I have a question for you. If I ask you to open your phone and scroll down through your list of contacts, would you be able to find a male friend who you can call right away to hangout?
None? I bet so and I wouldn’t be surprised. I find that most women can do this easily but for most of us guys (including myself) I find it really hard. Because here’s the truth: Guys suck at friendships.
I was watching HBO the other night when I chanced upon a hilarious movie called “I Love You, Man”. Sounds unmanly isn’t it? But trust me, it’s not. I highly recommend that you watch it. The story revolves around a straight guy, about to get married soon, but couldn’t find a best man for his wedding. The reason for this? He lacked friends and lost touch with most of his male peers.
Credits: Amazon | Fair use
While I am blessed to have friendships from college and even a best friend who I meet every now and then, I’ve realized that maintaining the connection and the bond with most of my pals in school and my previous jobs is more difficult than I imagined. Some of them live far, a few work abroad and a majority have way different work shifts than I have. I’m sure that many of you who are yuppies building their careers in the city can relate to my experience. I figured that the only logical way to move forward and to get around this is to make new friends and do your very best to maintain the ones you already have.
But exactly how do you make new friends as an adult? In my own experience, I find it even easier to find a woman to date than to make new friends. Especially guy friends. And when I speak of friends, I’m not talking about the dude you just nod to when you come across him by the hallway or the colleague you have no choice but to go out to lunch with since you are basically working on the same project. What I’m talking about is that ever-reliable friend who you hangout with in and out of the office. That buddy you call when your girlfriend breaks up with you. That wingman you go out to a club with hoping to score some girls you meet. Or that bro who makes you drink more shots than you could at a bar, then after feeling guilty and sorry about it, calls a cab to make sure you get home in one piece. He’s the guy you play ball with, your best friend who opens his mouth to make fun of you, but despite all that, he’s the only person qualified enough to earn the title of “Best Man” at your wedding.
So if you are slowly realizing that you don’t have a best pal yet, then don’t worry because you’re not alone. I personally know a lot of guys, and even some here at the PGG Forums who don’t have a best buddy. Before I tell you how to make friends with another dude, I’d like to enumerate the reasons why it is hard for us men to make new male friends, especially once we step out of college.
Why It’s Hard to Make Friends with another Guy
Reason #1: Guys don’t normally go out one-on-one
Can you just imagine hanging out with another guy, one-on-one? I mean, that’s easy when you’ve known the person since you were a kid. But if he’s just an acquaintance you’ve just met and you want to make friends, here is how the conversation usually goes:
Guy 1: Pre, balita? Ano kelan tayo labas?
(Hey dude, what’s up? Let’s hangout)
Guy 2: Tayo lang?
(Just the two of us?)
Guy 1: Eh oo.
Guy 2: Haha! Ano ‘to date? Magyaya ka muna ng iba.
(Haha, is this a date? Ask more people to come with us).
Guy 1: Hahahaha!
End of story. Nothing happens. See? Even if the invitation was spoken in a non-homo way, there’s an unspoken male rule, especially here in the Philippines, where there should be at least a minimum of three guys in order for get-togethers to happen. And I totally understand how it feels. If you are hanging out with another guy one-on-one, it is kind of weird to look into each other’s eyes while having lunch, or uhm, dinner.
Reason #2: If you know nothing about sports, you’re doomed
When we guys speak, there are only three major topics: sports, girls (read: sex) and cars. And maybe some current events and politics. But most of the time, it’s all sports and if you know nothing about it or don’t play ball, I’m sorry but you’re doomed.
As for me, I’m not the most sports-minded guy you’ll ever meet. In fact, the only sport that I knew and used to play back when I was a kid is football. It kind of sucks that not many people here in the Philippines play it as evidenced here and so I try to compensate by trying other sports or having at least a working background of other ball games by watching ESPN, Solar Sports or reading the sports columns of news websites. It helps a lot to have something to talk about when trying to make new friends.
After all, if mathematics is the language of science, sports is the language of men.
Reason #3: Booze is the only way to help you say how you feel
Here’s one of the things that you’ll notice when hanging out with other guys: The majority of the discussions are shallow.
You see in most of the circle of friendships I belong to where the majority are guys, all we do is tease each other and throw playful and sometimes offending jokes. I’ve learned to live with it and go with the flow since highschool days. It’s a pretty normal everyday scenario that guys have to deal with. You gotta be tough. More often than not, jokes are just that – jokes. It’s nothing personal and like it or not, that’s how guy friendships are and how males bond.
The only way to have some serious talk with another dude outside of the daily jokes is to add alcohol into the mix. It’s only with beer where most guys are able to say how they truly feel about something. See, I’m not encouraging you to go all out and drink until your liver explodes in order to express how you feel, but that’s the reality guys have to face. Sad, but true.
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How to make friends with another guy
So having revealed all the unspoken rules and challenges of male friendships, then now what? How do you start making new guy friends? Is it too late to form new friendships when you’re already an adult?
For years, I pondered the answer to that question. But the simple answer is nope, it’s not yet late. You can make friends at any age so don’t worry because there is hope if you follow the advice below.
Based from my experience (which I learned the hard way), here are some tips which will help you in making friends with another dude.
Tip #1: Do your homework
When you meet a potential friend, you just can’t say hi and fall silent the whole time.You’d look stupid if you don’t have anything to say, not to mention that you’ll bore others to death.
So how to be prepared? Do your research and be informed. I suggest you make it a habit to read the news, watch TV, browse through the sports columns, know events and read books. Simply put: make sure you know what’s happening around you so you have something to contribute in a conversation. Because you just can’t show up and try to make friends when you have nothing relevant to say.
Tip #2: Join a club
Making friends in school is easy. You gain buddies just by being asked by your professor to work together in some random grouping. But making friends after college is hard.
So when work and crazy schedules get in your way during professional life, you can’t help but wonder: “Where do I meet new friends?”.
You see, in my experience, the easiest way to meet potential guy friends is by joining a club or attending a class. It’s actually a win-win situation where you hit two birds with one stone. Aside from a chance to meet girls (especially when you are looking for someone to date), you also get a chance to meet other guys who share the same interest as you and who can be your potential buddy.
By joining a club, it’s easier to strike up a conversation with everyone because you already have something in common and something to talk about – your hobby.
As for me, I met new friends by blogging. It is a hobby that really changed my life. I keep telling people that I was an introvert before (and to an extent I still am up to now), but thanks to blogging, I loosened up and improved my social life. I met a number of talented bloggers and other awesome people at events who I now hangout with from time to time.
But what if you are not into blogging? What classes could you join?
On top of my head, here are cool hobbies or places that may help you find new friends.
1. Photography class
2. Art class
3. Self-improvement classes or workshops
4. Gym, Sports or Fun Run clubs
5. Religious or Volunteer Organizations – This is one of the most meaningful and fun organizations to join. I used to be a member of the church choir and also do some outreach and I’ve never felt more inspired and connected to other people.
6. Music – An officemate of mine who loves to play drums met new friends by looking for other people to jam with or form a band with. He did this by registering to online music message boards where he met other guys with the same interest. They all agreed to meet in person and they became good friends. From then up to the present, they continue to play music together and have regular gigs on Friday nights and on weekends at a number of bars in the city.
7. Backpacking / Traveling Solo
8. The PGG Forums – yes guys, see this photo below from PGG’s official Instagram account? These guys are members of the Pinoy Guy Guide – Forums where they initially met and afterwards formed great friendships not just online, but also in real life. I suggest you join the forums too!
The list of places and activities where you can meet new friends is infinite. I usually find these classes or workshops in group buying sites or by searching “Manila Workshops” or Googling for short term courses near my area.
The key here is to join as many classes or organizations as you can where you get to interact with people. By just putting yourself out there, you are increasing your chances of meeting potential friends.
Tip #3: Chat and forget what they will think
At the beginning of this post, I talked about how I find it much easier to strike a conversation with a gorgeous woman I don’t know than it is with another dude. And I’m sure you can relate to that.
In our society, it’s pretty normal for men to walk up to women and talk to them. Even if they get rejected, there’s no big deal. It happens all the time.
But what’s a little bizarre is when you walk up to another guy and try to make friends.
The common dilemma among most heterosexual guys when initiating a conversation with another dude is how to say hi without looking like you are hitting on the other guy. Some men feel awkward or even intimidated about chatting up another dude they do not know.
The solution to this is to not overthink it. Overthinking makes you lose a lot of opportunities not just in making friends and meeting girls but also in doing business and making the best out of life.
So what do I suggest that you do? Just randomly talk to people at a party. After all, what’s the worse that could happen? You get brushed off and that’s fine, move on. Not everyone will like you nor will you retain all the friendships, but at least you tried and you practiced your social skills.
Here’s my usual opener, not just with women, but also with another guy and with people I meet at a networking event or at a party.
As soon as I arrive and have someone standing close to me who I can talk to…
Me: Hey, has the program started?
Potential friend: Ah nope, they said they will be starting in half an hour.
Me: Great, I thought I was late. By the way, I’m Chris… and you are?
Potential friend: I’m Mark
Me: Great to meet you, Mark. How do you know the host?
Potential friend: Oh, we used to work at the same company. And you?
Me: Oh cool. I know him because…
That’s just a sample conversation which is easy and will take you a long way. You see that by just trying to speak and break the ice, you get a chance to meet a potential friend. Remember that to keep the conversation going, you should have come prepared by doing related Tip #1 (see above). And also, don’t go overboard by doing all the talking. Be sure to ask the other guy questions and make him speak as well. Friendship is a give and take thing and you also have to appear interested in what he has to say in order for you to establish good rapport.
At the end of your conversation, don’t forget to exchange calling cards if you feel you have something in common or if you think you’ll be good friends with this person. And even if you think that the dude is not a potential friend, exchanging contact information is useful because you’ll widen your network. Who knows you might need each other some day for a business opportunity? So make sure you always have at least three business cards with you in your wallet. It will help you not only in friendships but also in expanding your reach.
Tip #4: Initiate get togethers
Most adult guys don’t know how to make and keep friends. I know because I was one of them.
After meeting a potential buddy and exchanging contact infos, guys wouldn’t dare to invite each other out (corollary to “Guys don’t normally go out one-on-one” point above).
You hesitate. I hesitate. He hesitates. Because we all know that inviting another dude to hangout feels like you’re inviting a girl out on a date. It’s kind of awkward if you’re not used to it. Not to mention that guys don’t like to phone one another because it’s like whispering into each other’s ears (see Figure below. Credits to 9GAG).
So how to get over all these? Go against the tide and ignore the stereotype. Heck, there is nothing wrong about inviting out another dude for two bottles of beer or maybe for jogging, right?
If you don’t like the idea of a phone call, I suggest a simple text or a message on Viber or Facebook would be sufficient. But before you go there, make sure you have a clear purpose of why and where you’re inviting him to so that it wouldn’t appear like a date. Often, it would be a common activity or a hobby you both like – say gym or jogging or food trip. Movies are reserved for a date with a girl, especially if it is after 5 PM so avoid that at all cost, unless there are at least three of you going to see a movie or if you are bringing along your girlfriends on a group date.
So why am I saying here that you should initiate get togethers? Because if no one does, who will? If you don’t initiate do you think the other guy would initiate too given that you both have the same mindset? I’ve read somewhere that in order for acquaintances to turn into lifelong friendships, there should be at least one self-assured person who would think “hey, this dude is kinda cool to hangout with so let me invite him to play ball.”
But what if he declines your invitation?
Here’s my rule of thumb. I normally invite acquaintances up to three separate occasions. If he declines three of them consecutively, I would never invite him again. I’d conclude that either he’s too busy, antisocial or just doesn’t find you cool or interesting enough to be friends with. So why bother at all?
Tip #5: Don’t Ignore Invitations
This is precisely related to Tip #4 but on the other side of the fence.
If someone invites you to hangout or to go to a party, think twice before you decline or cancel. I’ve learned that if a person invites you to an event, it means that he thought of you as a good friend and someone worthy of their time and attention. So make sure you don’t ignore invitations and try your best to be there.
Another reason why you shouldn’t ignore invitations is that if you decline too many times, the other person would never invite you again. He’ll think he’s not that important to you and as simple as that, you lose another chance of making good friends.
Tip #6: Someone in your contacts is already a potential friend
Let me ask you this: you probably have more than 500 friends on Facebook but exactly how many of those do you hangout with on a regular basis?
Who knows, maybe there’s another dude in your phonebook or in your list of Facebook “friends” who is also looking for a buddy to chill with. Observe what these “potential” friends post on Facebook and find out how many interests you both have in common. Is he into CrossFit? Basketball? Football? Video Games? Is he a 21 kilometer runner just like you?
If yes, then why not send him a message and ask him to join you at a fun run you are attending? Or maybe the other way around. Say you love EDM music just like him. How about you ask him to invite you to concerts he goes to or to parties at Valkyrie at The Palace? That simple act will go a long way in making new male friends.
I’ve seen this a number of times and I’ve personally experienced it myself. I remember I once posted a Facebook status update containing photos I’ve taken at the Manila International Auto Show and FHM 100 Sexiest Victory Party and to my surprise, one of my Facebook contacts who I seldom talk to, liked those pictures and sent me a message asking me to invite him to my next event. I agreed and invited him the next time. It was pretty odd at first if you’re not close but soon we both loosened up and we became great friends. It worked and up to now we would often hangout. And guess what? He even became one of my groomsmen during my wedding!
See what I’m saying? Every straight guy has that “Hey, I wanna be friends with this person. He seems cool.” moment but is just too hesitant or too shy to make the first move for fear of looking like they are hitting on another guy. What is wrong with saying “Hey bro wanna play ball?” or “Dude, I’m watching Zedd’s concert. Want to come along?”? There is no malice in it and I don’t see anything unmanly or gay about it as some heterosexual guys would think. The worst you can get is getting brushed off but who cares if at the end of the day you still win awesome new friends? And what is the use of social media if you won’t utilize it to interact and socialize with friends in real life?
Tip #7: Nurture the friendship beyond two bottles of beer
It ain’t easy to make new friends as an adult man as you’ve probably seen. So if you are fortunate enough to already have existing friendships then isn’t it fitting for you to exert your best effort to nurture them?
There is usually more to friendship than just hanging out over beer. Fine, if you’re busy, that would work as a temporary way of catching up. But every once in a while, you should make time for doing exciting activities together apart from two bottles of San Mig. And that means, going for out-of-town trips, hiking, playing a sport together or partying at a concert with the rest of the crew to keep the friendship alive.
Why am I saying this? It’s because based from my own experience with my friends, catching up over meals or beer gets pretty mundane after a while. Normally, when you meet up at a local bar, everyone is in a hurry to go home or go back to the office. And the worst thing I’ve observed is that if you keep meeting up at restaurants just to eat, you don’t have anything new to talk about other than your work (boring) and your previous barkada inside jokes and stories which happened like five years ago. The old tales back from college or previous jobs keep getting resurrected and although it’s still funny – everyone already knows that story. It’s like you’ve heard it a million times!
So to avoid getting into a monotonous situation like this, the best way is for you to create new experiences and memories together with your gang.
Here is what an ideal staying in touch would look like:
- Meeting once a week or every other week for lunch.
- After-office boys night out on Fridays.
- Movies with your girlfriends or plus ones or maybe playing a sport together a few times a month.
- Quarterly or at least twice a year out-of-town trips.
- And of course, thanks to technology, chatting up with your squad on Viber Groups and Facebook Messenger daily wouldn’t hurt.
I guarantee you that by doing something like those that I’ve mentioned, you’ll create a strong foundation of friendships that will last a lifetime. Brothers and friends for life.
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I’ve realized through the years that making guy friends is just like bonding with your family, dating a girl or being in any other relationship – you need to work on it to keep it fresh and alive.
When meeting new acquaintances, not everyone will like you and there’s no guarantee that you will hit it off and instantly become friends with another dude. But still, you have to put yourself out there to increase your chances of finding potential friends. It takes a while to build ties and you have to understand that people come and go, but those who truly matter and who are genuine friends will stay and will always be there in good times and in bad throughout the rest of your life.
Now before we end, let’s quickly go back to the same question I asked you at the beginning of this post. Can you scroll down through your list of contacts on your phone again right now and find a male buddy who you can call right away to hangout?
Or let’s put it this way. Pretend that you are getting married this year. Can you honestly name five guys who would be your groomsmen? Who among them would be your best man?
If you can’t think of any, then it’s about time for you to get your lazy ass off the Internet and go out to make friends with another dude. Socialize. Apply everything I’ve said in this post and you’ll see that there’s nothing for you to lose, only new friends to win.