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Building Meaningful Relationships

by Lori Sciame June 15th, 2018 | Health Observance
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friendsMy relationship post this week is in honor of National Men’s Health Month. This is because building meaningful relationships with peers has a direct correspondence with a man’s mental health.  In essence, although many men tend to not like talking about emotions, they still benefit from the company of male friends.  In tough times, male friends may not discuss issues non stop like the majority of females do, but they still offer support and reassurance; therefore, men need to be cognizant of the fact that having male friends can be key to a happy and healthy life.

Common Interests/Common Bond

My twenty something son has unique interests, including a love of East Asia, photography, and participating in community service projects.  Finding a like-minded friend while in high school in a small, Midwestern town proved to be quite a challenge; however, when he went to college in a large US city, he found many male friends with similar interests.  There is a lesson here: if a man can’t find someone who shares his love of war re-enactments, it may mean traveling to a city that offers organizations that support this particular interest.  Instead of being upset because he can’t find anyone who thinks like he does, he needs to seek those with common interests.  And what follows common interest is a common bond.

Shared Experiences/Shared Lives

Once a man finds a friend who shares a common interest, from boating to bowling, he needs to actually DO the activity with his new companion.  Studies have shown that men build relationships while engaged in physical activity.  This can be best explained by imagining a group of males on a baseball or football team. After the season ends, they have bonded enough to call each other friends.  Through action they formed a bond.

A good example is my brother, a fishing nut.  He has a great friend that he has fished with since they were both fourteen.  They never “gossip” or discuss feelings, yet this friend has been a source of support for my brother during a nasty divorce, illness, and even my mom’s death.  They have shared a love of fishing, and they have shared a true friendship.

Make Time, All the Time

When building friendships, men need to be able to spend time away from girlfriends/wives. LADIES, listen up.  It doesn’t mean that your guy doesn’t love you if he wants to go golfing or hiking; he just needs male friends.  MEN, listen up, too.  It is necessary for you to keep male friendships once you marry.  Your wife can’t be your only source of emotional support.  Keep working on friendships even after the I do’s.

Benefits of Friends

I have already spelled out many of the benefits of male friendships.  From doing activities you both love, to just being there when life’s struggles happen, friends are a necessity for good mental health.  So, if any man lacks in the friendship department, I hope he takes my advice and starts building meaningful  relationships to enrich his life.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.