminded me of the Authorized Biography of JRR Tolkien. He was of a generation of men that knew what male bonding and manly friends were about.

It also reminded me of the great fictional friendship between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin (in the Patrick O’Brian series). Often Maturin refers to Jack as “My Dear” in writing and person.

41 alex October 4, 2008 at 4:05 pm

ive had the same two friends since grade school, weve been like brothers since the day we met, we are so close as friends have acted way in public that would make us look gay to the average american man, this article hit the nail on the head how phenomenal a male friendship can be can recover from anything and be stronger than ever.

42 Brucifer October 24, 2008 at 11:27 am

Excellent article! I too, miss the strong bonding experienced in the military.

Also, my unit had a number of gays and it was not so much a matter of “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell” as it was of Don’t Give A Flipin Shit. I clearly remember holding and comforting a gay military comrade whose long-time lover had just died in a freakish accident during a field training exercise. The entire unit, officers and enlisted, deeply mourned the deceased, who had long held the reputation as the finest soldier among us.

Please know that I am also gratified at the civil, genteel and often erudite comments on this blog. It is a quite refreshing change from the boorish juvenility evidenced elsewhere.

43 Bud Robinson March 23, 2009 at 9:40 am

I just saw the flick, “I Love You, Man.” The movie puts a really interesting spin on the male-male bond. It’s hysterical because after seeing it last night and reading this article today, I realize the friends I have now will be forever there for me.

“I Love You, Man” makes it cool to tell your friends that you love them, although it is still a weird thing to hear or say. But having two of my oldest friends in town this weekend made the movie so much more than just a comedy.

44 Edgar June 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm

This article brought up significant points that seem to be invisible to us with the modern-day acceptance of that most unmanly of all activities: homosexuality. In the 19th century, homosexuality was simply unthinkable and unimaginable for the vast majority of people (which is not to say that there was no homosexual activity). It is precisely because homosexuality was mentally non-existent that men could, for example, share a bed.

I will quote from A Requiem for Friendship: Why Boys Will Not Be Boys & Other Consequences of the Sexual Revolution, a thought-provoking article showing how the sexual revolution in general, and homosexual liberation in particular, have been harmful for men, boys, and male relationships.

“What is more, those who will suffer most from this movement [i.e., the sexual revolution and its concomitant homosexual liberation] are precisely those whom our society, stupidly considering them little more than pests or dolts, has ignored. I mean boys.

“How is this so? Return to the example of Lincoln. His age was surely not more tolerant of homosexuality or of sexual deviancy generally than is ours: Accounts of the Civil War show young men brought to the brink of blackest despair by their inability to break the habit of self-abuse. How, then, if deviancy was such a reproach, could Lincoln risk sharing a bed with a man and having the fact be publicly known? But that is precisely the point. Only in such a case is the bed-sharing possible.

“I am sorry to have to use strong language, but only when sodomy is treated as a matter of course for everyone (as in the institutionalized buggery of boys and young men in ancient Sparta) or when it is met with such opprobrium that nobody would assume that a good man would engage in it, could Lincoln and his friend share that bed without suffering ridicule. The stigma against sodomy cleared away ample space for an emotionally powerful friendship that did not involve sexual intercourse, exactly as the stigma against incest allows for the physical and emotional freedom of a family.

“…The libertinism of our day thrusts boys and girls together long before they are intellectually and emotionally ready for it, and at the same time the defiant promotion of homosexuality makes the natural and once powerful friendships among boys virtually impossible.”

45 Andrew Brinkerhoff October 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm

I have to add that my thinking on male friendship was helped immensely by C.S. Lewis’ discourse on it in his wonderful book “The Four Loves.” A fine bit of concise, layman’s level philosophy on the different kinds of relationships, including an analysis of the dire straits modern men are in due to the castigation of close male friendship in our day.

46 ManInTheMaking October 22, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Personally, I’m sick of these modern concepts of male friendship. It’s way too uncomfortable, and even feels unnatural, because of homophobia. Emotional and physical bonding is something that has lacked in my relationships and now I regret how shallow my friendships really are. I’m working on it though. A real man shouldn’t be afraid of close friendships. It takes strong effort though, especially in this modern world. Let’s go deeper and form real manly companionship!

47 Rahul January 11, 2010 at 8:07 am

Hey,

Am a long-time reader from India and got to say, I love your website but I felt compelled to comment on this article giving my perspective as an Indian (or let’s just say non-westerner). I was in the US for two years and have travelled extensively, so can talk about the differences in attitude.

In India, it used to be common to see close male friends holding hands while walking, to have a hand on each other’s shoulder or hug each otehr when meeting. This was because, a) there was limited interaction between men and women and so a man’s best friends were invariably his mates and b) Because the concept of homosexuality or even of homophobia was not on anyone’s mind ie: it was not even thought possible. (of course, it must have existed but basically lurking in the shadows).

On the contrary, since we have been a traditional and conservative society, it would be scandalous for an unmarried man or woman to be hugging each other (because here there was always the possibility of sexual relations : a big NO-NO between an unmarried man and woman). So in fact, we were the opposite case ie: there would never be man-woman friendships as there would always be a suspicion of something going on which did not have social sanction and in a sense a man would never appreciate a woman for her personality but only for her physical beauty. Myself having grown-up at a certain time, like it or not, am sometimes uncomfortable with the concept of pure friendship between a man and a woman. I am not saying this is good, just pointing out the difference in mentality.

Unfortunately, today with the flattening of the world and the ready access to and influence of western or american culture this easy familiarity between male youngsters has dissapeared from our bigger cities, though thankfully is alive an well in our smaller cities, where it is not uncommon to see young men unselfconciously hold hands etc. However, this leads western tourists to think that most Indians are gay.That’s crazy.

Personally, I feel much more fulfilled from my male friendships due to one simple reason outlined in the article: LOYALTY. The concept of standing by your mate through thick and thin and against the entire world if necessary is something I feel u can only get through male-male friendships and I have been lucky enough to find a few friends like that. On the other hand, I have seen too many so called male female friendships get ruined by one person getting attracted to the other or it being like a one-way exchange ie: I have seen quite a few of my male friends being used in one way or another by girls helping them in various ways around the house, explaining concepts at work, protecting them when drinking etc…all in the name of friendship.

Perhaps my thoughts are skewed in one way , based purely on personal experience and conditioning. But I would say go for male friendships guys. They can be deep and can help you weather many a storm.

Regards,
Rahul

48 Leo Gomez April 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I lived in Guangzhou, China from August 2006-October 2009. The newness of seeing guys holding hands was at first, a shock. I taught school there and some of my male students also held hands. I got use to it, and came to realize there was nothing wrong with. I too held hands with some of my male students more for a “I will take care of you” feeling, more than anything else. It’s a shame that we have lost any emotional ties with men in the USA.

49 Mark June 19, 2010 at 8:43 am

I think that males in America for the sake of their sons and new generation need to make a conscious effort to step out of the homophobic prison that we have been living under. Fortunately, I have a lot of friends who have no problem hugging, kissing hello or good bye and telling each other that they love each other during times that are seemingly appropriate. None of us are gay. It might be because the majority of us being Italian, Spanish and Portuguese have been raised with this but interestingly enough, our friends who are not seem to really enjoy expressing thier feelings for one another. It is sad when everything a guy does is overanalyzed to death and considered gay or odd. It needs to stop for the sake of the next generation who seemingly today can not build male friendships and seem so isolated because they are afraid of labels. I also think that the homosexual movement in this country has confused people into believing that any non sexual display of affection between men is a sign that there is some sexual feeling. It is wrong and it is misleading and it should be dismissed as ignorance.

50 Jay M October 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I was doing research for a project and this was in the list of results. I can give maybe a different perspective on male relationships. I am gay. You’d think gay guys have the best relationships ever. While a tiny percentile do. Most don’t. The gay culture is extremely shallow. It is based on age, looks, body and penis size and not necessarily in that order. I can say this without hesitation because it is true. I’ve been out for 24 years. Gay society is incredibly segregated and hopelessly intolerant. The only thing that allows any crossover is cash or a derivative thereof (i.e. fame, position, family name, nice car). The only thing that trumps cash is if you have 10plus in all the aforementioned items. The 10plus scenario usually allows you to accumulate cash from any number of sources. So it is an equation that invariably includes money. Genuine friendships in the gay world are few and far between and are very often looked upon as a liability. Most every guy is either a potential sex partner or competition.

From the outside straight men think gay men just love straight women as friends. I can honestly say every gay man has done or is doing the fag hag schtick. It usually doesn’t end well. Gay culture is very misogynistic. Gays and lesbians don’t hang out together that often either, FYI. I don’t know a single lesbian, let alone have one as a friend. It doesn’t work very well. You’ve heard the saying men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Well multiply that by a trillion and you have the gay lesbian dynamic.

I can tell all the straight guys on here that women are terrified of a gay anything getting near their guy. I think that is why they infiltrate the gay camps. I have to admit when I was younger and it was very hip to have a personal fag hag, I helped many a woman screw a guy over. The thing many women resent more than anything is the guy friendship thing. They don’t understand it and will go to extreme lengths to sever it. I have also seen the situation where a woman was rejected in favor of the guy’s best friend.

I had two best friends. One was gay and one was straight. The gay one was not an old boyfriend and there was no sex involved at all. Sex complicates any relationship. Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t in love with the straight guy either. He knew I was gay. I have to tell the truth. While my gay friend knew much about me, he really didn’t know me at all. There is the inherent mistrust in gay culture of being dumped on. So, with any friend, you feed them equal amounts of truth and fiction for the possible, plausible deniability. I did indeed love him very much and I really never had to worry about his stabbing me in the back. He died a few years back of kidney failure due to type 1 diabetes.

The straight guy and I were very close and in actuality he knew me better than the gay friend. I didn’t have to prevaricate with him because he did not move in the same circles. I knew everything about him, to the point of discomfort in some cases. Then he got married and, you guessed it, the wife hated me. I don’t have anyone now and I just feel sort of lost. It’s sad really.

51 VamPie January 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Great article, but I think you’re wrong about female friendship. Female friendship can be just as good, though probably more emotional. Of course there are always disloyal or selfish people around, but it doesn’t mean that true friendship – male or female – cannot exist.

52 RDSW4 March 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Incredible article and I didn’t think there was anyone who thought the way I did. I have longed for a true male friend my entire life and I have a lot of baggage in my life too… and I found onel (A BFF, not more baggage!). He is 20 years younger than I (which is fine) but he thinks along the same lines as everything written above. The thing I did differently this time than what I had done in the past: I was HONEST about myself, my past, everything I have ever done. Totally upfront and let him be the judge. We are practically inseperable now. I am single and he is married with children…but it works well and I have never been happier. We hug, talk about “deep” issues, shake hands a little too often :) and, well, we love each other… deeply. We are not having sex with each other… but we have even said that we are “married without the other stuff”. I have made it my goal to make my time with my BFF time where he doesn’t have to deal with the same drama he gets with family (sometimes I fail) but my Best Friend forgives me when I fall, as I forgive him and we move on…closer than we were before. I didn’t know just how much I had been missing in my life until I met my Best Friend and I will cherish him until the day I die and I don’t hesitate to tell anyone who will listen about my awesome Best Friend. Thanks again for the great article.

53 Denis March 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I have spent my youth and adult with either living abroad and serving in the US Armed Forces. Like Brett, we cuddeled up for warmth, held each other when one needed it. Watched as our comrades lay dying etc. I lived in Europe for so many years, went to the nude family baths etc. Have shared the same bed on many occasions with other males. Neither I nor they would assume sex was in the making. It is just natural sometimes to save on hotel costs etc. Here in the US, which I really can no longer stand. The customs in ref to male bonding truly for lack of a better expression SUCK. I yearn to meet someone around the Albuquerque area (Perhaps Military ex or whatever) who have similar backgrounds and have no male friends. Yes I am married and have older children. Yet I truly miss and yearn for some male companyonship. Maybe some of you who are of similar circumstances could write to me and give me some encouragement. I have PTSD from the 3 combat tours. I take some meds. I am neither crazy or do I get angry or lash out etc. I just sometimes think of the past, failed lst marriage etc. No buddies anymore etc. I am warm, kind, gently and loyal to a good friend. Tks for reading my letter. Denis

54 Jonathan June 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I found this page while looking for ideas on romantic, male friendships. I have a friend of five years now, and he is a big sweetheart. We are quirky in similar ways, have similar backgrounds and interests. I don’t know anyone else that likes all the odd stuff that I do. One night after hanging out over meaty man food and beers, we biked home and started playing street tag on our bikes. I felt like I was 12 years old again. It was exhilarating and…well, mystical—like I was inside my favorite adolescent movie.

He offers to carry my stuff, shows me how to fix my bike, shares his homemade brews, shows me his favorite places, waits for me to get off work so we can walk home together. I felt totally safe with him until one night he looked me square in the eyes without saying a word. He just held my gaze. I looked away in embarrassment. When I looked back, he was still looking at me. It would have been OK notwithstanding the fact I date men, so this was very confusing to me.

I don’t question that men are in need of affection. In Italy, France and Spain it is customary for men to greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. When Italian immigrants arrived in the USA, sociologist, if we can call them that, writing in the early 20th century documented this behavior as latent homosexuality. This was unfortunate to say the least. However, even in antiquity the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles was regarded as sexual in nature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achilles_and_Patroclus, 2013).

Furthermore, the relationship between David and Jonathon has obvious sexual overtones. Hebrew has no vowels, and this can leave room for interpretation of text. For example, if we were to write the English word foot without vowels, we would write the letters f and t, or ft. However, feet, fat and fit would also be represented in this way. So the passage that reads, Jonathon stood before David and God was with him, in Hebrew could also be read as, he stood before him with an erection (Helminiak, 2007).

The Gospel of Matthew was written between 80-90 CE in Greek and there was no standard Latin translation until the fourth century. In the story of the centurion (Matt 8), the writer uses the word “pais” in Greek which has been translated into modern English as “servant”, yet in Classical Greek pais is more akin to male lover than servant. The translation has been adjusted to accommodate the modern reader, but the later translation would be more consistent with Jesus’ association with those we were considered ritually impure.

The ancient’s worldview on male sexuality was quite different than ours. While we should not project our modern views on sexuality and relationship onto historical friendships, we can also assume that just because two guys were friends, doesn’t preclude a little rub and tug every now and then.

55 August July 28, 2013 at 6:39 pm

“The Heroic Friendship
In ancient times, men viewed man friendships as the most fulfilling relationship a person could have. Friendships were seen as more noble than marital love with a woman because women were seen as inferior. Aristotle and other philosophers extolled the virtues of platonic relationships- a relationship of emotional connection without sexual intimacy. Platonic relationships, according to Aristotle, were the ideal.”
This is a wrong interpretation of Platonic love. What most people don’t know is that Platonic love originaly means “only sex when also love is involved” Sexs without love was called pornè from which pornografy comes. About Aristotle you should read the following. It is from his book Nicomachea about all levels of friendship. What follows now is the highest level of friendship.
“For friendship is essentially a partnership. And a man stands in the same relation to a friend as to himself; but the consciousness of his own existence is a good; so also therefore is the consciousness of his friend’s existence; but this consciousness is actuallized in intercourse; hence friends naturally desire each other’s society. And whatever pursuit it is that constitutes existence for a man or that makes his life worth living, he desires to share that persuit with his friends……..But the friendship of the good is good, and grows with their intercourse.” (Aristoteles’Ethica Nicomachea book 9 ,Loeb Classical Library)
What does it matter, sex or no sex? The ultimate consequence of intimicy is sex. This is not homosexueal but natural logic. For this reason the Greek didn’t even had a word for homosexuality. The whole gay idea coms from the christian religion, not from nature. Nature doesn’t care who you love and how you express it. It’s only western frustration who makes all these discussions.
August Fennet from Holland Not straight not gay, just normal!

56 Zach August 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I really liked this article. Being 21, I live in a very millennial society that is just text messaging and not being “connected”. I’m a very feminine guy. I’m an INFJ, which you should research to get a better picture :)
I crave really deep bonds with guys because I’m more prone to connect with girls more than guys, due to cultural stereotypes. I’m the type of friend that will give you the shirt off my back, eat ice cream when you break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. I recently ended a friendship with someone I considered my best friend. We became roommates the second portion of my junior year in college. We made a roommate switch with our prior roommates because we needed to better fit our personalities together. I wasn’t expecting to be friends with the guy, just a nice, cohabitee arrangement. WELL fate had another idea, and we ended up being really close in interests, and grew up watching the same shows, and had the same morals. We never had a fight. A few times, we had some concerns and things, but it never affected the friendship. I was very happy that I found a friend who I could live with that liked my company, and I liked his.
I got to know his family, and visited a few times my senior year, for Thanksgiving, and whenever I could make it over a weekend to hang out (he graduated a semester before I did). We had made a plan to move off campus and both work and get an apartment together. When his job let him go, he had to move back home, but the plan was he would come back to the area and we would get an apartment. That didn’t happen. When he moved back home, our communication changed. He was really good when it came to face to face communication, but used technological communication in a more business-type fashion. I knew the friendship would look different, and I knew from how it was the summer past where I would make attempts to text him, but the response never lead to a conversation.
I assumed that’s just how he was. I learned later he was an INTJ, which is very similar to mine, but has significant differences.
I made attempts to talk to him and hang out, but it never seemed he received my attempts.
To make a long story short, I finally emailed him, telling him I didn’t understand the lack of communication, but that I saw it as a problem and that we needed to talk about it. He replied that he felt sorry about it, and that he was really busy and I was really busy, so it made hang out sessions more complicated. He mentioned we could possibly hang out soon, and I told him to let me know when he could.
I had been holding out for him to come back. I was couch hopping because I couldn’t afford to move back on campus, and I couldn’t afford to get a place or even share a room (trust me, had plenty of interviews). I finally knew he wasn’t coming back, but it was a decision he made that was never communicated to me. I told him through text that I would be moving back home, and that I was changing the plan. He apologized again, and told me he hoped to hang out soon.
Graduation came, and I stayed away from him. I had honestly cried throughout the week before grad day because I couldn’t understand what went wrong and I felt like he gave up on me.
When I moved back home, we had a quick text conversation where he told me he was sorry we couldn’t hang out, and that he was glad I could “finally sleep in my own bed”. He still said he hoped we could hang out sometime.
Finally, about late July, I sent him a letter. I told him I couldn’t be his friend anymore, because it seemed our definitions of friendship was different than each other’s, and what I was asking from him seemed to be something he couldn’t give me. While it was a good closure moment for me, it frustrated me because he never responded. Never called, texted, emailed, facebooked, nothing. Even if I was in the wrong, I was surprised he never at least tried to “save it”, whatever that look like, or state his opinion. It’s been a month, and I miss what we had. I was there for him when his grandpa passed, and his older brother thanked me for being a friend for him when he was away from school. I miss his family. His mother always encouraged me, and told me she hoped my character rubbed off on her son. His dad loved me cause I worked for Starbucks so I would always bring him coffee lol. But it was such a neat family that I will never ever see again, or have any means of relationship with. It was very upsetting that for whatever reason, it ended, and I never got a say in it.
I come from a highly populated city, and he lived more out in the country, so he was very close with his friends all throughout their upbringings. I remember thinking “I can’t compete with that”. I was never jealous, but the friendship I thought we had was always “compromised” when I was around his friends, because I didn’t have that long of a connection with him than his friends did. I miss all the promises we made. He said he wanted to bring me on board with projects he wanted to do back home, and he said how goofy things we would say to each other at our weddings. Those things will never happen.
I’ve always wanted a very close friend with a guy, but it seems for whatever reason that’s not in the hand that’s been dealt to me. I feel like I was born in the wrong period. I think 19th century friendships would serve me better.
Thanks for reading.

57 Lance September 26, 2013 at 8:31 am

I really enjoyed this post. I came here after reading the Wikipedia page of Friedrich Nietzsche and learning about the apparent difference between man friends in the 19th century. This really helped me put a lot of things on my mind into perspective. Thanks!

58 Patrick M Dillon January 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

As the saying goes Once you find a real friend !!! U’ve found a treasure !!!

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