Pandemic Prompts Many Men to Seek Deeper Friendships

An unexpected but welcome response to a crisis

Glasses clinking
Can the pandemic change ideas about friendship?

For a lot of guys, friendships are based around socializing. This could be game nights, time spent watching sports or nights out at a local bar. All of these are perfectly normal ways to spend one’s time; all of these are also all events that have been radically changed, if not brought to a temporary standstill, by the pandemic.

What do you do when the things you associate with friendship are suddenly taken off the table? That question is at the heart of a new article in The Washington Post by Samantha Schmidt. Maintaining friendships in one’s adult life can be enough of a challenge even when you don’t factor in things like global pandemics.

Schmidt writes that numerous men interviewed for this article described a process where “casual chats about sports and politics have suddenly led to deep conversations — about the struggles of virtual schooling, family illness, breakups, births, wedding postponements and job losses.”

The article points out that, under extreme circumstances like (say) a global pandemic, men who may have previously avoided emotionally taxing subjects may suddenly feel compelled to take the conversation into new and potentially unexpected places.

That’s led some of the men interviewed to start walking with friends in order to have longer conversations, and it’s led others to bond with their friends in different ways. Given that the benefits of friendship include improved mental and physical health, it’s an encouraging sign in a year that hasn’t had many of them.

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