It came from the mouth of a fairly energetic, effervescent, fun loving individual.  I was kind of surprised when it was shared with me.  I thought of him as a very engaging, socially active, exciting person.  No friends?  “Tell me more” was my response.

Yes, he was married.  Yes, he had siblings.  Yes, he had children–adult children.  Yes, he had colleagues at work but he was looking for the kind of friendship that allowed him to be himself with another guy.  “Buddies”.   “Mates”.  “Let your hair down and be yourself and not be worried that you’ll be laughed at or judged”. 

I don’t think he is alone in his feelings.  I’ve met others who echo similar thoughts.  It’s amazing how socially active and socially attractive people can feel so lonely at times.  It’s not exclusive to males either.  I have had similar conversations with females too though not as frequently.  Everybody is looking for some kind of connection with another.  Not always marital, or sexual…just conversational and personal. 

Where does the sentiment come from?  The desire to be connected with a friend?   I think it’s deep within the human condition.  The Bible talks about the insufficiency of “being alone” and out of that points to the creation of a partner for the man (Genesis 2:18).   Solomon speaks of the poverty of a person being alone even the danger of such (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).  Hollywood doesn’t create the desire but picks up on it with “buddy pictures”.  Can you say “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”? Can you say “Beaches”?  Can you say De Niro and Stallone?

What do you do with it?  Well, like any craving, you have to deal with it somehow.  The struggle comes when we suppress our deep desires…they usually don’t go away and too often they manifest themselves in some alternative solution.  Sometimes not in a constructive solution either. 

Here are some generalizations—men find some satisfaction in “doing” things.  Find a project to do together with another or with a group of guys.  We function better walking along side another than we do staring face to face.  Task builds team. 

Remember that not all friendships transcend the duration of times.  Some friends are formed for a lifetime, but they are rare.  Usually they were formed in formative seasons like adolescence, college, early adulthood.  The later in life you find yourself, the more difficult it will be to find enduring friendships.  Too much water has passed under the bridge to join the rivers.  But, you can still have connections…if but for a time.   Volunteer for a Habitat for Humanity project.  You’d be surprised by who you meet in the task. 

Maybe there is a childhood acquaintance or a teenage buddy that you haven’t connected with in too long.  Take a shot. 

At the end of the day, if you have 2, maybe 3, or perhaps 4 good friends…you are a rich man.