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FIRST PERSON: Bromance Matters!

Bromance.  What a lovely term to describe the close bond between two men. This bond is somehow at odds with cultural norms – the idea of males having close relationships with other males.  It’s something of a novelty, if you will, and thus we must celebrate said novelty and enjoy the extraordinary show of that most rare thing: male emotion.

In my opinion, bromance matters. Recently, I was talking to one of my closest friends. She is a female friend, no less. As are nearly all of the friends I would describe as my ‘closest’. Don’t get me wrong, I am not like Paul Rudd’s character from I Love You Man, I do have male friends. Many in fact. But the nature of my relationship with my male friends vastly differs from that of my female friends. Over the last four or five years, I have become more and more comfortable with revealing my anxieties and worries with women exclusively. This has resulted in reducing my male friendships to little more than football banter, hip-hop talk and women. I value my female friends, and no part of me wishes to replace them. Not only are they there for me when I need someone, but they are also hilarious. But this aside, I cannot deny that I have suffered due to a self-created lack of close male bonds.

All too often I find myself drifting away from my boys, and get left feeling like the outsider. I have made myself feel like I am atypical as a man because I have issues that other men do not appear to have. And we all know that this is utterly untrue. Over the last few years I have suffered with depression of varying levels. But recently it has hit a peak (by which I mean an epic low). I have self-harmed and attempted suicide more than once. Information many of my closest female friends already know, but nearly all my male friends are blissfully unaware of. By convincing myself that only women have the ability to understand pain and complex emotions, I have limited myself to only see one perspective on the issues and challenges I have encountered. And to be honest, I have insulted not only my male friends, but all males by assuming that they innately cannot deal with one of their own facing up to emotional difficulties. I am not saying that my difficulties would have been fully resolved by me talking to my male friends, but it would have helped a great deal.  We’re all in this together, man!

SO, this is my cry to all men. Bromance matters! We need to trust each other to be able to help when one of us is down. I love the women in my life, but they cannot truly understand the pressures and expectations we put on ourselves and the expectations we feel are put upon on us. Women do not share our experiences in life and the feelings inside our heads. And though there will be times we need them over our boys, there are also as many times we will need our boys over them. Reach out to your fellow MAN. Reach out to your fellow MAN, and who knows, you may just save a life in the process.

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