Synopses & Reviews
Much has been made of the complex social arrangements that girls and women navigate, but little scholarly or popular attention has focused on what friendship means to men. Drawing on in-depth interviews with nearly 400 men, therapist and researcher Geoffrey L. Greif takes readers on a guided tour of male friendships, explaining what makes them work, why they are vital to the health of individuals and communities, and how to build the kinds of friendships that can lead to longer and happier lives. Another 120 conversations with women help map the differences in what men and women seek from friendships and what, if anything, men can learn from women's relationships.
The guiding feature of the book is Greif's typology of male friendships: he dispels the myth that men don't have friends, showing that men have must, trust, just,and rust friends. A must friend is the best friend a man absolutely must call with earthshaking news. A trust friend is liked and trusted but not necessarily held as close as a must friend. Just friends are casual acquaintances, while rust friends have a long history together and can drift in and out of each other's lives, essentially picking up where they last left off. Understanding the role each of these types of friends play across men's lives reveals fascinating developmental patterns, such as how men cope with stress and conflict and how they make and maintain friendships, and how their friends keep them active and happy.
Through the lively words of men themselves, and detailed profiles of men from their twenties to their nineties, readers may be surprised to find what friendships offer men--as well as their families and communities--and are sure to learn what makes their own relationships tick.
"[Greif] has written a wonderfully textured exploration of the diversity of men's friendships through the lifespan...Highly recommended."--Choice
"Greif has taken interviews with 400 men about their friendships, and comes to the conclusion that while, yes, there are differences, a man's friendships can be as deep and lasting as a woman's, and those strong relationships help men have longer and happier lives."--Sacramento Book Review
"Fascinating. Most research simply compares men's and women's friendships and finds men's lacking. Through his adept interviews, Greif does something smarter: he finds out what friendships actually mean to men. He listens to what they say, maps their friendships, and sees them from men's point of view. This is a very useful and timely book!"--Michael Kimmel, PhD, Professor of Sociology, SUNY Stony Brook, and author of Manhood in America
"Any man who would like to enlarge the place of friendship in his life will savor this book. It's not that Greif tells us how, specifically, to do it. (We do want to retain some room for our own unique innovations.) It's that he teaches us the kinds of questions to ask ourselves, and then he tells us how other thoughtful men and women view relationships of all kinds. We each have to find our own path to friendship, but this book lights the way."--Terry A. Kupers, MD, MSP, Psychiatrist and author of Revisioning Men's Lives and Prison Madness
Table of Contents
1. How Do We Understand Men's Friendships?
2. What Do Friendship and Friend Mean?
3. So How Do Friendships Actually Work?
4. What Do Men Learn From their Fathers About Friendships?
Part II. Understanding Women's Friendships
5. Do Women Influence Men's Friendships?
6. Do Women Feel the Same Way About Friends As Do Men?
Part III. Men's Friendships across the Decades
7. Marty in His 20s: Needing Friends and Family
8. Zach in His 30s: Balancing Family, Friends, and Work
9. Al in His 40s: Continuing the Balancing Act
10. Mick in His 50s: Needing Friends More Than Ever
11. Michael in His 60s: Friendships Shaped by Early Experiences
12. Donald in His 70s: Going Strong
13. Tom in His 80s: Realizing All His Friends Are Gone
14. Fred in His 90s: Thinking Maybe It's in the Genes
Part Iv. Making and Maintaining Friendships
15. Men's Fellowship at a Saturday Morning Church Group
16. Improving Your Friendships
Appendix A. Methodology
Appendix B. Questions for Men's Groups and Classroom Discussion