At the risk of causing friction in your relationship, I want to make this simple yet poignant declaration:
Men Need To Hang Out With Men!
Now if you have been touting this position with your girlfriend or wife and she’s not biting then perhaps the science will shed some much needed light on the topic and spring you for a few more bro fests in the interest of your health.
I for one have had my fair share of testosterone infused bro time and it has enriched my life beyond belief. The nature of special operations allows for bonding on levels most people will never experience.
The fact is it is healthy… nay… vital for survival of your relationships with your spouse or partner.
A leading psychologist claims men’s health and well-being are greatly improved if they see their friends twice a week. I’ll be the first to admit it. I don’t even come close to that, but perhaps I should.
Now, I do train a close buddy every day and this gives me a fairly high level interaction because we use this time to hash out different challenges we are facing, but perhaps I, and you need to be better.
There are also those of you who suggest that even the notion of spending “guy” time could give rise to a night or two in the dog house.
Does your Dam dare dual with science?
Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University claims in a report that while ‘talking with your pals’ on a daily basis is valuable, to experience the real benefits of friendship men must meet up in person twice a week with four friends and ‘do stuff’.
Recommended activities range from playing a sport to simply sharing a joke in the pub over a pint of beer. Pints are critical for reducing some of the communication walls that guys can put up.
That doesn’t mean getting fall down drunk but peeling back the onion a bit can do you a world of good.
One of my favorite things to do after range practice or tactical training days was head out with the team and have a laugh at the local pub.
The report says that men who maintain social groups are healthier, recover from illness more quickly and tend to be more generous.
Now which ladies out there reading this don’t want their husband to be more generous?
Despite the findings, two out of five men claim they manage to meet their friends only once a week and a further third struggle to catch up that frequently.
Men spend one fifth of their day socially interacting with people from their network of around 150 ‘acquaintances’, mainly through online social media, text and phone conversations.
It’s reasons such as this that I created the closed membership group Alpha Nation, but that alone isn’t enough. In addition to this, you need to go the extra mile.
The research proves men need to actually get together in person to prevent the quality of their friendships eroding and, more importantly, experience the benefits associated with strong male bonds.
Men, on average, spend just less than half of their social time with an inner circle of four to five close pals – and research suggests that this is linked directly to the banter that such a group inspires and its benefits.
Through empirical studies, it has been proven that laughter is much less likely to occur if a social circle becomes bigger than five – and, because of laughter’s ability to produce the endorphin surges that give a sense of well-being, men may be subconsciously drawn towards ‘hanging out’ in social circles of this size.
Professor Dunbar, whose report was commissioned by Guinness, said: ‘Bonds can be formed through a range of activities from team sports to male banter – or simply having a pint with your pals on a Friday night. However, the key to maintaining strong friendships is to meet up twice a week and do stuff with the four people closest to you.’
Stephen O’Kelly, from Guinness, said: ‘When guys get together physically and more frequently with their mates, their friendships become stronger, better and a richer life results.’
The writer Danny Wallace said: ‘Science is telling us to have more fun together and do more stuff. This is great news, for we must obey science.’
The mental health charity Mind has warned that men can be hit by depression because of worries about money and job insecurity. Long working hours can also have a dramatic impact on men, but spending time with friends is considered a key part of combating depression.
Although some might take a topic such as this and simply dismiss its merits, I believe there is serious value to be gained through fellowship and interaction with a group of guys who are tight and who can rely on each other.
When it comes time to face one of life’s many challenges, it helps to know you have a team at your back.
You should know that behind the mountain you just conquered is another mountain. Nurture your team and support network, look after your circles and reap the benefits of a solid social circle for success.