Do you ever think that you have lost contact with your old friends?
Have you found yourself too busy to keep in touch?
Has the social calendar been organised by your partner?
Do you now feel it is too late to contact old pals?
Men and friendship is something that can be rebuilt with a little bit of effort.
One evening an avid bird watcher stood in his backyard and heard an owl hoot. So he thought he'd give a hoot back. To his surprise and delight the bird hooted again. The next night the same scenario occurred. All Summer, the man and his feathered friend hooted back and forth. He even kept a log of the "conversations''.
Just as he thought he was on the verge of a breakthrough in inter species communication, his wife had a chat with her next door neighbour. 'My husband spends his nights calling to owls,' the wife commented. 'That's odd', the neighbour replied, 'so does mine.'
Quite a comment on us men, isn't it. It took the wives to talk to each other to discover what was happening. Men and friendship seems to rely on a very different dynamic to that of women.
Men and friendship are generally different from the way women friends interact. In general we men aren't too good at talking with each other ......unless it's about one of the traditional 'men' topics, like football, golf, cars or tinkering with screwdrivers etc. We prefer to do things together rather than just talk.
Many people I've known have counted down the days to retirement, expecting it to be a wonderful time. No need to get up early to go to work, or put up with those co-workers you have resented for years.
Not having an interest in football or playing golf, being busy working all over the world I let relationships drift and generally left it to my partner to arrange our social life. so I am now making more of a conscious effort to change my lack of action towards men and friendship.l
With some encouragement I attended a school reunion. Afterwards, having found out telephone numbers and email addresses of some old friends, I contacted a few that I hadn't seen for a very long time. This has led to meetings in London, Edinburgh and Paris with these first get-togethers feeling as if it was just yesterday that we last met.
The friendship was still there and we could recognise the person we were - even with less hair and more body. Now that we have more time we are rebuilding these relationships. With the help of email and Skype we can more easily keep in touch between meetings.
[Peter is back row third from left, and I am forth from left]
At a Sandhurst reunion I met Chris who had been in the same platoon. After we were commissioned I became friendly with his brother Peter and we were both posted to the same regiment in Germany for two years.
Peter and I became great friends and my lasting memory of him is sharing a three week touring holiday of Germany and Italy in my air cooled Beetle Cabriolet.
We came back to the barracks after unsuccessfully trying to pull the girls, camping out, driving around in the sun with the roof down and brown as berries.
Peter and I then lost touch for nearly forty years. I finally contacted him in New York where he now lives. We met up in London and this year in Paris. We immediately slipped back into the same bantering relationship we had when we were 20. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner, but I am so glad that I did.
I regularly travel by train and I often noticed the National Railway Museum just outside York railway station. I've always had a boy's interest in things to do with trains and, during a casual conversation with my friend Gilbert he mentioned that he had always been interested in railways.
So with my new found confidence I suggested that we both go along for the day. We enjoyed a superb day wandering around the museum, discussing gauges and Timken roller bearings. Men and friendship at its best.
However these male bonding exercises don't always go as expected. I once met a guy who had not one, but two E-type Jaguars! At the time I also drove a Jaguar - fulfilling a life long ambition, having collected all the brochures of the various models as a young boy.
I expected we would have an animated conversation about his two cars and how different they were to drive. Wrong! Me: 'so you have two E-types?' Him: 'yes'. Me: 'what are they like to drive?' Him: 'much like any other car.' Well that was it! Conversation over in less than five seconds!
By comparison I recently met another guy who two weeks earlier had bought an E-type. We had a brilliant chat about the car, its history and how he came to buy it. And he also casually mentioned that he hadn't yet told his wife he had bought it. He left home in his every day Citroen, then drove to a lock up where he changed cars!
The moral of the story
If we want to life longer and enjoy a good quality of life, there are some simple things we can do. We need to consider our life and what we want to do with the rest of it. List all those interests we've had over the years and perhaps allowed to dwindle and see which we want to reintroduce into our lives.
Next list all the friends we have, and those we've lost contact with, and decide which of them we would like to see again.
It's never too late to rekindle friendships or build new ones.
Return to interpersonal relationships
Can a male friend keep a secret as well or better than a female friend?
Who would you tell your deepest secret to: a male friend, a female friend or would you keep it to yourself?
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