Male Friendship

I came across these two discussions of the lack of friendship among males, particularly white, heterosexual males. The dearth of male friendship is a serious problem in our modern world. The average American has only 2 close friends. While, as per the Salon article above, white, heterosexual males have the fewest friends.

This lack of friendship comes from a variety of factors, but there are three specific to men. The first is the confluence of both philia and eros under the word love, and the resultant conquering of love by eros. Due to this, in our present language “manly love” might as well mean queer. Related to this is the rise of the homosexual lifestyle in popular culture.

The Slate article almost gets this:

Chalk this heart-squeezing shift up to our limiting ideals of masculinity, which define themselves in opposition to all things feminine. Friends are empathetic, affectionate, not afraid to leave their tower of self-reliance for occasional support. You know who else is like that? Women. “Being a good friend…as well as needing a good friend, is the equivalent of being girly,” Wade writes, so the boys end up opting out.

Wade doesn’t mention the rainbow elephant in the room, but I wonder whether men are less afraid of girliness here than homosexuality. In many ways, it’s a distinction without a difference, since homophobes tend to imagine gay men as effete. But if a man ever is allowed to relax his stone face, it’s around his romantic partner. Being open, communicative, vulnerable—all of these behaviors evoke love relationships. It makes a sad kind of sense that boys trying to assert their masculinity would steer clear of playing the “boyfriend” around other guys.

But as usual, they miss the mark, and make a demonstration of the third reason:

Friends are empathetic, affectionate, not afraid to leave their tower of self-reliance for occasional support. You know who else is like that? Women. “Being a good friend…as well as needing a good friend, is the equivalent of being girly,

Affectionate and empathetic? It just sounds queer.

The reason this sounds queer is these are not masculine friendships, these are feminine friendships.  (Not that the feminine mode of friendship is wrong; it’s good, but for women).

The third reason for the decline is male friendship is the colonization of the language of friendship by the feminine. The words used to describe friendships in the above articles are good examples of this: empathy, affection, intimacy, emotional support, etc. are all womanly or would be reserved for your lover; to apply these to a masculine relationship sounds gay.

If this is what friendship is painted as, of course men are going not going to have friendships. Who the hell wants to gather around in a sob circle with their male friends?

But by defining friendship as the feminine, the modern world is pushing out (has pushed out?) the ability to express male friendship through the English language.

To reestablish male friendship, we need to reestablish masculine relationships. We need to retake friendship, retake philia, retake manly love.

(Bro is a decent attempt at this, but bromance just sounds retarded and queer).


For the theoretical framework of masculine friendship we can go back to Jack Donovan’s Way of Man. Male social bonds were formed as a part of the gang. Men bonded through hunting and war parties. They bonded not through faggy emoting, but through shared action, shared virtue, shared goals, shared suffering, and shared victory. They built each other up to work together against the common foe.

Obviously, we can’t go back to the old warband model. There’s no opposing tribes to make war against anymore outside of the ghetto (at least not until the happening), and if you tried to do so, you’d go to jail. But men can attempt to rebuild the same pattern through the creation of a gang. Read the Way of Man for more on this.

We can rebuild the male friendship without the need to go murdering our neighbours. Aristotle outlined the virtuous male friendship many centuries ago:

Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good-and goodness is an enduring thing. And each is good without qualification and to his friend, for the good are both good without qualification and useful to each other. So too they are pleasant; for the good are pleasant both without qualification and to each other, since to each his own activities and others like them are pleasurable, and the actions of the good are the same or like. And such a friendship is as might be expected permanent, since there meet in it all the qualities that friends should have. For all friendship is for the sake of good or of pleasure-good or pleasure either in the abstract or such as will be enjoyed by him who has the friendly feeling-and is based on a certain resemblance; and to a friendship of good men all the qualities we have named belong in virtue of the nature of the friends themselves; for in the case of this kind of friendship the other qualities also are alike in both friends, and that which is good without qualification is also without qualification pleasant, and these are the most lovable qualities. Love and friendship therefore are found most and in their best form between such men.

But it is natural that such friendships should be infrequent; for such men are rare. Further, such friendship requires time and familiarity; as the proverb says, men cannot know each other till they have ‘eaten salt together’; nor can they admit each other to friendship or be friends till each has been found lovable and been trusted by each. Those who quickly show the marks of friendship to each other wish to be friends, but are not friends unless they both are lovable and know the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise quickly, but friendship does not.

The friendship of the good too and this alone is proof against slander; for it is not easy to trust any one talk about a man who has long been tested by oneself; and it is among good men that trust and the feeling that ‘he would never wrong me’ and all the other things that are demanded in true friendship are found. In the other kinds of friendship, however, there is nothing to prevent these evils arising. For men apply the name of friends even to those whose motive is utility, in which sense states are said to be friendly (for the alliances of states seem to aim at advantage), and to those who love each other for the sake of pleasure, in which sense children are called friends. Therefore we too ought perhaps to call such people friends, and say that there are several kinds of friendship-firstly and in the proper sense that of good men qua good, and by analogy the other kinds; for it is in virtue of something good and something akin to what is found in true friendship that they are friends, since even the pleasant is good for the lovers of pleasure. But these two kinds of friendship are not often united, nor do the same people become friends for the sake of utility and of pleasure; for things that are only incidentally connected are not often coupled together.

Barring the fact that love in this case indicates philia, but likely comes across sounding closer to eros due to our fallen language in this modern age, does this sound gay? Does it sounds womanly?

No. These are not friendships of men getting together to whine about their woes. These are friendships of men testing each other for shared virtue and working towards the mutual good.

This is manly friendship. This is what we men need to return to: a masculine view of friendship based around shared virtue and goals, rather than emotionalizing.

We need to start speaking of friendship in words that don’t sound faggy. We need to move the language of male friendship from that of a romance or an AA support-group to that of a warband. ‘Bonds of brotherhood’ and ‘shared virtue’ rather than ‘affection’ and ‘intimacy’ and ‘test’ and ‘shared suffering’ rather than ’emotional support’ and ’empathy’.


Now the question becomes, how do we retake male friendship?

We can’t on the cultural level, other than using masculine language for male friendship to reclaim manly love and friendship from homosexuals and women.

But you can do some things on a personal level. Start a gang.

First, you need to find some good men. If you’ve got some good, reliable friends already, that’s excellent. If you don’t, look through your church, your activities, your social groups, and find men of good character and virtue with whom to bond.

Try to avoid half-men, scalzified weiners, psychological eunuchs, pc nutjobs, those lacking virtue, emos,the easily offended, and the like.

Second, start some specifically manly activities together; exclude women from these activities. Some good ones are hunting, fishing, camping, shooting, poker, gaming, etc.

Third, when at these activities talk, but not just of girls, video games, and beer; talk of deeper things. Don’t get all emotional about it, but talk of philosophy, religion, metaphysics, goals, ambitions, virtue, politics,

Once you’ve gotten close to some men, you can talk of emotional things. Again, don’t get all sobby and faggy about it, but there’s nothing out of place with a matter-of-fact discussion of emotions that may be afflicting you once a close enough bond has been formed.

The goal is to build a solid group of men who have your back and whose back you have.


As for myself, some of us our in a book club; when my choice of book comes it will be the Way of Man, to help put the idea of forming a gang in explicit turns in my social circles. I already have a couple solid guys I’ve been friends with for over a decade and whom I’m close to. This will form the core of the gang and there’re others whom could be a part. Over the summer I tried to arrange days in the woods shooting to move some of my friends towards a more warband-esque grouping; it never turned out, but one of the core is planning to buy a gun and the other really wants to but hasn’t been able to on the planned days; others have expressed interest in shooting as well. So come spring, I should be able to get some days in the woods going, and maybe even convince a few to hunt with me next fall. But beside that, we’ve started fishing over summer, we go camping once a year, and we game regularly. So things look well in that respect.


So, go an do likewise. Read the Way of Man to develop an idea of masculine friendship, make some solid male friendships, and try to make those male friendships you do have into a stronger, deeper bond. Form your own gang, your own warband.

For friendship is important, and every man needs his comrades-in-arms.

17 responses to “Male Friendship

  • zhai2nan2

    One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.
    Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought,
    a rivalry of aim. — Henry Brook Adams

  • infowarrior1

    “Try to avoid half-men, scalzified weiners, psychological eunuchs, pc nutjobs, those lacking virtue, emos,the easily offended, and the like.”

    Describes all the men so far I have met that I have met except for one.

  • NeitherK

    Good post as usual FN,

    This particular paragraph is especially true:

    “Third, when at these activities talk, but not just of girls, video games, and beer; talk of deeper things. Don’t get all emotional about it, but talk of philosophy, religion, metaphysics, goals, ambitions, virtue, politics,”

    I have a friend of 15 years that I can speak of these things with. We will call him FW.

    FW’s a natural Player, having traveled through most East Asian countries and sampled the womenfolk, while I am more in the Christian Right side and sees little need to play the Game as is. Furthermore, as a natural introvert, I see clubbing as a waste of time with little payoff.

    Recently we are inducting a solid friend, KH, to our duopoly. I can see that KH is beginning to doubt the efficacy of Christian teachings as a legitimate pathway, and that he is slowly sliding towards the Clubbing lifestyle as a way to advance his career. (In the country I live in, only people with money can afford the clubbing lifestyle, as such you can assume that most of the people in clubs have substantial financial pull)

    Now, I don’t mind FW being a player, since he is by no means a believer in Christianity. KH on the other hand, is more involved in Christianity, with his father being a pastor. I have tried to tell KH that the clubbing lifestyle is not for everyone and that as a Christian we should avoid situations that may cause us to sin, though I really doubt that it was enough to convince him.

    My question is: How much should I interfere?

    I have a policy of non-interference if I judge that the person involved is unwilling to listen and reconsider their ways, but this is a situation that I believe can be salvaged.


  • Ton

    I think the problem is much more simple. No shared hardships that were overcome to forge tight bonds of friendship.

    And of course most men are utterly weak and useless but that’s because of my 1st point.

  • Ton

    Ps way of men is an excellent book

  • LP

    There used to be many men’s clubs. When you were sick of the wife you could say “I’ll be at the club.” Men drank, smoked cigars, talked business and politics, or just read. I don’t know why they died out, I think they were forced to accept women and then they died (as usual when women invade men’s places). Time for a revival.

  • billythekid

    I never realized how important it was to have ass kicking male friends. For the past 3 years I’ve been spending high school with a group of guys, though these guys are complete losers except for the only one thats normal. The rest recently came out to me as a tranny, a bisexual sexual deviant, and a narcissistic psycopath. I fucking left those losers and started hanging out with more aggressive guys, guys that arent on their ass all day playing video games or lying to themselves that the reason they dont have girlfriends is because their asexual. It’s a WHOLE NEW WORLD to me. You’re the average of your five friends.

  • en-sigma

    be friends with your actual brothers, your military brothers, and your Dad when you are an adult.

    Otherwise, if you are one of a collection of jerks, just keep to yourself.

  • Deep Strength

    Jesus had the 70 followers, of the 70 he had 12 disciples who were his friends, of the 12 he had 3 that were close friends, of the three he had one whom he loved.

    A good structure for friendship between men.

    1. Aim to have a solid 12 friends with whom you can meet up with regularly.
    2. Aim to have 3 close friends with whom you can confide and go deeper with than the 12.
    3. Aim to have one very close friend.

  • Argus

    I wonder if the problem might be connected to the way people move around today. I think men tend to be much less promiscuous as far as friendship goes. Girls will make friends anywhere they find themselves. They move to a new city or get a new job and before too long they usually have a new group of girlfriends. Guys tend to be much less prone toward having easily shifting groups of friends. They tend to give their trust less readily and they tend to form tight long-lasting groups. I don’t really keep in contact with any of my friends from grade school and high school. I went away for college and then moved across the country. I’ve never really replaced my childhood friends in terms of trust and strength of the bonds of friendship. On the other hand, my older brother lived at home during college and still lives in our hometown. His friends all did the same thing. They’ve all known each other since kindergarten, and now thirty years later their group is still made up of the same 10-12 guys.

  • ninjanaut

    Another elephant in the room that no one has mentioned: societal (and parental) expectation that finding a woman should be a man’s mission in life. Time spent with “the boys” that doesn’t lead to finding a female companion is viewed as a waste of time.

  • The Death of Masculine Friendship

    […] The third reason for the decline is male friendship is the colonization of the language of friendshi… […]

  • Free Northerner

    @ NeitherK: I’m not sure: if you push too hard he could start ignoring you out of contrariness. Ask him how important his faith is to him and if it is important if going clubbing is the best way to use his faith. If it isn’t too important to him, then I don’t think there’s much you’d be able to do; if he says it is important to him than try to reason with him.

    @ Ton: That is a problem; it’s hard to form masculine bonds when there is nothing to form them in opposition to.

    @ LP: The death of male clubs is a great hurt to the community. They still exist, but nothing as once were.

    @ billy: Yup. Some friends just aren’t worth keeping.

    @ DS: Yup; that’s a good model. Humans are wired for a certain numbner of each level of relationships; Jesus understood that. Most people used to instinctually understand that.

    @ Argus: Moving has a definite effect on it. Our present mobility is unnatural and unprecedented. Most people in history lived their whole lives in the same small area (or were nomads over a larger, empty area); knowing the same small group of people for their entire lives.

    @ ninjanaut: Yup; we’ve put far too much emphasis on our romantic relationships. The idea that a wife should be our best friends is one of the more pernicious ones.

  • Thanatos

    “Chalk this heart-squeezing shift up to our limiting ideals of masculinity, which define themselves in opposition to all things feminine.”

    It is not our ideals of masculinity that are limiting us,it’s you goddamned feminists.You’re stuck in a time that never happened.Your mental illness and historical delusions are holding everybody the fuck back.

  • Regrets Of The Dying | The Pillars of Hercules

    […] Men – especially beta men – do this: the moment they get a girlfriend they disappear off the radar. They might as well have dropped off the face of the Earth. You invite them out – as you always did – but they never reply and eventually you just give up. He’s lost to the world: he’s got a girlfriend now. They have couple-friends now. Then what-d’ya-know – out of the blue years later he pops up again: fat, balding, pale, depressed as fuck, wanting to come out with the boys again. Where you been? You ask. With the girlfriend but – of course you’ve already guessed – she’s dumped him now and she got to keep all the couple-friends leaving him alone in his parent’s spare room. Don’t you feel a strange mix of anger (the fucker thinks he can just show up again after he disappeared for five years!) and pity (look at him! Pussy-repellent if ever there was such a thing). But you are forgiving and, maybe, a friend is a friend even if he if a pathetic dickhead – give him a Game book and tell him to buy a better-fitting shirt. Would he have regretted losing his friends as he lay on his death bed? Who knows, but I’m definitely not taking the chance. Don’t neglect the friendships you value. […]

  • Anonymous

    Ignoring the homophobia, sexism and militarism (links to a band called Manowar on a supposedly Christian blog?), I have a few close friends and couldn’t care less about how masculine or feminine me, they and our friendships are.

    Once normal people reach the age of reason they leave their teenage gender angst behind. Some remain stuck eternally in puberty though.

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