Say Something Nice

Men aren’t supposed to have feelings, right? We’re supposed to take the pains and pressures of life and just glide through like a rolling stone. Occasionally, get upset and take it out on the punching bag from time to time, or go for a walk to clear your head. We’re just supposed to roll over and handle all the bad times in life and we grow this hard exterior to showing emotions.

The same is true for the good times. It’s difficult for men to express positive emotions properly. Celebrating the birth of a child is met with whiskey, cigars, and stoic pride. Celebrating the end of exams or the start of spring break is displayed by loud and rowdy shouting and drunk belligerence. What about a friend’s birthday though? Really, think about that. Most young men will express good wishes with a joke about the other guy. “Happy birthday ya little bitch”, or even something as emotionally removed as “hbd”.

HBD? Three letters to tell your friend that you thought of them on their birthday?

Why are we like this? Why is it so ingrained in our culture that men aren’t supposed to show emotions? Of course, this is just the trend and not absolutely every guy is stone-faced when it comes to having feelings. It’s the society we live in. We were taught that emotions made you weak. That mentality alone is part of the reason why there’s gender inequality in modern society.

Men are taught that it’s bad to feel emotions, so we repress them and it makes life worse for everyone. But it’s easy to stop repressing your emotions. Specifically with positive emotions. We don’t show we’re happy. But why not? Experiencing joy and happiness is one of the greatest things in life. Being happy for someone else is scientifically proven to increase your happiness.

It was my friend’s birthday the other day, and I sent him a message. I’ll just quote it for you.

Happy birthday dude! What a wonderful day it is to be alive in 2017. You’re a really inspirational guy and I appreciate all our conversations and ideas we share. It is truly a unique relationship we have and I’m very thankful for it. I love your honesty and willingness to explore, not only the physical world, but ideas and concepts. And your passion for learning and exploration influences my own view on the world as well. I hope the coming year treats you well. Happy birthday!

Guys, come on. Who wouldn’t want to hear something like that? It’s not weak, bad, or anything to say something nice to a friend. Women and other people who are comfortable with expressing emotions do it all the time. How many posts do you see online where one of your female friends writes something about how much her friend means to her? I personally see it a lot. Why don’t we tell our male friends that they’re important to us?

Men are affected by mental health issues in large amounts. More men commit suicide each year than women in almost every country. I’m not saying telling your male friends that they’re important to you will fix an entire epidemic, but it will at least make their day.

The more we open up about our feelings, including positive ones, the better we feel. It’s liberating. When you become comfortable talking about how you feel, no matter the feeling, you start to handle things better. You become emotionally healthier. Talking about your emotions is like going to the gym but for feelings. I know it sounds silly and a little ridiculous, but guys, tell people about how you feel. Don’t do it randomly, shouting in the street like a carny barker. Obviously do it in the right context. Tell your friends that they’re important to you and that you value their friendships.

I’ve got a friend who strongly believes that small gestures change lives. I agree with that idea. You don’t need to do crazy things, you just have to do something small.

Before I finish up, ask yourself: would you like to hear someone compliment you today? If you answered yes, chances are that other people also answered yes, and you should compliment someone today.