Friday, February 22, 2013

Men Have Discuss-Your-Feeling Friends

Several weeks ago, fellow humor columnist Jenny Isenman wrote about women's "move-a-body-friends," those friends who would help you move a body with no questions asked — or at least only a few, with "why?" not being among them.

It's often been said, especially on Facebook, that while a friend will bail you out of jail, a true friend will be sitting next to you, saying "Man, didn't we have fun?" But the move-a-body-friend (MABF) will hide you out at her place until the heat is off.

But Isenman says you only get one or two MABFs in your lifetime. These are the friends who will tell you "'That skirt/dress/jumpsuit makes your butt look fat,'" when that skirt/dress/jumpsuit actually makes your butt look fat" or "pretend I need you to fix my bra strap to save you from a tedious conversation with a boring mom at the playground or that annoying guy at Starbucks."

Isenman has come up with a list of 20 expectations she has for her MABF, so it's a high standard to live up to.

Men have a similar type of friend, but there's only one super strict requirement that we have of this person, which makes this type of friend extremely rare. While most men will help their friends move a body, no questions asked — except maybe, "can I have his cordless drill?" — there are very few friends who fit into this higher, much stricter category:

The Discuss Your Feelings Friend.

For many men, discussing their feelings with another man is one of the most intimate, vulnerable parts of a relationship we have with anyone, let alone another dude.

Discuss Your Feelings Friends will often share things they men won't mention to their other friends, let alone their wives or girlfriends. We'll discuss our. . . you know. . . "personal" health; when we're feeling sad and it doesn't involve our favorite sports team losing; and, the strong emotional feelings (love or otherwise) we have for our spouse or significant other.

But unlike Isenman's 20 things the MABF will do, there are just three things the Discuss Your Feelings Friends (DYFF) have to do for each other.

Loan tools: Yes, neighbors borrow tools from each other, but that's different. Neighbors ask to borrow tools, and they're always loaned with a sense of reluctance and dread, because the owner assumes the tool will come back broken three years later.

But the DYFF is happy to lend tools because he knows his friend will take extra good care of them. Besides the friend has a new miter saw he's been wanting to try out. Plus, every Guy likes to play I Have The Best Tools, and the best way to win is to swipe your neighbor's tools and tell everyone else they're his.

Lifting: My wife told me most women will not offer to help each other lift heavy objects. They'll usually stand and marvel, "wow, you can lift that?" but won't move a muscle to help, even when the answer is a barely grunted "no-o-o!"

On the other hand, men usually offer to help each other carry heavy objects. And unlike asking for directions, most men will even ask for help when they need it. However they don't want to appear too weak, so they usually won't ask until they've nearly pooped themselves trying to lift twice their body weight, which they haven't done since 1997.

The DYFF already knows what his friend's limit is, and grabs the other end of the heavy object without being asked, or before the first fart squeaks out from the effort. While the lifter may protest to any other Guy so he won't appear weak, when it's his DYFF, he'll gladly accept the help, and will even slack off a bit and hope the friend won't notice.

Laugh at Your Misfortune: Remember, the Discuss Your Feelings Friend is, first and foremost, a Guy. And while he wants the absolute best for you, and feels sad when things go wrong, you can guarantee he'll laugh at your misfortunes when he can get away with it. That's how Guys cope. We laugh at each other's misery.

Lose your job? Your DYFF is going to crack jokes about you having extra free time to help him clean out his garage. Are gray hairs sprouting in your beard or on your head? He's going to repeat the grandpa jokes you told him when he started going gray. Your girlfriend dump you? He's been storing up jokes about her ever since she invited her annoying friends to Sunday afternoon football.

Discuss Your Feeling Friends may have 70% fewer requirements than Jenny Isenman's move-a-body-friends, but that's because we don't put as many conditions on a friendship as women seem to. We never worry about whether something makes us look fat (we just don't care) or whether we're talking to someone annoying (we just make up an excuse and leave). We're happy to accept our friendships unconditionally and without expectation, and we take what we can get.

Besides, Guys know they look dreadful in jumpsuits, so we never have to be told they look bad.



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1 comment:

  1. Erik - I love your take especially the lifter! I was taught to do that by my father and I think it's such a "good" guy type of thing to do. You know a real guy friend when they don't laugh at you as you herniate a disc! Xo for the mention so glad I inspired this humorous look at men (you guys are so hard to freakin understand!)

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