by Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
I’m going to take a moment here to soap box. I cannot count how many men have sat in my office and complained about the lack of deep, emotionally honest friendships they have with other men. I truly believe that—after gay marriage—the expression of male emotion and vulnerability is the social justice issue facing us today.
So that’s to say that if you are a man who is yearning for more deep connections with other men, you are not alone. It takes tremendous courage to change social norms.
The head of psychiatry at Stanford recently stated that having emotionally revealing conversations creates serotonin, a neurotransmitter targeted by antidepressants. So you might say we all have a choice between taking Prozac or cultivating emotionally deep connections with other people.
Because we are the first generation of westerners who want and expect a connection with our interior, emotional life, much of the current epidemic of male depression may stem from the lack of social resources available to men.
Most heterosexual men have exactly one person they can reveal vulnerabilities to and they are married to her. That sucks because that one person cannot possibly be emotionally available and empathic all of the time.
Therefore it’s useful to have an investment mentality when it comes to friendships and diversify.