• Other Friendship Advice

In the Media – On male friendships: Men bond with one another at a cigar bar (Aeon)

Published: March 8, 2016 | Last Updated: March 8, 2016 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

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Screenshot (Aeon)

Screenshot (Aeon)

March 3, 2016

I was delighted to find this essay on male friendships since most articles in print and electronic media focus almost exclusively on friendships among women.

In the digital magazine Aeon, journalist Mark Teich recently wrote about male friendships in an essay entitled, “Smoking with Friends.” He describes a group of men who regularly visit The Cigar Inn, a cigar bar on the East side of Manhattan. He calls the meeting place a “rare sanctuary where guys can be more themselves than they are anywhere else.”

The bar is also an equalizer—in that it is visited by men from different backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and lifestyles. Visiting the bar, he saw a side of his brother-in-law that eluded him even though he had known him for more than three decades.

Teich calls the phenomenon of this men’s-only group “gender-bending” because we don’t customarily think of men bonding in this way.

In talking about male vs. female friendships, Teich mentioned Dr. Levine:

Women don’t need an excuse to get together; getting together is the point. For men, typically, there’s an activity at the centre – it could be tennis or golf. Irene Levine, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University and author of Best Friends Forever, a book on female friendship, calls this difference ‘face to face’ vs. ‘side to side’. Women exchange intimacies while men share activities.

The article is an interesting read. You can view it in its entirety on *Aeon.

*Aeon is a digital magazine that publishes pieces on ideas and culture.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Bo says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. While I agree that many men appreciate an activity and it’s “doing” that often brings them together, I’ve enjoyed and enjoy close friendships with a number of guys when meeting to challenge and pray for one another. When I know and trust another guy, I’m able to be vulnerable and candid with him, and I can connect on a deep level. I enjoy my friendships for the relationship’s sake, and I don’t necessarily need to be participating in an activity to do so.
    Unfortunately, since the majority of men are thinkers (I encountered an article that noted only 43% are feelers), men get pinned as competitive, activity-dependent connectors. But the flip side of the coin is also true: many men are socially smooth and excel with relationships. While it’s highly unlikely that any man will ever lean across the table and look deeply into his friends eyes, it’s not at all unnatural for men to get together and intentionally share what’s happening in their lives for the purpose of encouragement, growth, and support.

  2. Jared says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m often interested in articles about male friendships, but they are few and far between.

    I’ve read this theory before that men need a reason to interact, in this case smoking cigars. I completely agree. Most men I know will only spend time together under the guise of watching or playing sports or drinking beer.

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