Two Models of Male Friendship. Which One Do You Want?

Aug 04, 2021 by Leonard Szymczak
Men seeking deeper friendships with other men must make a conscious commitment to develop relationships. However, this often conflicts with the old model of friendship that many men experienced growing up. Some 20 years ago, George Ortenzo and I developed a Conscious Friendship Model for men. It still holds true today. Upleveling to a model that provides deeper levels of connection, growth, and love requires a commitment. Are you willing to let go of the old and embrace the new?

                                       MODELS OF FRIENDSHIP: TWO VIEWPOINTS

OLD FRIENDSHIP MODEL

CONSCIOUS-EFFORT FRIENDSHIP MODEL

1. Friendships between men happen while doing (working, playing sports, etc.) When the doing stops, the friendship usually ends.

1. Friendships between men are perceived as important in and of themselves, and are consciously pursued.

2. The discussion of work, sports, finances, women, and like matters dominant male dialogue. Men are cautious about discussing their personal life.

2. The discussion of personal/spiritual growth, dreams, hopes, desires, and fears are crucial to forming a close relationship.

3Competition, rivalry, and social status are of paramount importance. Closeness occurs when working for a common cause or opposing a common enemy.

3. Cooperation, personal honesty, and emotional "status" are of paramount importance. Closeness occurs within the context of a developing relationship.

4. A self-image that reflects success and dominance is essential.

4. A real, authentic, and honest self is essential.

5. Anger is an acceptable emotion but other emotions are suspect and dangerous.

5. All the human emotions, from joy to despair, from tenderness to toughness are worthy and life defining.

6. Conversation is egocentric and non-relational.

6. Conversation expands to explore the mutual social, emotional and personal life of oneself and the other.

7. Distrust and caution are essential in dealing with men who want friendship.

7. Trust and vulnerability are essential in building friendship with other men.

8. Staying hidden, concealed, and obscure leads to loneliness and isolation.

8. Openness, availability, clarity, and connection are consciously fostered. This results in renewed energy and a deeper understanding of self.

9. Love and tenderness are rarely expressed to another man; praise is used sparinglyif at all.

9. Love, tenderness, and appreciation are joylessly expressed.