Supporting a Man in His Male Friendships

This is an excerpt from Conscious Men, written by John Gray and Arjuna Ardagh.

When men get together with other men, they do it in a very different way than how you spend time with other women. This may require him to edit himself when he is with you. The way men talk sometimes with other men you would probably find rude, crude, or abrasive. Some of the things men say in jest to other men you might even consider to be cruel or unkind.

Men need time with other men to relax and be themselves. When your man wants that, let him go. Sometimes he needs to pull away from you in order to come back refreshed, interested in meeting and missing you, and wanting to bring something of himself to you.

Think of living with a man as comparable to having a big dog in the house. The dog probably loves you a lot and quickly learns how to behave in the house. When you say “Sit,” the dog sits and waits. A dog that loves you will behave well and not get on the furniture if you don’t want him to. But as you know, every now and then, you have to take the dog to the park. Then the dog will run like crazy, and sniff at the asses of other dogs, and bark and play rough with the dogs. If you can let the dog off the leash at the park now and then, you’ll have a happy dog, and your dog will behave well when you bring him in the house again. Of course, being a man is not the same as being a dog. You are dealing with a different species. But still, you are living with an animal who is very different from you. Just like the dog, we are happy to be polite and well behaved and clean up after ourselves, but we need some time when we can just be raw and unedited with other men.

There are lots of things men like to talk aboutwith other men that would bore you to death. Men get interested in engines, how things are built, football scores, and sometimes obscure facts and details that can be boring to the feminine mind. In just the same way, you know that there are many things that interest you and your friends that can be boring to men. You have conversations with your friends you would never have with a man there because you would not feel comfortable. You would feel like you have to translate and explain. That is why it is so important for you to have time with your women friends and for him to have time with other men.

We have noticed that women can have three reactions, broadly speaking, to a man wanting to spend time with other men. The first is resentment and the feeling that a man being with other men is taking time away from you. When you feel that way, you can make a date to have quality time together soon, after he has had time with the guys.

The second reaction we have noticed women have to men being with other men is to think that men should be more relational: “Why don’t you call Peter; why don’t you call David, and go do something together?” Sometimes women feel that men should be closer with other men in just the same way that women are close with other women. But it does not always work like that. Men develop relationships with men in a different way than you develop relationships with women. Please don’t try and organize a man into developing deeper friendships. Just let him go and do things his own way when he wants to go.

The third response women sometimes have to men being with other men is to offer insights about how to deepen relationships and harmonize. This can be really useful to your man. On the whole, women understand better than men how to create sustainable relationships. Women tend to have a better sense of when it is time to visit someone who is sick, or send a thank you note, or to offer help and support even when it has not been requested.

When there is a conflict with another man, men do not always know what to do about it, and the friendship drifts apart and becomes more distant. Those are times when you can support a man and remind him of the value of friendship. However, before you give advice, it is best to ask if it is welcome. If it is, it becomes a way you can support your man to make good decisions about relationships.


From Conscious Men by John Gray and Arjuna Ardagh. You can order a paperback copy or Kindle edition on Amazon here.

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