I’m going to write about a podcast episode that I really enjoyed from a podcast that I have mixed feelings concerning. The podcast is The Art of Manliness Podcast. It isn’t a podcast that I listen to all the time. I do subscribe to it and if a topic catches my attention then I will listen to that episode. I find that the episodes are rather hit or miss. The misses, in my opinion, are usually because of generalizations between the sexes that are mistakenly taken to be universals. Be it nature or nurture there are some generalized differences between the sexes, but those differences are on large, extremely overlapping continuum. I also believe The Art of Manliness Podcast falls into the whole cult of masculinity thing every now and then, and I’m not a big fan of the cult of masculinity.
Anyhow I really enjoyed the episode from November 30th “Podcast #360: Understanding Male Friendships“. The episode was primarily an interview of Dr. Geoffrey Greif, Associate Dean and Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland. He discussed his book “Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships“.
I specifically appreciated his discussion concerning face-to-face and side-by-side friendships. Greif’s describes these two friendships in the following manner:
- Face-to-Face Friendship – talking & sharing lead to connection
- Side-by-Side Friendship – common tasks lead to connection
Greif states that face-to-face is more common for female/female friendships and side-by-side is more common for male/male friendships. This is my experience and understanding of male and female friendship generalizations also. I would add that in my opinion neither paradigm is exclusive to either sex. The problem that he believes exists for the majority of male friendships is that as a society we have co-opted the face-to-face paradigm as the basic definition of friendship. Since for many men the only face-to-face friendship they have is with their spouse they often believe and, therefore, live as though they have no friends. Thus many men are very lonely.
I really enjoyed the podcast and Pam and I have been talking a good bit about face-to-face and side-by-side friendships since I listened to the episode. We mutually pointed out several examples of two paradigm as we were watching “Wonder“.
This is why as a pastor and chaplain I often try to do a task with a guy if I believe he might need to talk about something.
SIDE NOTE – you should read the book “Wonder” or go see the movie if you haven’t done so already.