Ask Shuli: Boy Friends Don’t Cry

Ask ShuliDear Shuli:
I’m a young man in my late 20s, and I’m having a hard time connecting with some of my guy friends, post-college. All they want to do is the same old — hit the bars on weekends — and I’m in committed relationship. How do I keep my friends?

— Man Friend

Dear Man Friend:
I spoke about this with one of my male friends (in his late 30s) the other day. It seems that as they get older, most men find it harder to maintain their friendships. So, you’re not alone. Do your friends spend time with your S.O. as well? Do they get along with each other? Are they willing to pursue other pastimes besides bellying up to the bar? You know, starting a co-ed soccer team in the St. Paul leagues? No, wait. That’s not inclusive (some Jews abhor sports, although I’m not one of them!) How about a bowling team in B’nai B’rith’s co-ed Sunday-morning league at Texa-Tonka Lanes? Too old-fogey? Or, the old stand-by: a weekly, co-ed poker night (strip? No!). Or, the tamer version: Wii game night.

If your dudes want to retain the boys-only social schedule, set a night once or twice a month that’s reserved for them alone. Your S.O. will understand — most do. Respect your friends’ time, and they most likely will respect yours. It’s very important to put the effort into these friendships now. You’ll need them more than ever if you intend to get married and start a family. Too many married couples stray from their friends when life gets busy with wedding planning, playing house and raising children. Don’t be that guy.

Of course, you should also consider the possibility that as you head toward adulthood (marriage or long-term relationships, buying a house and car, working late and making offspring), you may outgrow these particular friends. Open yourself to the possibility of new friends who share your more grown-up interests. Great places to make those new quarter- or mid-life man friendships: Synagogue, JCC athletic leagues or committees, volunteering, themed happy hours sponsored by organizations you like, progressive dinner parties, and low-key holiday parties. As they say in my daughter’s kindergarten classroom, To make a friend, be a friend!