The elephant in the room




It has been said that making friends is harder the older you get. When you are young you have regularly scheduled activities to go to and connections seem to naturally take place.

It may have been Little League, then the track team in high school, maybe the commons in college. Then life happens with marriage, kids, work and the only social connection lifeline is through the spouse. And somehow, she is able to hang onto lots of female friends. You not so much. Research shows that making a casual friendship takes about 50 hours and close friendships 200. Bottom line is friendships do not form 'organically', the way they did when we were younger. You have to work at it, form regularly scheduled activities and not rely on chance meetups to sustain a connection with others. The Whysmen Virtual Pub is one such regularly scheduled activity. 

I know one thing about every man who is reading this. Every man is looking for connections with other men. At some time, you chose to click on a link that brought you to this site. 

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic because of something that happened to me recently. I train on stairs at a park. Over the months, I started to talk with another guy who came there at the same time on a regular basis. At first it was small talk but, as time progressed, we began to talk more about a lot of things. Months turned into years and he invited me to a presentation on sports he was going to do in a couple of months. One day, I could tell something was up with him as he was not his usual talkative self. We ended up having a long conversation about some relationship and work problems he was having and some deep stuff, as in religion and past sexual abuse as a kid. Then I noticed I had not seen him for a while at the park. I texted him, no reply. Months went by. I texted again, no response. I don’t know how many months have gone by. I don’t know if I offended him, he moved away, had an accident, died or what. 

Now I’m thinking a lot about what Paul began and now others including me are working on: the Whysmen community. I’m doing soul searching…what is this about? What keeps relationships between men going? Why are many online groups full of women and not so much men? Why do some men click on the Whysmen link while others seem to have no need for it? Is my need for connections a weakness in me or a strength? This is what I meant by the elephant in the room…not something men want to talk about.

Now that we see the elephant, what do you think about what I have written here? What is your experience of making friends later in life?

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