Why boys and men struggle to maintain friendships – and how to change that

Detroit today,

Sam Corey

As age-old institutions like churches and social clubs become less important to Americans, friendships often fill in the gaps. But when friends aren’t around, life can get quite difficult, sometimes unbearably painful.

While many struggle with social isolation, boys and men in particular struggle to retain friends. And some studies suggest that social isolation can help fuel violence.

An academic explores why this phenomenon particularly hurts boys because they have misaligned personal desires for intimate connection and cultural expectations to be “manly” and insensitive to others.

“If we raise our children to go against their natures – and their nature is to have a hard and soft side – we shouldn’t be surprised that they grow up and some of them struggle and have difficulties. difficult times, and even commit violence.” — Niobe Way, teacher


Listen: Why boys and men should be encouraged to lean into their softer parts of themselves.



Guest

Niobe Way is a professor of developmental psychology and founder of the Project to Advance Our Common Humanity at New York University. She is also the author of several books and writes extensively on male friendships, most notably in “Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection”.

Way says that people have both hard parts and soft parts, but if we teach people to focus only on their hard parts, we are doing them a disservice and creating instances where violence is more likely.

“If we raise our children to go against their natures – and their nature is to have a hard and soft side – we shouldn’t be surprised that they grow up and some of them struggle and have difficulties. difficult times, and even commit violence,” says Way.

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  • Sam Corey

    Sam Corey is a producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 WDET, which includes researching and preparing interesting stories for radio. He loves to dance salsa – and real salsa.

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