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True male friendships
How many true male friendships do you have? (iStock photo)

The other day I was hanging out with a group of guys. We were all telling stories of the crazy things we did as young men. It was fun to reminisce.

One thing that stood out to me was how we spoke of friends we had in high school and college. It got me thinking, why do adult men not seem to have the kind of friendships they had when they were younger?

It seems that it is more and more common for men to not have any friends. Most men I know don't seem to have the kinds of friendships they had in high school and college.

What has happened? Why don't we have friends like we did when we were younger?  There are numerous reasons, but I want to draw our attention to two major reasons. 

1. Proximity. Most men post-college are not forced to live in close proximity to other men. Yes, you work closely with other men, but that is very different from having a roommate or living in a dorm, apartment or fraternity house with other guys. Things like sports, school or serving in the military also offer instant community and brotherhood. If you don't have the close relationships with other men that you once had, part of the reason could be a lack of proximity or natural community with other men.

2. Availability and responsibilities. When I was freshman in college hanging out in the common space of my dorm late at night, if some random stranger said he was going out to get food and asked if anyone wanted to come, I was there. Being married for 6 years and having two kids, I've learned that I don't get to do that anymore. My availability is very different. One of the biggest reasons you don't have the friendship you once had is that your availability has changed.

What would you add to this list?  What are the major things that have caused the nature of your friendships to change? 

Most men I know have three spheres of people they spend time with: drinking buddies, work acquaintances and social circle acquaintances. The problem, most of the time, with most guys is they spend most of their time together talking about sports or the weather or politics and never really go below the surface to connect at a soul level. We have settled for a version of friendship that does not help us grow into the men that God is calling us to be.

In part two of this two-part series, we're going to talk about some ways we can go about having great and soul level friendships again.

Matt Patrick is the lead pastor of The Well Church in Boulder, Colorado. For the original article, visit authenticmanhood.com.

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