My girlfriends and I were on a Zoom call having a fun girls’ night, pandemic-style. One-by-one, we shared that our husbands have no friends. At first, I breathed a sigh of relief because I had been wondering why my husband didn’t hang out with guys more often. Is it my fault? Is he slowly becoming a hermit?
Now I knew our situation wasn’t unique, but still—just because we aren’t unique doesn’t mean we are healthy. I thought about the benefits of friendships and how I don’t think I could have survived the past six months without my girlfriends. So I wondered: Should I be worried about him? Should I help him make friends? Here’s the truth about guys and friendships and how we can help or hurt them in their quests for male friends.
Yes. Obviously friendships are important.
Recently I read a story from Brene Brown about a village where all the women washed clothes together down by the river. When they all got washing machines, there was a sudden outbreak of depression and no one could figure out why. It wasn’t the washing machines in and of themselves. It was the absence of time spent doing things together. They needed a community.
There is other research that says having friendships can help fight cancer, whether the friends are near or far. So we can’t pretend like these are just superfluous people in our lives. Relationships might be more important to women than to men, but we aren’t created so differently that friendships for men are unnecessary.
The problem for guys is often time.
For guys, friendship is an investment of time because bonding tends to be less disclosure-based and more activity-based. The activity-buffer keeps the meet-up from feeling too intimate. For example, women can hang at home over a cup of coffee and after 30 minutes of chatting, their friendship tanks are full. Meanwhile, guys would rather go fishing, golf, or do something that is side-by-side instead of face-to-face. That usually requires a big chunk of the day. If a man invests in a friendship, it often means sacrificing precious time with his family.
For guys, friendship is an investment of time because bonding tends to be less disclosure-based and more activity-based.
Should you play match-maker if he has no friends?
I don’t know any man who gets excited when his wife proposes a double date with another couple and the men have never met. The ladies naturally will have conversations and leave the guys making small talk. Sure, they could click and become fast friends, but there is a better way to do it.
Try group activities.
Remember, guys typically don’t want to jump into intimate conversations with each other. So if you do want to introduce your husband to your friends’ husbands, try a couples activity where they can be side-by-side. This way, they’ll get to know each other while having natural breaks in the conversation. Trivia night at a local restaurant and indoor driving ranges are great options.
Let friendships form on their own.
I know. It would be great if you could find a few other couples you click with. But if you’re sincerely concerned about the fact that your husband has no friends and needs connection, forcing guys on him is not the way to go. Because real friendship requires intimacy, many guys think that if they didn’t find and keep a friend from childhood or college days, they’re out of luck. But getting involved in church, a rec sport, or a volunteer opportunity are good ways for your husband to form a quick bond and find guys with common interests.
Does your husband have friends? How have you encouraged him to work on those relationships?