Mates – who needs them?

In a recent issue of the Guardian an article appeared with this tagline:

“Some things get easier with age. The intensity of my friendships and the emotionally sharing nature of them has deepened.”

If only that were true for all men. Particularly when we get into middle age and the balance of life starts to shift from infinite potential and novelty to mortality and loss, that’s when close friendships become all the more important. But sadly, as the article goes on to explain, male friendships tend to dwindle in number as we age and often don’t involve that kind of emotional sharing.

MensWork, and in particular an ongoing men’s group, can fill that gap in a way that (speaking from experience) joining a local choir or tai chi class probably can’t. It creates a space where, over time, deeply conditioned patterns of behaviour and interrelating can be explored, challenged and changed. The article headline says that “men just don’t talk about stuff that really matters”. Well they do, if given the space and time to re-learn how to do so.

Here’s the tragedy of ‘mateship’ – many men just don’t talk about stuff that really matters

(Photo credit: ‘Mates were for doing stuff with. Surfing. Playing – or going to the – footy. Later, drinking in pubs in groups.’ Photograph: Evgenii Parilov/Alamy)

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