I Love You Man

By Noah Graff

From the film “I Love You Man”

Monday I went to the Cubs game with my boy Roberto.

I’ve known Roberto for about nine years. I met him when I started salsa dancing. My first memory of him is when he was hitting on a girl who I ended up dating for a short time. He’s 50 years old, from Columbia (he grew up in Chicago), and I think that neither of us are exactly sure what the other one does for a living, but we have things in common and we connect. I consider him one of my best friends in Chicago, probably my best guy friend in Chicago at this point in my life. We go to movies together, we text each other to decide where to go out dancing, we talk about baseball, women and other BS. People sometimes snicker about us going on “man dates,” which is ridiculous. Why should it be strange for two men to be friends? Perhaps they are just jealous.

I have other people I consider friends—people at work, my crew from the salsa dancing scene and a few folks I know from various other places. But in Chicago I’d say that I have three “good friends,” Roberto and two other women, with whom I’ll talk on the phone and do stuff with one on one.

I had some good friends growing up, as well as in college, but many of them live in faraway places like New York and Indonesia. Many of my old friends have wives and kids and have become so absorbed in that life that they have no time for friends, or at least they don’t have time for me.

I don’t know if it has to do with the social climate of 2016 or if it is just the way it has always been, but for a lot of people, especially men, it seems like finding a good friend is quite difficult. Getting involved in a social hobby could help someone meet a friend, but if a person doesn’t join a group, where can he meet new people? Bars? NPR did a story about a guy who moved to Austin, Texas, who actually memorized baseball statistics and studied up on beer brewing just so he could make small talk at bars to hopefully meet a friend.

We live in a world in which many of us have hundreds or thousands of “friends” online with whom we share photos of life events, giving strangers a window into intimate moments of our lives. But with how many of these “friends” do we actually talk to about intimate things, go fishing, or go out for a beer?

I burn (perhaps waste) a lot of my time on online dating sites like Tinder, JSwipe (the Jewish Tinder) and OkCupid. What’s funny is that a lot of the women on those sites claim to be “looking for friends.” I’m not sure if all of those women mean the same thing when they write that on their profiles, but when I ask them about it many say to me that it’s hard to meet new good friends so why not try on Tinder. It’s sad but true, I guess. But I still have to roll my eyes when they say this because these same “friend seeking” women have online profiles that feature photos of themselves in bikinis making seductive faces. Also, these women ought to know that 99% of guys on online dating sites are not there to make friends—they are there to either “get some” or find a girlfriend (or boyfriend). I haven’t read an official statistic of this, but I’m quite confident with that statement.

But I digress. I feel bad for people who don’t have any friends. Even if a person has a romantic soulmate to provide lifelong companionship, sometimes a person needs someone with whom he or she is not “involved with” to share interests, whether it be a love of slasher films, crocheting or curling. Friends can also be great to listen to our personal fears and relationship nonsense, although it may not even be necessary to verbalize those intimate feelings—I know that’s not everybody’s thing. Just the feel of someone by your side while you’re bowling, golfing or merely chilling out on your front steps doing nothing I believe is a natural human need.

Question: Where did you make your friends?



















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13 thoughts on “I Love You Man

  1. Don Anger

    I have made a lot of very good friends while working. We already have some of the same interests like how to keep machines running better with less problems.

  2. Jeff

    I haven’t had a friend now for 25 years. I had friends growing up. After I got married I just hung out with the married ones doing couples things.
    After I divorced their wives thought I was a bad influence and would not let them even talk to me let alone go fishing. I have friends at work but I live 60 miles from where I work so doing thing after work is kind of hard. So it’s been 25 years since I’ve gone fishing or to a movie or out cruising on motorcycles or anything. I’ve been thinking of joining the Masons just to try to meet some friends.
    Life is so boring without friends.

    1. rick

      If you are a person of good moral character (I am sure you are) then the Masons would be a great place to look.

      Do not forget other service organizations such as the Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, etc…

      Not only will you meet and befriend great people, working to help others always brings great personal satisfaction. And a bit of good karma never hurts.

      You can always consider volunteering at a local church or food pantry.

      Good Luck and be safe!

  3. Leo

    The book “Younger Next Year” goes into great depth about the need for friendship. Essentially, people without friends are less happy and die younger. It’s harder for men (I think) to make friends, but it is ultimately of extreme importance.

    By the way, if you are over 50, spend the $10 and read the book.

  4. Rod Brower

    Most Wife’s are pretty hard on friendships. Having Female friends for a Married Man are even more difficult to keep, even when they are really just friendships. We should value them all.
    I have a few friends still from the Old Neighborhood where I was Raised, some from Fishing and most now are from Work / Business.
    The getting married is what seams to have the most impact on keeping friends ( old and new ) that you enjoy doing things with and just hanging out.

  5. rick

    As mentioned, it is sad that we now talk to strangers on social media more than our lifelong friends.

    We are rapidly losing the ability to socially communicate. Everyone is sucked into their devices, and can no longer look into someones eyes and have a meaningful conversation.

    I keep in touch with a close group of friends that I have had forever. When a gathering of classmates is arranged, it is nice to see them, however I am oft reminded again of why I lost touch with them while remaining in contact with the close group I have.

    I also keep active volunteering at Church, charitable organizations, and a social group. from there I have met wonderful people.

    I am blessed to have a great group of friends. Those Who will charge through hell to help me if I call or the need arises. It is sad that there are too many without such relationships.

  6. Val

    Roberto would not take kindly to you spelling it Columbia. I also have a friend from Colombia and he is quite particular about that!

  7. rich

    Factors against having friends:TV,computors,mobility,inactivity,
    Where to have or get friends: school,wife’s friends, children’s friends parents,playground,non-profit work,church,synagogue,night classes(any type from Judo to astronomy,study groups,:my favorite Quote-” it takes a while to make old friends”

  8. Chuck

    I have 2 different groups of “friends” that I meet or talk to with certain frequency, have know them for 35 years. I can ask for a favor and i know I’ll have more than one volunteering.

    However, I do not have a Friend-Friend, the one that you can confide in, that knows your secrets. Probably because for decades it used to be my wife, but we have grown apart, so now my dad is the only true friend I have, who I can tell everything and trust his advice, I really hope he will be here with me for a long time, but no sure what I’ll do the he’s gone.

    You’re right, it’s no easy to find that person, and it’s hard to start looking for him at this age.

  9. Jerry Johnson

    Beyond my Wife and Family, I Met my best friend in a foxhole in Vietnam. Prior to the military, he was studying to become a Priest at Belmont Abbey Seminary, then left to get married (celebacy was obviously not his thing) got drafted, went to OCS, then RVN ……. then the foxhole. I DEROSed about 6 months before he was scheduled. He wrote me a letter and asked me to please take care of his Family in the event that he didn’t make it home. Turns out, the 9th Infantry Division was the first unit to be turned down by Nixon, and he completed his tour in Hawaii. Another letter – he asked me what an “almost Priest” could do to support his Family. I wrote a letter of recommendation to the VP of Sales at my then employer (Bethlehem Steel Corporation who at the time employed over 113,000 personnel). They flew a guy to Hawaii to interview him, hired him, and he then bumped around the United States from Sales Office to Sales Office, and eventually ended up occupying the desk in front of me in Bethlehem (Lehigh Valley Sales Office). He then attended the Management Course at Harvard, and then became the President of a very large Steel Service Center in Houston, Texas. We have remained “Brothers” to this day. I guess it was just meant to be !!

  10. Chuck M

    Someone recently told me about an app called Meetup.com. I’m finding that’s a good place to meet new people with similar interest. You can participate in an existing group or start your own, in any area of the country, with people of similar interest. I love live music and recently joined a group called “fans of live music”. The organizer post live music events in the area and it automatically sends an invite to the group members. Not only have I met some new people of all age groups, but have found out about some awesome local music groups that I may never had heard. Check it out.

  11. Don

    Being self employed it’s really tough to make friends.
    Employed people view self employed people differently and
    there is a level of envy that does not promote friendship, I think.
    My GF and I are together nearly 24/7. She is clingy, and that is getting stale. Although we get along well, I think it will help both of us to be apart at least for a few hours some days. I need time with my peers doing male activities. I recently have posted ads on Craigslist looking for “metal workers and hobby machinists” and have had some good responses which surprises me for this area I live in. I had a couple guys that visited me at my shop, but one moved far away and the other one passed away.
    I hope to get that camaraderie back with some new folks soon.


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