Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Lost Art of Buddyship

Taken from

The Hazards of Being Male, published
> The Lost Art Of Buddyship

>While preparing this chapter I kept thinking back to a recent ten day seminar on
>aggression in which I participated. An actress conducted an evening program on
>the subject of aggression and the theatre.

>She arrived early on the afternoon of the day of the program with a woman friend
>approximately her age who was helping her prepare for the evening presentation.
>Both are attractive, normal, equally successful heterosexual women and their
>friendship and interaction was very special to watch. Her friend hovered around
>her constantly, as involved and concerned that everything should be set up
>artistically and correctly as if the program was hers. She soothed and comforted
>the actress whenever she expressed any doubts or anxiety, constantly gave her
>encouragement, and communicated enthusiasm and excitement in anticipation of the
>evening. Then she helped her dress in an elaborate outfit, checking carefully to
>see that the makeup and the overall look were just right. Forty five minutes
>before the program was to begin she urged her to rest up and volunteered to get
>everyone seated and to inform them that there would be no smoking. Once it began
>she was there to participate and to help keep the program moving, and after it
>was all over she embraced her friend, helped her gather all the materials
>together and put them into the van. Along with a few others they went out to
>celebrate. Even though the woman friend was married and had children, she never
>expressed a feeling of being imposed upon nor rushed to get back home.
>As I observed this interaction go on for seven or eight hours I was deeply
>moved, jealous, and saddened at the same time. The jealousy and sadness I felt
>was for myself and for many other men who I believe rarely, if ever, are capable
>of or experience such a caring, sharing, and loving relationship with another
>man--one in which great pleasure is taken in facilitating the accomplishment of
>the other, just as if it were happening to oneself. The existence of a
>"buddyship," in which they each facilitate and derive deep satisfaction from the
>success and achievement of the other, is uncommon.
>I personally have to go back to my high school days to recall relationships of
>that nature-relationships where we honestly rejoiced in each other's triumphs.
>By the time I was in college it seemed that all of us men had already been
>thoroughly contaminated by the competitive posture that was subtly yet
>constantly undermining the possibility of genuine intimacy and caring. Instead,
>we were always checking each other out, looking over each other's women to see
>who had the prettiest, and never being sure if we could trust even our closest
>friends around an attractive girl friend.

>It seemed like we all were hustling, and although we didn't want to see our
>friends fail, we also weren't very eager to see them do better than we did, to
>have them accomplish something of which we weren't capable. Then there was
>always the threat of being called a "fag" if one expressed affection openly to
>another male. When we saw such affection displayed we smiled at each other

>As adult males in our culture the phenomenon of being without even a single
>buddy or good friend is a common one-so widespread in fact, that it is not seen
>as unusual nor is it even spoken about. Rather, it is taken for granted. Many
>men I interviewed admitted to not having one intimate male friend whom they
>totally trusted and confided in. However, most of them seemed to accept this as
>being a normal and acceptable condition.

>One weekend, while I was vacationing at a resort, I was discussing this book
>with the wife of a successful California real estate man. I mentioned that I was
>including a chapter on male friendships. She commented to me, "I wish I could
>find my husband a good friend. He's got loads of business acquaintances but not
>one real friend. And I know he's lonely. There's nobody he calls up for no
>reason except to say 'hello' and to chat. It's always a business or family

>At the time, this woman happened to be sitting with two women friends with whom
>she had come to the resort. Their husbands had stayed at home because of work
>commitments. Throughout the lunch they happily and comfortably chatted with each
>other, exchanging family anecdotes, discussing intimate matters relating to
>their husbands, mutual friends, the children, or themselves. They were clearly
>enjoying each other, listening and responding easily.

>At a nearby table there were several men sitting together. In contrast to the
>women, they looked uncomfortable and strained. They seemed to have little to say
>to each other as they looked at their food or around the dining room for no one
>in particular. Occasionally, one would tell a joke or try to say something
>witty. The interaction was clearly tense until a woman came by who knew one of
>the men and joined the table. Suddenly the men became more animated and relaxed.
>Up until then there had been no dynamism in their interaction, no spontaneity
>and no relaxed sharing.

>From both ends of the continuum, men seem to be blocked when they try to relate
>to each other. That is, they are not comfortable sharing their downsides-their
>failures, anxieties, and disappointments. Perhaps they fear being seen as weak,
>complaining losers or crybabies, a perception that threatens their masculine
>images. Neither do they seem to feel comfortable sharing their ecstasies or
>successes for fear of inciting competitive jealousies or appearing boastful.
>Consequently, verbal social interactions between men focus on neutral, largely
>impersonal subject matters such as automobiles, sports, and politics.

>In the course of interviewing adult males I became particularly aware of the
>isolation of the married ones. While most denied being lonely, they almost all
>indicated that their wives were their only close friends, the only person they
>really trusted. They blamed the lack of male friends on the fact that they were
>too busy, but the real reasons were significantly more complex than that.

>Until two years before I met him, Ralph, a thirty three year old married glass
>salesman had one close male friend, an old, high school buddy. Then his friend
>began to make considerably more money than he did, remodeling his home and
>putting in a swimming pool and a billiard room. Shortly thereafter Ralph broke
>off the seventeen-year friendship explaining, "I didn't want him to think we
>were coming over just to use the swimming pool."

>Where Ralph had been a vigorously independent and impulsive person before he
>married, he gradually became increasingly dependent on his wife, to the point
>that it scared and upset her. He told her that she was everything to him, and
>that he hoped he would die before her because he could never bear the loneliness
>of living without her.

>Another example is Alan, aged fifty-four, the manager of a large travel agency.
>During our interview he expressed a sentiment that I had heard in various forms
>from many men. He said he didn't have any close male friends because the only
>guys he met were at work. "I avoid socializing with the guys who work for me. I
>think it's bad business. If you want to get the job done you've got to keep an
>impersonal kind of objectivity." He added that he really liked many of the men
>he worked with but he just couldn't take the risk of getting too friendly with
>them. Alan could only think of one close male friend that he had had as an
>adult, and that person had died three years before. But as close as they were
>they only got together in the company of their wives. Whenever he called his
>friend on the telephone and spoke for more than five or ten minutes his wife
>would chide him for gossiping like a "washerwoman." This embarrassed him until
>the calls stopped altogether.

>He finds it hard to make friends. Even though many of the men he meets are
>younger than himself he invariably relates to them in very competitive and
>defensive ways. He rationalized his lack of friends by the fact that his wife
>frequently complained of illness. "I'd feel lousy about myself if I went out and
>had a good time while she was sitting at home." Therefore, he spends his free
>time working on the cars, in the yard, or improving his home.
>Gregory is a twenty-eight-year-old bicycle importer. According to his wife,
>Cindy, "Until Gregory got involved in group therapy, he didn't think another man
>would be interested in his feelings. He thought it was inappropriate to express
>feelings to another man." Before group therapy their friends were mostly Cindy's
>old girl friends from college and their husbands. The husbands never got
>together on their own, only as part of a couple.

>Through group therapy Gregory has got closer to men but even so he tends to play
>the role of analyst to them and to listen rather than reveal himself. He noted
>that even in group therapy there was a lot of competition among the men,
>particularly about pinpointing feelings. "God help you if you aren't in touch
>with your feelings first and best," he said.

>Gregory still feels, however, that he doesn't have a "real friend," someone he
>can confide in and completely trust. His wife admitted that she puts a damper on
>some of his group relationships because some of them have become too intense and
>men would call Gregory for help during dinnertime or very late at night. Gregory
>would always run out to meet them if they wanted to talk and his wife began to
>resent this.

>She also felt uncomfortable, however, about the fact that he turned exclusively
>to her for comforting. "He'll tell me he feels like a raw nerve and he wants me
>to comfort him, because nobody else can. I rub his back and do my best to listen
>to him. But he really gets furious when my mind wanders while he's talking and I
>have to ask him to repeat his feelings."

>Men who were interviewed rationalized their alienation from other men in various
>ways. Other men were too "uptight," "screwed up," "defensive," "always
>competing," too withdrawn," and "boring." As one said, "They're no fun to be
>with. I'd rather be with a woman." The repression of closeness with one's own
>sex is not nearly as great in relationships between women and consequently they
>can comfortably be physical and playful with each other without anxiety.

>In general, the extreme repression of male homosexual feelings in our culture
>and the intense anxiety about "being one" creates a major stumbling block in
>even normal male-male closeness. It results in the situation so commonly seen
>today where most adult men admit to being really comfortable only in close
>relationships with women. Getting close to another man, particularly if one does
>not have an equally close female in one's life, often mobilizes intense sexual
>anxieties, doubt, and suspiciousness. That horrible preoccupation of, "I wonder
>what he really wants from me" emerges as soon as an overture of warmth and
>friendliness is made by one man toward another.

>A friend vividly recalled to me that in the middle of one of his European
>lecture tours his flight was delayed twelve hours due to engine problems. Each
>passenger was asked to share a room for the night with another passenger. My
>friend was booked into a room that had only one large bed. He remembered how
>careful he and his fellow male passenger were as they each slept on the very
>edges of their own side of the bed, in seeming terror of accidentally touching
>each other.

>It is a tragic irony in our culture that men can only come comfortably close to
>each other when they are sharing a common target. As teenagers they come
>together in a gang or as members of a team out to "destroy" the other team. As
>adults, in wartime, they have a common enemy.

>Many men recall their Army days as having been happy ones in the sense of their
>having felt real friendship or kinship with other men, an experience they have
>not had since. In the Army however, the common target was often the commanding
>officer, as well as the enemy. I am certain that POWs developed intense
>closeness as they joined together in the common pursuit of survival and hatred
>for their captors. The simple pleasure of being together with no other reason
>than to enjoy each other's company and support seems to be almost an
>unattainable experience for most men.

>Married men often remarked that they didn't feel comfortable with divorced men
>because they claimed that it was too depressing. They'd label the divorced man
>as immature. These relationships, it often turned out, were also often
>discouraged by the wife of the married man who was threatened by the possibility
>that he would be influenced by his divorced friend.

>Several divorced men commented that it wasn't until after the marriage broke up
>that they realized that they had never really enjoyed the company of many of the
>couples they socialized with during marriage. That is, many men who seemed to
>enjoy each other's company when they got together as part of a couple discovered
>that they had nothing in common when they got together on their own without
>their wives.

>Some men expressed the notion that if they burdened another man with their
>problems that this would obligate them in the future. Friendships were seen, in
>a sense, as business trade-offs. If you asked for help you would be expected to
>give it at some future point.

>In the area of friendship many men also related to their wives as disapproving
>mother figures. They found it almost impossible to indicate that they were going
>to spend an evening, day, or weekend with a male friend. Usually this was not
>the case at the beginning of the marriage when the wives encouraged their
>husbands to have autonomous friendships. However, gradually this would change
>and in subtle ways the men began to feel that it wasn't worth the hassle of
>"asking permission" and of feeling guilty about leaving their wives at home
>alone with the children. They disliked having to explain what they did or said
>and who they had been with when they returned.

>A friend told me of an instance in which he spontaneously invited another man to
>a poker game. The invited man became flustered and uncomfortable as he searched
>for an appropriate excuse that wouldn't make him look too henpecked. "I'll take
>a rain check on that. I already told my wife I'd be home for dinner and she'd
>really be pissed off."

>Because many married males work hard at maintaining the facade of a monogamous
>relationship, they are often fighting off the impulse to wander and to engage in
>casual sexual relationships. Because of these secret or repressed sexual desires
>they have chronically guilty consciences. Consequently, they expect that they
>won't be believed by their wives if they say they're going out with a male
>friend, particularly if they do so on a regular basis. They assume that they
>will be accused of having been with another woman or of having done something
>other than what they said they did.

>Men married to women who play the traditional role of housewife and mother are
>particularly prone to feeling guilty if they enjoy themselves when their wives
>are at home. "It's not fair for me to be out having a good time, even if it's
>only with the boys, if she's at home with the kids." This same man might be very
>happy indeed if his wife went out alone with women friends. In a sense, by her
>doing so she could collect some trading stamps that would entitle him to a
>guilt-free time but alone at some later date.

>Many men have come to view the need for a buddy as a remnant of immaturity, or
>an adolescent need. However, their latent hunger for one is seen in their
>ecstatic response when they accidentally run into an old buddy. Often, it almost
>brings them to tears.
>When two single men become friendly with one another their friendship frequently
>revolves around the joint pursuit of women. A friendship with no other reason
>than to enjoy each other's company tends to generate too much anxiety,
>particularly anxiety surrounding homosexual feelings and impulses.
>Because of the strong need to retain one's masculine image, men tend to be quite
>guarded around each other. Consequently, their talk rarely becomes personal. One
>man who was interviewed remarked at how amazed he had been when a male friend he
>thought he knew well separated from his wife. "I never even knew that they were
>having problems," he commented.

>As an offshoot of women's consciousness-raising groups there have been efforts
>at creating male consciousness-raising groups. Reports describing the process of
>these groups suggest that there is a real struggle to keep them together. Group
>cohesion is tenuous and the interaction among the men tends to remain on an
>intellectualized, distant plane.

>One man who had joined a male consciousness-raising group wrote about his
>experience. "In the world of men, I was alone, jealous, angry, untrusting, and
>uptight. Only with women could I let it hang out." While still part of his male
>consciousness-raising group, he contracted cancer. Before going in the hospital
>he received deep concern and warm support. Once in the hospital undergoing
>surgery however, there was not a word from any member of the group except one.
>"I knew the others all cared, but they didn't know how to handle it. This time I
>knew it was the group's problem, not mine. I was in bed but they were crippled.
>I felt disgust and sadness along with my anger."

>I believe that these groups tend not to remain together for long periods of time
>because they lack a commonly shared target. In fact, attack or competition in
>these groups is tacitly and overtly considered taboo. Many men join them because
>they want to please their women or to learn how not to be male oppressors.
>Consequently there is a subtle group climate of self-hate and guilt induction.
>The target is oneself and each male is cautious about using words or relating in
>ways that are "typically male chauvinist." While there is mutual support to
>liberate oneself there is a dearth of joyful, playful, and unpremeditated ways
>of relating. Instead, a new subtle competition has arisen, competition to be the
>least competitive or chauvinistic.

>The capacity for what I term "buddyship" is a genuine social skill, an area of
>competence that needs to be learned. I have chosen the word "buddyship" because
>of its connotations of youth and of spontaneity. This, combined with adult
>maturity contains the potential for the ultimate in masculine friendship. I have
>conceptualized four phases often present in the development of a buddyship.
>These four phases include themanipulative phase, the companionship phase, the
>friendship phase and finally, the buddyship phase.

>The manipulative phase is where most relationships between men begin and remain.
>It is a phase of mutual using often to the benefit of both. It is also an
>interaction in which there is a mutually beneficial feed-off, such as occurs in
>the business world. The men come together because each has a skill, talent, or
>resource that the other can use. So long as the mutually shared goal exists and
>one man can help the other get ahead or expand his social or business territory,
>the relationship will remain viable. However, once there are no mutual benefits
>to pursue the relationship will tend to fade.

>The manipulative phase may also assume other forms. A fairly common one is the
>relationship between the successful man and his "tag-along" or "kick me," the
>mentor and his student, the powerful man and his sycophant. The successful man
>is often a lonely, isolated person who can only relate comfortably with a person
>who respects, even adores him, and who is always available. The follower gets
>his payoff by basking in the aura of the other man, with the hopes that he will
>eventually make himself emotionally and actually indispensable (which often
>happens) and thereby reap some of the material and status rewards.

>The manipulative phase can be destructive if one man is being used to his own
>detriment. In that case he is treated like an object and discarded when he no
>longer serves a purpose. The mutual caring disappears when the user has gotten
>what he wants and moves on to greener pastures.

>The next step in the development of a relationship between men is the
>companionship phase. Companionship relationships are basically segmentalized
>ones which revolve around sharing a specific activity such as golfing, going to
>horse races, drinking together, pursuing women, playing cards, etc. if one of
>the men becomes ill, often he will not see his companion again until he has
>recuperated and is ready to play.

>The mutually shared activity becomes the safe structure or excuse for getting
>together. It helps to define and limit the interaction in such a way as to make
>spontaneous intimacy unnecessary. Companionship is a form of mutual using but it
>is usually playful and benign. The relationship is limited again because there
>are no real roots of mutual caring. Consequently, when the commonly held
>interest no longer exists the relationship tends to wither and disappear.

>Companionships, after a mutual testing period, may sometimes evolve into the
>friendship phase. One test of whether a companion can become a friend is the
>reaction to competition-winning and losing. If one man tends to incite the envy
>and jealousy of the other, then the friendship phase will not be reached.
>However, if the two men can find pleasure in teaching one another and in each
>other's individual success, a friendship can evolve.

>In other words, a relationship can emerge from the companionship phase into the
>friendship phase, if each person feels included by the other, rather than
>extremely competitive. In this instance the alienating forms of competitiveness
>have been sublimated and the men do not feel beaten when they lose. The
>interaction does not generate a compulsive need to be better. There is pleasure
>in just being with the other and there is a capacity for a free flow of
>conversation, not necessarily confined to any one specific subject.
>The friendship phase is one which involves mutual aid, compassion, and a willing
>readiness to be there in an emergency. A friend will lend money or other valued
>objects such as a car. He will inquire after his friend during illness and will
>provide a bed to sleep in when needed.

>The friendship phase is relatively free of mutual manipulation, and more of the
>whole person is involved. It can, however, only become a buddyship once they
>have experienced a crisis that tests the friendship. If the crisis is
>transcended, vulnerabilities have been revealed and come to be respected, and
>deep trust has developed the buddyship phase can begin.

>Buddyship is the deepest of male-male interactions. Buddyships, which already
>have endured crises, have rich dimensions that generally cannot exist even in
>the deepest male- female relationships. For example, it has facets of a good
>father-son and a loving brother-brother interaction. Each buddy, at alternate
>times, may assume the role of teacher or guide to the other and will revel in
>the other person's development and expanded skills. And there is also a sense of
>warmth and empathic understanding and comfort when one person is feeling weak,
>acting foolish, or being vulnerable. In these instances, one buddy gets
>stability and nourishment from the other. There is a happy, mutual sharing of
>resources, bothmaterial and emotional. The competitive element is
>inconsequential and a win for one becomes a win for both.

>The brother-brother dimension of buddyship is one in which each looks out for
>the other, protecting him from exploitation. It is this phase of the male-male
>interaction that tends to be the most threatening to a wife or girl friend of
>one of the buddies. That is, a buddy will not hesitate to tell the other when he
>sees him allowing himself to be manipulated or self-destructively controlled by
>a woman.

>Buddyship may also be threatening to an involved woman because many of its
>dimensions are not shared with her. Buddies will share deepest feelings about
>their relationships, personal fantasies, private or secret experiences. This may
>be very disturbing to an involved woman and her jealousy over the relationship
>may be deeper even than jealousy over a man's girl friend-partially because a
>relationship with another woman can be righteously attacked as being a betrayal
>of trust while a buddyship cannot.

>Consequently, the woman may consciously or unconsciously attempt to undermine or
>destroy the buddyship. This may be attempted through derogatory comments,
>flattery, or suggestive innuendoes. "What do you need him for? He's a big baby,"
>"He just uses you," "You're like two overgrown adolescents," "He's not good
>enough for you," "He's jealous of you," "He's a loser," "You're always kissing
>his ass," "Why don't you go to bed with him? You spend more time with him than
>you do with me." Suggestive remarks may be made implying latent homosexuality.
>Explosive arguments will occur particularly if a wife or girlfriend sees "her
>man" do something for a buddy that he might not do for her or lend money or
>material possessions that she feels will cause her to be deprived in some way.

>Female jealousy and resentment over a buddyship may also reflect her awareness
>that its roots may be deeper, because the relationship has more room for
>freedom, is less possessive, and does not have the components of jealousy and
>role rigidity that often exist in male-female relationships.

>Buddyships are relatively role free. Each male feels safe enough to be open to
>act silly, stupid, and in spontaneous, child-like and affectionate ways which he
>may not feel safe enough to show anyone else.

>The art of buddyship in our culture is undeveloped because it requires time, a
>willingness to work through crises, to upset one's heterosexual partner, to
>endure hostile suggestions and innuendoes about latent homosexuality, and a
>social maturity and competence that is not culturally recognized or rewarded the
>way that, for example, marriage is. If anything, a buddyship, if it is
>particularly intense, is embarrassing to others. Buddies are accused of delayed
>emotional development and of neglecting more important activities and
>relationships. Buddyships are often viewed as a threat to the "mature" husband-
>wife relationship because they require time, cultivation, commitment, mutual
>nourishment, and love. Their rewards, however, if achieved, are great because of
>their mutually supportive, nourishing, no-strings-attached aspects. They can
>endure stresses that few male-female relationships can because they do not have
>legal, contractual binds that force them to remain together.

>The lack of such a relationship makes a man particularly vulnerable. It
>overintensifies his dependency on his woman, placing an emotional burden on her
>that can suffocate and destroy their relationship. Once a primary relationship
>with a woman breaks down the man has no one to turn to. In addition, once the
>male has totally and solely become reliant on a woman for the satisfaction of
>his emotional needs, he cannot afford to risk losing her. Consequently, he win
>be more prone to cling to an unhappy, unfulfilling relationship out of
>desperation and the frightening fear of being cut off from all emotional

>I believe that the lack of buddyship is also an important factor in the
>significantly higher male suicide rate and the significantly higher rate of
>death of divorced males as opposed to divorced females. Instead of reaching out
>for help, comfort, and nourishment from a buddy he hides behind a facade of
>strength and independence. Or he desperately reaches out for another woman,
>often throwing himself prematurely into another relationship. When no woman is
>available to him he may become engulfed in his isolation and alienation and
>become suicide prone.

>It is my belief that the male needs to realize the importance of a buddyship
>relationship and learn to develop one. The path toward a buddyship relationship
>is a difficult and hazardous one that requires an awareness of the great need
>and survival value of such a relationship. It is much more difficult to launch
>because while the male-female relationship tends to begin on the basis of a
>sexual attraction, the initial reaction between males tends to be one of
>cautiousness, anxiety about openness and getting close, and some distrust.
>Therefore, while a male-female relationship can arrive at a state of intimacy
>fairly rapidly, the male-male relationship must endure various phases of
>development and be tested before the intimacy of buddyship can be achieved.

>The continuing impact of a buddyship is the development of a deep mutual
>respect, trust, and pleasure in each other's company. Envy and competitiveness
>will increasingly recede into the background while your buddy's growth and
>achievements will begin to make you feel as good as if it were happening to you.
>You will find growing interest in each other as total people and the specific
>things you do together will become significantly less important than the simple
>joy and comfort in being with each other. A real buddyship will last a lifetime,
>remaining in the face of even massive personal changes in every other aspect of

>Guidelines Toward Achieving Buddyship
>1. Begin by articulating those attributes which you respect in another man and
>those which you dislike.

>The positive attributes should include personality characteristics that generate
>joy, the freedom to be yourself, a willingness to open up and reveal yourself as
>a person, a sense of trust and safety, a desire to be talkative, humorous, and
>silly, an eagerness to explore, expand, and risk, and a receptiveness to
>learning new things when you are around that person.

>The negative attributes would include characteristics that tend to make you feel
>pessimistic, distrustful, guarded, inhibited, uncreative, bored, depressed,
>resentful, and scared about life when you are in that person's presence.

>Draw a social nexus chart which pictures yourself in the center and the men that
>you consider potential buddies in circles around you. Place those you feel
>closest to nearest yourself and those you feel more distant from in circles
>which are progressively further away.
>Now define in specific terms the characteristics you like and dislike about
>each. The following questions may be helpful to you in doing this:

>a) Is he guarded and secretive around me and do I feel guarded and secretive
>around him? In other words, do I feel like I'm prying whenever I ask him
>something personal? Do I feel anxious and regretful when I tell him something
>intimate about myself? Does he volunteer personal information about himself
>freely when he's around me and do I feel a strong desire to be open about myself
>when I'm around him?

>b) Do I feel comfortable calling him and would he call me up for no other
>reason than to say hello?

>c) Do I feel comfortable going over to see him on the spur of the moment, or do
>I feel I have to plan each meeting with him carefully and well in advance and
>only for a specific reason such as golfing?
>d) Do I feel respected and appreciated when I'm around him and do I respect and
>admire him?

>e) Do I have envious and competitive feelings toward him and do I sense that he
>has similar feelings toward me?

>f) Does he say and do things that embarrass me and do I seem to make him

>g) Would I feel comfortable asking him to drive me to the airport, lend me his
>car, or give me a place to sleep when I needed that? Would I feel comfortable
>doing these things for him?

>h) Would I feel safe and confident if he were alone with my girl friend or wife
>and would I feel comfortable knowing that I could resist the temptation to
>seduce his girl friend or wife without his knowledge when he wasn't around?
>i) Do I feel I can grow, learn, and become more through a relationship with him
>and do I feel that I can provide the same kind of atmosphere and opportunity for

>j) Am I eager to know him as a total person or am I just interested in him to
>share a specific activity and would otherwise prefer not to get closer to him?

>4. Once you have determined who is a potential buddy, recognize that two of the
>areas of greatest difficulty are those of trust and of dominance.

>To handle the area of trust ask your potential buddy to define vulnerable areas
>with you; the kinds of behaviors that would destroy confidence and good feeling
>in both of you. Begin with the milder ones such as, for example, a show of
>indifference in him when you are discussing something of great importance to
>you. (One man mentioned to me his anger and diminished trust at a friend whose
>one ear was glued to the radio listening to a football wrap-up show while he was
>trying to discuss serious problems.) Then go progressively to the more sensitive
>areas such as making derogatory comments about you in front of close friends,
>not backing you up in an argument with others, revealing something personal to
>others which you had told him in confidence, or being seductive with a woman you
>care about.
>To handle the issue of dominance, work toward equalizing power and
>decision-making so that neither of you winds up in the shadow of the other.
>Arrange tag-along meetings where one afternoon or evening you share in an
>experience of interest to him and then have him tag-along doing something which
>involves an area of your strength and interest.

>5. Share your respective experiences of past disappointments and hurts in other
>friendships. Discuss incidents that have previously impaired or destroyed
>friendships for both of you as a way of learning about each other's areas of
>vulnerability and sensitivity.

>Get together on a regular basis, perhaps once a month, a time specifically set
>aside to keep your relationship up to date and to avoid hidden injustice
>collecting. At this time discuss any incident or remarks that were made by
>either of you which caused disappointment or discomfort. In other words, be open
>with each other regarding areas of abrasion before they create great rifts.

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