After I left university, I saw a gradual erosion of what was once a tight male friendship group. Careers, relationships, distances in geography, or changes lifestyles – plenty of factors can make young men feel increasingly cast adrift. It’s important to provide spaces in which men can connect; where they are comfortable sharing their fears, doubts or dreams with other bros. For some that might be joining a club, picking up a new hobby, or getting involved in some fundraising efforts. For me, it was travel.
Dr Geoffrey Greif, author of the Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships, makes the case that men tend to bond around experiences: “shoulder to shoulder”, instead of “face to face.” When I explored the world solo and met other guys on the road, I realised that at first you bond “shoulder to shoulder, ” Whether it’s by trying a new activity, tasting new foods or simply putting the world to rights over a few beers. But, as you get to know each other better, the “face to face” conversations soon follow.
This story originally appeared on Contiki