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Men hanging out with men: may be good for health and wellness

It seems like women always have all the fun. They’ve got close girlfriends, BFFs, with whom they hang out, laugh with, and share secrets, gossip and tears. But the fact is, guys who are pals with other guys, benefit from the close friendships as well. 

At earlier stages of our lives, the glory days of male bonding were forged by sports, poker night, bachelor parties, and more may be in the past.  

While those events are less frequent now, older men still benefit from continuing to make new friends throughout their lives. Those bonds of friendship tend to dissipate with age and require constant attention. Loneliness may increase the risk of premature death due to cardiovascular risks. And the importance of brotherly love is highlighted by, appropriately, the Philly Voice. The reality is that later in life men may no longer have the structures in place—sports, work, or military service—that have always fostered friendships.

My Southern Health goes into depth on how male friendships can be good for health and wellness. A night out with friends can increase levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with empathy, relationship building, trust, and more. That means better resilience and less stress. The article suggests being intentional about male friendship and finding opportunities through classes, volunteering, or special interest groups. 

Healthline cites statistics that show that adult men have the fewest friendships of any demographic. And that can have all sorts of impacts, including on health. There are a number of ways for men to make friends, but Healthline cites two: 1) Keep showing up; 2) Get vulnerable. The former means finding a place to hang out regularly. The latter means the willingness to be direct and ask for what one needs—and that may just mean a beer at Happy Hour or going golfing together. And, yes, Healthline notes that men making friends can indeed be awkward. 

Among the activities at Monarch Landing that may lean toward the masculine side are woodworking in the hobby shop, model train club, billiards in the game room, haircuts in the barber shop, and coffee with the veterans group. Looking for more of those manly activities? Catch a minor-league baseball game with the Kane County Cougars or play a round of golf at one of the many courses near Naperville. 

The fact is that male bonding is a real phenomenon with tangible benefits. With a modest effort, most anyone can keep making friends throughout life.