Loneliness, Black Men, and Friendships: Part IV
For those keeping score at home, we are at Part 4 in our series on Black male friendships. Up until this point, I have not discussed the issue of how women figure into the situation. And because one post would have been too long, at a later time I will explore how friendships are affected by men in relationships. But today, we will focus on the single brothers.
Let me say for starters that it is probably easier for single brothers to manage more meaningful male friendships. However, this is not always the case.
When things are down, do you call your boy or your “friend”
One issue that many single brothers have to deal with is going through emotional downtimes. And for a myriad of reasons, it is easier for many of us to share our deepest feelings with women rather than men. Now I understand that if you need to get something off your chest, then by all means do what you have to do. However, we should take a step back to think of the long-term implications of never being able to tell your boy what is really going on in your life.
If we were really honest, most brothers do not use each other as sounding boards. However, it is not until a situation has either blown up or otherwise finished, that a brother will then share what happened. But we need to get to a place where we have conversations like this; “Steve, I have this situation and these are the options I am looking at, let me know what you think.”
And since conversations like this are not widespread, it is often the case that brothers will turn to their girl “friends” for comfort. But here’s the twist, whether you are attracted to the woman or not, there is something very intoxicating having a woman listen to your woes while your head is in her lap, figuratively speaking. Now I am not saying brothers shouldn’t be talking to sisters but I am challenging brothers to be honest about what is accomplished after they have heart to hearts with their girl “friends.” Do you get sound, practical advice that you use to help your situation? Do you start out trying to get sound advice but end up talking about topics completely unrelated? Are you intentionally unintentionally laying the foundation for a relationship? Do you find yourself more attracted to this person after talking and/or are you sending signals that might be misconstrued that you may want more than just friendship?
I pray that at least one of these questions speak to you where you are at. My point though is that the majority of these issues could be alleviated if brothers had the courage to have more meaningful conversations beyond work, women, and sports. To be clear, this is not an either/or proposition, such that brothers should only talk to women or men. However, the current balance is heavily in favor of women and we need to tip the balance in the other direction.
For players and non-players alike, it does you no good to be running around with pseudo-girlfriends because you afraid to be lonely. Do some self-evaluation so you can be a better boyfriend/husband for your next relationship. What I mean by pseudo-girlfriend is someone (where there is an established mutual attraction) who fulfills one or some of your needs, but you have no intention of making her your girlfriend. Some examples include but are not limited to physical intimacy, spirituality, emotional support, intellectual debate, hanging out, etc. Situations like this are one of the sure fire ways to guarantee an argument framed around, “What are we?” or “Are we building something serious or not?” So beyond having clear communication, it is important to take advantage of being single and use that time to grow in all the ways you deem important. However, this constant girlfriend status (real or pseudo) does little to help this process. Nor does it help the women who think they are building something that is really all smoke and mirrors.
And if you can’t talk to your friends about real issues, why are they your friends to begin with?
In a word, get off the bosom fellas,
Stay up fam,