Remaking Manhood
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Remaking Manhood

Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys?

An epidemic of loneliness is being forced on boys and men

Photo by Mark Greene

These boys declare freely the love they feel for their closest friends. They use the word “love” and they are proud to do so.

Professor Way’s research shows us that in early adolescence, boys express deeply fulfilling emotional connection and love for each other, but by the time they reach adulthood, that sense of connection evaporates. This is a catastrophic loss — one that we assume men will simply adjust to. They do not. Millions of men are experiencing a sense of deep loss that haunts them even if they are engaged in fully realized romantic relationships, marriages, and families.

The love boys feel, that passion we feel for the ones we love, is too powerful. It makes grown-ups nervous. And we can’t have grown-ups feeling nervous, now can we?

How many times have we heard parents say, “Oh, they’ll make new friends,” as if the relationships of children are so shallow and contextual that they can be swapped out like last year’s lunchbox? Whatever kid they are seated by, in whatever random classroom they’re assigned, will do as well as the next.

The loss of my friendship with George set a pattern in my life that I am only now, decades later, finally conscious of. I have walked past so many friendships.

Let’s take a moment to connect the dots. Boys feel fierce love for their best friends → Add homophobia, the Man Box, etc. → Boys disassociate from loving best friends → Boys and men become emotionally isolated → Men enter the epidemic of loneliness → Men die.



Manhood can seem mapped out for us by our dominant culture of masculinity’s rules for being a “real man.” Remaking Manhood seeks to end our isolating man box culture by encouraging boys and men to create something better. Have an article you think belongs here? Reach out to us.

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Mark Greene

Working toward a culture of healthy masculinity. Links to our books, podcasts, Youtube and more: