What Are We Doing About Men’s Friendships? Part 2

What Are We Doing About Men's Friendships?

Podcast Description

Men’s friendships feel like a big ball of yarn with thousands of strings that we have to untangle. In Part 2 of today’s episode, we’re delving into the small actions we can start to take to bring men back into the fold into community and into connection.

Some of this work starts with having open conversations out loud. I’ll share some tangible questions you can talk about with the men in your life, plus we’ll dive into how men can begin to prioritize the logistics around the friendships in their lives, and even change the culture of their existing relationships by asking deeper questions.

No more comparing men’s friendships to women’s friendships or romantic relationships.

I don’t think men can do this alone – we ALL have to be in this together!

In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • What we need to start paying attention to – from moments where men are shutting down in conversations, to societal messages that say men’s friendships are “lesser than”
  • How my husband Michael has built a consistent connection point with his friends through a Fantasy Football league.
  • Why friendship should not be an afterthought for men. They shouldn’t feel the need to complete every other thing in their life before they spend time with their friends.
  • The importance of discussing the meaning of social capital out loud and with the men in your life: How are you maintaining relationships? How much work is it? How are those relationships supporting your life? What vital roles are they playing?
  • How Michael and I handle prioritization around our time together vs. our friends. What do we do if we’re invited to a birthday party the same night as a scheduled date night? We’re not always each other’s “person” for everything in life.

Reflection Question:

Let’s tackle some important questions about social capital. How are you maintaining the closest relationships and friendships in your life? What small actions are you taking to have these relationships supporting your life?

Notable Quote from Alex

“Awareness is key. Start paying attention to interactions that you’re having where men are shutting down their feelings or they’re trying to connect and the other person they’re in connection with is kind of shutting them down. Pay attention to societal messages that talk about how men’s friendships are lesser than. Pay attention to where men are trying to make plans or say they want to make plans, but they just keep falling through because this really isn’t a priority in their life. Take notice of relationships men have, where they say this relationship is important, but they’re not really putting any of their time, energy or resources into the relationship. Just start to notice. We have to notice so we can make an impact.”

Resources & Links

Tune in to Episode 2: Your Friendships Are As Important As Your Romantic Relationships

Leave Alex a voicemail!

Male Friendships Out in The World

Until next time…

Take the conversation beyond the new podcast on friendship! Follow Alex on Instagram (@itsalexalexander) or Tiktok (@itsalexalexander), or send her a voice message directly with all your friendship thoughts, problems, and triumphs by heading to AlexAlex.chat and hitting record. 

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Episode Transcript

Podcast Intro/Outro  00:02

Alrighty, gang. Here’s to nights that turn into mornings and friends that turn in family. Cheers!

Podcast Intro/Outro   00:18

Hello, Hello, and welcome to the Friendship IRL podcast. I’m your host, Alex Alexander. My friends… They would tell you; I like to ask the hard questions. You know who I am in the group? I’m the person that’s saying, “Okay, I’m going to ask this question, but don’t feel like you have to answer it.” And now, I can be that friend for you, too. 

Alex Alexander  00:50

How you doing? Are you good? Are you bad? Are you overwhelmed? Because last week’s episode was a doozy. It was a lot. I’m well aware. But I just… I don’t really know how to make that palatable. I think that we’re in pretty dire straits to be quite honest. And I just think that the episode I’m bringing you today will make more sense why I’m making the suggestions I’m making. If you have an idea of the depth of the problem, like if I ignored that last episode, and gave you some of these solutions, or actions, that might make an impact and you’d probably like, well, I don’t know. But now that you see, we got to get creative. We got to bust outside the boxes. And what the boxes are, you might take my suggestions a little more seriously in this episode. So today’s episode is what are we doing about men’s friendships? Like what small actions can we start to take to unravel that big ball of yarn, to bring men back into the fold, into the community, into connection with everybody else? And I say, we, because, as you heard in that last episode, I just don’t think men can do this alone. Yes, gentlemen, if you’re listening to this, you need to be very active participants. But this whole conversation about sending you off to fix this problem, not actually going to help, we all have to be in this together. So my first suggestion for how we make an impact on men’s friendships is just stop for a second and reflect. I threw a lot at you in that last episode. And just like anything else, we can’t really fix or make an impact on the problem until we start to notice it, like until we catch ourselves doing the thing, right? If you want to make an impact on your finances, but you’re constantly blowing your budget, you have to get to the point where when you are making the purchase that’s blowing your budget or the purchases. You start to notice you’re doing it so you can have awareness, you can stop yourself. Like awareness is key. So just start paying attention to interactions that you’re having, you know, try and find one or two a day, where men are shutting down their feelings or they’re trying to connect and the person… the other person they’re in connection with is kind of shutting them down. Pay attention to societal messages that talk about how men’s friendships are lesser than. Pay attention to where men are trying to make plans or say they want to make plans, but they just keep falling through because this really isn’t a priority in their life. Take notice of relationships men have, where they say this relationship is important, but they’re not really putting any of their time, energy, or resources into the relationship. Like just start to notice. We have to notice. We need to have some awareness so we can make an impact. Some moments I’ve noticed, because here’s the thing. When you start to notice these, they’re everywhere. I am inundated with these little pieces of data dozens of times a day, and it’s not just because I talk about community and friendship all the time just because I’m around men. So, some recent examples. Last week, I was with another couple. And the husband started trying to kind of open up a little bit. And then I watched him completely doubt sharing it with a group and take a step back. And when I tried to encourage him like, no go ahead, share, he was not interested. Another one I’ve noticed recently is, I’ve talked about this before I think on the podcast, I know I’ve talked about it on my Instagram stories is that Michael is in a fantasy football league. He’s going to a fantasy football league, I mean, as long as I’ve known him. And when, you know, he’s talking about the draft or keeping the lead together, people often say to me, like, “Well, don’t you just hate that he does that? Isn’t it so annoying?” And guys, I don’t like fantasy football. I don’t like fantasy football. I don’t myself. But I do like that Michael plays fantasy football. Because it is a connection point for him. And so many friends, it’s a reason they message each other back and forth. It’s a reason they talk. It’s like the consistency they need that eventually somebody in the group will ask how somebody’s weeks going or how the new job is. Like if they didn’t have that, they would never get to the point of actually connecting. But people are constantly trying to belittle him partaking in this activity. And I have to constantly tell people, that I actually think it’s important because it’s an activity that connects him with friends. So like I said, pay attention in your own life, to these little moments where connection for men is shut down. So once we start to notice, once we have the awareness, the next thing we need to do is we need to start talking about it. Now, conveniently, I’ve recorded two episodes on this. So feel free to share either of those episodes, that would be a great place to start. The next thing we need to start talking about is just like the current state of men’s friendships, that friendship shouldn’t be an afterthought, that men shouldn’t feel the need to complete every other thing in their life before they spend time with their friends. That these are important, that support is important for men. We also need to talk about the fact that this one happens all the time like that. People say to me, Well, I just don’t think it’s important for guys to have friendships because like they don’t really talk about anything important. They just go and fish or play golf or whatever. You know.

PODCAST EPISODE! Do you know the definition of loneliness? What about the 3 types of loneliness? In order to solve a problem we need to know what we are battling. Listen Here.

Alex Alexander 07:58

Currently, yes, our men’s friendships as nourishing for many men, no. But if we just cut them out completely. That’s not helping the problem. Like we need to meet everybody where they’re at. So we can’t just be downplaying, talking down on men’s leisure activities. Like no more comparing men’s friendships, to women’s friendships, or romantic relationships, just stop, stop doing it, then I think we need to start talking about the burden that women in society are feeling because of men’s friendships. We need to be talking about how friendships are basically emotional labor. They have highs, they have lows, there is a balance of tricky dynamics. And women are mainly shouldering those, we need to see social connection as valuable and important. You I heard somebody called social capital recently, that you’re investing in social capital in your life, that it’s not always about money. And I think that’s a great way to put it. So in order to build social capital, what are women doing? Like truly day in and day out? How are you maintaining relationships? How much work is it? How are those relationships supporting your life? What vital roles are they playing? We need to be like discussing this out loud. Because I can’t give all the house quote unquote, or the y’s in my podcast episodes. But if we all just started talking about this, whether it’s women bringing it up around men or men asking, we can’t just keep silently doing this and expecting that men are going to figure it out. We have to be talking about it. And when you’re thinking about having these comments sessions I’m sure a lot of people are thinking like, Okay, I’m gonna have it with my, my romantic partner or maybe my family with my couple of close friends. And start anywhere you want to start. But I would suggest that eventually you make it a point to start having these conversations with your groups of friends, with your greater community, with your co workers with anybody that you’re connected to. Because what I found is when we start talking about how important these relationships are, everybody leans in, I have yet to have a situation. We all know I talk about this all the time, where, when I’m talking about this, people lean out, people always lean in, like nobody’s talking about this, and we need to be talking about it. So lean in, have conversations, not just with your closest people, but with the people around you. Because when you do that you’re creating a culture, like a friend group culture, where this is prioritized. And by this I mean social connection, where people are starting to think about it, they’re starting to brainstorm together, they’re starting to openly share. They’re discussing the emotional labor. They’re discussing how they can all chip in to build this web that can catch someone, they’ll start to trust each other, they’ll start to normalize that there’s conflict and uncomfortable conversations. But they find all of that valuable. If we just keep operating without discussing it, it makes it really hard to prioritize this in your own life, because relationships involve two people. So we need other people to buy in. Therefore, we got to start talking about it. Okay, the third thing I think we need to do is decide that friendship, community social connection is important. Now, this applies to everyone, but I’m going to tailor my examples here to men. Gentlemen, sit down. Think about the people in your life. Who are they? What do you go to them for? What areas of your life do you feel like you have no one you can go to, that might be career or fun or romantic partnership, travel, finances, think about the areas of your life where you feel like you are going it alone. Because just like any other area of life, if we don’t have some sort of plan here, then you’re just walking around taking action with no clue where you’re going. So just sit down and take a minute, decide this is important. Consider where you currently are and what you wish you had. Now, once you’ve done that, know that this is not going to happen overnight. But with a bunch of small actions, you can start to shift this for yourself. Let me give you some examples of some small actions that you could take, you could make it a goal to ask for help. Once a month, once a week, you could make it a goal to listen for when somebody in your life needs help. And make it a point to offer and action out that help. Once a month, once a week, whatever pick something that you know you can achieve. And other small action you can do figure out who the people are in your life that you can start practicing that emotional, like your feelings. Figure out the people you can start talking about your feelings with have a discussion with them. And say, Hey, I am working on not just pretending I’m fine all the time. Start trying to go to them. Doesn’t need to necessarily even be with your biggest, darkest whatever. It could just be like hey, this week’s been really hard with work. Figure out who these people are. And make a point of trying to start talking about these things in your life. Another small action you can take, you can lean into being somebody who impacts your relationships. Whether that is your friendships, your family relationships, your romantic relationships, your community connections, decide that you are going to be a person who does things that make an impact. Like you’re going to be the person that sends an invite. You’re going to be the person who picks something that you’re passionate about and gets involved in that community organization. You’re gonna be a person who offers like, listens for ways they can help and offers. You’re gonna be a person who hold space for somebody this month. Whether that’s family, friend, spouse, romantic partner, whoever, you’re gonna make it a point that one time this month, you’re gonna ask some questions about how someone’s really doing and you’re gonna sit down without your phone, that any distraction, you’re just gonna listen, you’re in a hold space, you’re gonna practice. And in doing this, what you’re going to find is that you’re going to start to feel more connected to people in your life, that these little actions are going to add up. And those people that you decided you wanted to feel more connected to, you’re going to, it’s going to happen slowly. But surely. Now there is an entire logistics piece to deciding that this is important. There’s like the actions piece that I just talked about, but like how do we have time, space energy resources, to carry out those actions. And this quite often, I think, gets men, all people, but men, especially in trouble, right, because we’ve already talked about the fact that society tells men that friendship community connection is low on the priority list. So if you decide that this is important, you are going to need to negotiate your time attention and resources accordingly, which is not something you are used to doing. Now with yourself. This might mean putting time on your schedule to follow up with friends and check in. It might mean taking a day off work, to spend time with friends, or to take care of someone in your life or to invest in a relationship. But it also might mean actually having conversations, especially if you’re somebody that is in a relationship, or has a family, having conversations about how you can make social wellness, friendship, community connection, like how you can make this a priority in your life and only in your life in your partnership and your family.

PODCAST EPISODE! Let’s talk about how men are approaching friendship, finding connection, and support. Listen to Manpreet’s story about connection and friendship. Give it a listen!

Alex Alexander 17:11

Like for Michael and I friendship is actually a family priority for us. And that shows up in a lot of ways. It means that we prioritize not only ourselves and time with each other. But our friendships are given equal weight. Like the default, if we have to choose between a friend’s birthday and a date, night is not a date night, there’s a conversation there, they’re all given equal weight. Another conversation we’ve had is about how, like we’re allowed to pick a friend over each other for something that might look like Michael deciding to invite a friend who actually likes football to a football game, if he has tickets instead of me, I’m not the default. Another way this shows up for us is we actually tell each other that sometimes we can’t be the other, like the person. Right? A lot of times society tells us that when you find your romantic partner, they’ll be there for you in all the ways. And Michael and I like to be very honest about when maybe he’s coming to ask me for something. And this just isn’t my skill set. Or this isn’t an area of life I can help him with. Whether that’s, you know, he wants to watch the basketball game with someone. I’m not interested. I’m like, Listen, you go find someone to watch that with. But it could also be that something really big, this actually just happened, something really big happened in life. And I said, Listen, this is a lot on you, like you are emotionally very overwhelmed by this. I can’t be the only person you’re coming to for support. You have to tell our friends what’s happening. You need more people who are checking in on you than just me. Having those types of conversations allows us as a couple to prioritize the friendships that support us as individuals and as a couple, to pour into them and to allow them to pour back into us. Like we let people in. We consider them in our choices. We use our time and energy and money to support those friendships. There’s an entire podcast episode Michael and I did together. I believe it’s episode two or three, where you can hear more about this, but I want to give you some other examples, not just us. So some other examples of how you might have this conversation to figure out the logistics of friendship. I have some friends and they have two kids. They don’t have a lot of family support. But they decided that building community for themselves and for their family was a important. So they sat down, and they negotiated time for connection. They decided that it’s not you versus me. When it comes to like friendship and fun, it is us versus the problem. And I think that’s really important. You know, it’s not you get time for girls night, so I should get time to go golfing. The conversation needs to be what kind of support and connection do we each need? How can we give the other person capacity to make that happen? You as a couple first the problem. So what they did is they sat down and for them, they decided that they both had activities, passions, interests, things they wanted to do, that the other person just didn’t enjoy. He loves gardening, and biking. She’s not interested in either. She loves paddleboarding, he doesn’t love to go on the water. So they both wanted to lean into those activities. They could do that themselves. Sure, but it’s more fun in community with friends. So they sat down, and they talked about how they were going to go about meeting these people, right, they have to allow for time to go out and do these activities, that they were going to join groups where they could meet other people that enjoy these activities. And that that would take time. But the long term goal was that they both could find people who they could do these activities with bonus points if these people had kids or enjoy kids. And sometimes they can take their kids with them while doing the activity like they can put their kids in the kids trailer thing on the bike. Or they can take one of their kiddos paddleboarding. And that that is their long term vision for the time they’re investing and how it will play out. Another example, this one, again, is a family example. So I have some friends and they decided that connection was going to be a family goal this year. Like many families, the dad doesn’t really have any friends anymore. That has not been a priority for him for them. And now that they are paying attention to my work, they have realized that this is really become a burden on their family, that he doesn’t have a support system. So instead of him just being like, go figure it out. Instead of that being the solution, what they’ve decided to do is turn this into a family teaching that this is a family priority that when they sit at the dinner table a couple times a week, they talk about the connections, they’re all making the people they’re meeting in their lives, the support, they’re giving and receiving where they want to invest their time and energy as a family, as a family as a couple. And as individuals. And they take that into account when scheduling their week. And they have decided to talk about the fact that dad doesn’t have friends. And they talk about it. And they sit there and say you know what this is the your dad makes friends, we are going to a lot extra time to dad to go out and do activities, and meet people and invest in these friendships because it’s better for him. And it’s better for all of us if he has that. So a few more hours of his time a month that he could otherwise be spending, say with his kids, or working yard work like they have decided to allocate those to him that is encouraged in their family that is supported. They see the long term impact. This is all to say that when you start talking about this stuff, again, not you versus me but US versus the problem. And you’d have this awareness and you start seeing it. You can make choices and take small actions that add up in the long term. Now the next thing I think we can do that will make an impact and help is practice. And this isn’t just for men. We are all in community together. Like I said every single person, he she they them like everybody is here. We need to practice reintegrating people together, that there is not this men’s domain and women’s domain but that we are existing together. This is everybody’s problem. So when it comes to practicing and how I think this can impact men’s friendships, the first one is just being Be aware and open participant as a community member. So if somebody out and about in the world starts talking about their feelings, don’t shut them down. You know, therapy is great. I said this in the last episode, and quite often, I think that’s the solution. Men need to go to therapy, gentlemen, go to therapy, do it. But here’s the thing, you’re learning tools and therapy that you’re supposed to really use in the world. Part of that is being able to talk about your emotion. So you have to be able to come back to the community, and express how you’re feeling. So the practice piece when it comes to community as men, practice, saying that your day is not great. Stop denying your feelings. Men who are hearing another man’s feelings, acknowledge them, practice sitting with them, practice holding space. And women, same thing. When you’re in these conversations. If somebody is being honest, ask a question. Keep it going hold space. Notice if you want to shut it down. Bring that awareness try again next time. Okay, the next one is, again, geared towards men, but I think it applies to everyone, when it comes to practicing, getting out there and doing the action. Before you go to the gathering. Ask yourself, is this leisure time? Or is it connection time? Make a conscious choice. And here’s why I say that. Quite often men will go, let’s say golf, I keep using golf in this example, go play golf. And then they come home. And people in our lives will say well, how was the guy you were golfing with? How’s their new job? What’s happening with their kids.

Alex Alexander 26:49

And the guys I got I don’t know, we didn’t talk about that. We just talked about golf. Okay. If you’re doing that, if you’re going and just golfing, that’s leisure time, that’s different. But if we’re talking about time spent, if you’re making these goals, deciding this is important. The point is to go and connect. So if you make a decision that it’s connection time, then you should go in knowing that you should ask at least one question about the other person, then you should maybe acknowledge that you appreciate this friendship, you maybe should ask how you can show up for them or just be an active listener for something they might say and instead of changing the subject, but like, Can I help you with that? Do you need to talk about it. Think if you decide that it’s connection time, I’m not saying the whole thing needs to just be connection, but you should walk away from the afternoon playing golf feeling a little bit more connected, like you put yourself out there and took some actions to connect with the guy you’re spending time with or the person, you can’t just come home, they’re glad or No, we just play golf, that’s leisure time, that’s fine, too. But that’s not going to make the impact you want on your social wellness. Okay, so the next section when it comes to practicing, I talked about this in the previous episode, but I just don’t think men can go off on their own. So this is going to be a conversation about men practicing connection with people that are not men in mixed groups. So if you are in a mixed group, if you are at a gathering with a bunch of people, and it’s not just a bunch of men, quite often, what will happen, I find doesn’t always happen this way. But quite often, you kind of end up with men in one room or area and women in another in our friend group, we make it a point to mix it up. If you find yourself separate, go walk to the other group and sit down and talk to them. Again, intentional action. If you have a group of friends, like level one, not always separating out level to make it a point to be friend, the other people in the group. So, gentlemen, what that looks like in practice quite often this problem happens where if a man gets divorced, he realizes that he really had no actual friends in a heterosexual marriage. What he quite often realizes and I’ve heard this from a number of people is that his friends were just his wife’s friends, husbands. So don’t let that happen to you. How do we not let that happen? You actually make it a point to be friend. Not Only the guys, but also the women in that group. A great test for this is if you and somebody else were left in the room alone, whether you would easily be able to slip into a topic of conversation, or whether you would feel super awkward with every single one of my girlfriends, even if they’re not my best friend, I have some sense of what shared interests we have, I can easily start talking to them about some area of their life. But that is because I have spent the time trying, like being intentional about figuring out what those topics are. So I’m putting this on the gentlemen to do but ladies, you can do this to make it a point. To find at least one thing you can talk about one shared interest with every person and a group of friends. The next practice piece is when it comes to making space for men to practice talking about their emotions, sharing about their lives, being honest. So quite often, I mentioned this in the other episode, when men approached us with these conversations. Women don’t want to partake, because it’s emotional labor. Because it sometimes is a lot of work to weed through men figure out how to talk about their feelings. But we can’t do that. Ladies, we have to stay open to having these conversations. I actually just witnessed this this weekend, a friend of a friend came over, is having some really intense life stuff happening, I think kind of wanted to talk about it with his girlfriend, but where he actually ended up being able to have like a full conversation about his feelings was with our friend’s wife. But had she shut it down, he never would have had that opportunity. So I think it’s incredibly important to stay open. And I am this friend, for a lot of my guy friends. You know, I have a friend who a while back told me that he doesn’t have a single female friend. He’s married to a woman, but he doesn’t feel like he has a single female friend outside of his wife. He just like wasn’t even sure what it was like. He admitted to me, he was not sure what it was like to have a friend where he could just be honest about how he’s feeling that he’s been pretty depressed recently. And when I sat there, and created space, and asked questions, and gave him time to open up, what I have found when I do this for guy friends, is that they just start flooding. It just comes out so fast. Because they need this space. So much. So if more of us were doing this, it wouldn’t just be his wife and me. Maybe he would have 10 Other people he felt like he could be honest with and think of what an impact that would be. Because I would argue that even two is too small. We’re all busy with so many responsibilities and being pulled in so many ways. And like it can’t just be two people that you have that will listen to you. Okay, let’s talk about men’s friendships with other men and how to practice. Gentlemen, schedule, schedule, schedule, schedule. Treat this, like anything else, you want to make an impact in your life. If you want to run a marathon, you are putting those training runs down. You’re making a training plan. You already know your goal. Well, maybe maybe it’s to cross the line. Maybe it’s to run a PR like, what do you want. This is what I talked about earlier with sitting down and getting intentional about what you hope this looks like. But then take it a step further and actually prioritize this and schedule it in your life. And then discuss that with the other men in your life that you are prioritizing it and try and get them on the same page. Another way to practice, man to man is to start trying to have some of those deeper conversations to make it a point that when you get together with your guy friends to try and ask at least one real question. Choose that it’s time for connection and like you’re going to go home knowing that you at least tried to ask one question they may not buy into it at first, but over time, maybe you can change the culture of that friendship. Okay, so in men’s friendships to other men, another way to practice would be to show up when you notice those moments where you can help someone. And I have an example for this. Recently, we had a friend who’s going through something. And another guy friend messaged and said, Hey, I will get on a plane and fly in, if you need a weekend to talk about it, I will get on a plane. Now I know this is a pretty extreme example. But this is something that we talk about in women’s friendships all the time, of course, I might get on a plane to go help one of my best female friends, nobody shocked by that. But guys, start making the offer, whether it’s showing up on a plane or hopping on a call, or texting everyday to check in, make it a point that when you notice the small actions you can do to caretake your relationships, you start doing them.


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Alex Alexander 36:00

And another one other story I have another example I have for men’s friendships with other men, is when you figure out who those people are, that you can start to change the culture and the narrative and the way you act, lean in. So we were at a friend’s house a while ago. And this was four of us. Two couples sitting around. And all of a sudden, our guy friend said, Let’s go around and tell each person, maybe like five things that we appreciate about them or admire. My guy friend said this. We were not intoxicated. We were just sitting around. And we said, Yeah, let’s do it. Nobody made fun of him. Nobody said, why would you want to do that? We all just said, Yeah, let’s go for it. And what came out of that was about an hour of us, saying some like really thoughtful things to each other. Me getting to tell him that I really admired how passionate he is about his career, not just his job, but like his field. And how curious he is and how Intuit, he is I was able to tell him that having known him for, gosh, 15 years now, 14 years that I can notice he never ever when I met him in college, I never would have made a suggestion like sitting around talking about his feelings he barely talked to me. It took a long time for him to open up and actually become my friend. And now he’s sitting in a room saying, hey, why don’t we all go around and talk about five things, we really care about each other. Because he’s leaning in, because he knows that the three people in the room with him are people where he can just be honest about his feelings that that’s safe here, because we’ve had dozens of conversations. So he’s going to lean in and practice he’s going to do this thing. Now, I’ve given a lot of random examples. I really tried to have a structure for this episode. And take basically like 50 episodes and give you the one liner from it. If you’re here and you’re listening to this podcast, as a man, you’ve probably decided that this matters, and you don’t want this anymore. So my suggestion would be that the other episodes I’ve recorded on this podcast are not just for women, they apply to you too, and listen to them that way. My other suggestion is to remember that small actions add up just like any other area of life, we don’t go from starting our investment account to ready to retire overnight. Right? It’s a plan with small actions, small investments over time, that hits that end goal. And that’s how friendship and community is you have to decide to start doing these small things. And my final final note, on this whole episode on this whole saga of men’s friendship is to consider the alternative. We already know what the alternative is right? Currently, I think the state of men’s friendships is pretty rock bottom. And that’s playing out and low, lower life expectancy, suicide rates, alarming mental health statistics, divorce rates, the you name it, there are so many areas that this is touching. We know what rock bottom is. But what I don’t think we’re talking enough about is that when men haven’t built support systems, and then big life change Gene, things happen. They don’t have anyone to call. And I told the story about my dad trying to raise three kids in the last episode. But there are endless examples. I mentioned the one about getting divorced and realizing that you really have no friends. What about losing a job, and not having a network to call on to find a new career if your spouse or a parent gets a life changing illness, and suddenly you don’t know how to care for them, and you don’t have anyone else to call? There are endless examples of the bad alternative. We’re living for a lot of people in the battle alternative. So although this topic might seem very overwhelming, I think that pretty much anything can be better than where we are. And the way to do that isn’t going to be this overnight transformation, it’s going to be actually putting our time energy and attention into this. And then taking small actions, and allowing them to add up over time to rebuild men’s connections to bring men in to shift the societal narrative. I think I’m just gonna end it by saying I do have hope. If you don’t have examples in your life, of men who have solid friendships who are changing the status quo, I just want to tell you that I see examples. Every day, they give me help in my own life, with my guy friends, but people who are listening to this podcast, I think that we can get people on board and this can be different. We just can’t get discouraged that it takes time. And with that, I’ll see you next week. 

Podcast Intro/Outro  56:56

Thank you for listening to this episode of Friendship IRL. I am so honored to have these conversations with you. But don’t let the chat die here. Send me a voice message. I created a special website just to chat with you. You can find it at alexalex.chat. You can also find me on Instagram. My handle, @itsalexalexander. Or go ahead and leave a review wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts. Now if you want to take this conversation a step further, send this episode to a friend. Tell them you found it interesting. And use what we just talked about as a conversation starter the next time you and your friend hang out. No need for a teary Goodbye. I’ll be back with a new episode next week.

Profile Photo for Alex Alexander a blonde haired white woman smiling at the camera. She is in her 30s with her hair down and curled and wearing a grey sweater.

Hi! I'm Alex.

I am just a person who has spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to understand some of the relationships that I hold most dear. I invite you to join in on the conversation below in the comments section below.

Ask questions, leave comments, share critiques or give advice. All are welcome.

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Hi. I'm Alex.

I'm just a gal who cares deeply about community + friendship. Why? Well, I didn't have a healthy support system growing up.

So I built one... out of friends. I believe a healthy support system is the ultimate self-care.

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