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No one’s fault but your own if you don’t have a bestie, boys

Date

Aparna Khopkar

Maintaining friendships is difficult, but hanging out with friends makes most people happy, which – in turn – feeds into the success of a long-term relationship.

Maintaining friendships is difficult, but hanging out with friends makes most people happy, which – in turn – feeds into the success of a long-term relationship.

A man is complaining he has no friends because his wife has squeezed them out of his life. Apparently Christopher Middleton sank from having a “merry crew” of mates to sitting alone with a beer watching recorded sport on TV.

In his column “Mates? Most married men waved our best friends goodbye years ago” this weekend, he cited a report by charity organisation Relate that about 4.7 million Britons report not having a best friend. In Middleton's case, he claims to come to this unhappy circumstance because his wife has removed their names from the “family address book” and replaced them with friends more to her own taste, usually couples or single women. Supposedly, this is why not only him, but many men, don't have besties.

Really? If you find yourself identifying with this man, there are probably a few other reasons people may not want to spend time with you.

1. You blame your wife for things that aren’t her fault. True, it is way easier than taking responsibility. But it also seems like a simplistic way to avoid your own shortcomings. For example ...

2. … You complain too much. There is nothing not good about sitting on the couch with a beer watching TV.

3. You don't stick up for your friends. If your wife is so domineering/jealous/manipulative – or any of the other negative inferences there are to be had in an article that accuses women of being the main reason you're a sad loser with no friends – then you really should have fought harder for your buddies. It seems they're all you've got.

4. You assume the secret to women’s friendships is time spent together criticising their husbands. Even on the rare occasions your wife manages to put down her pencil and eraser and step away from the "family address book", she will probably have lots to talk about with her friends besides you. Perhaps since she is married to a man who sits around at home complaining about doing nothing, she may spend some time lamenting her husband who sits around at home doing nothing. She and her mates will probably also talk about federal politics, their jobs, their children, Sydney house prices and Game of Thrones, because, well, it's 2014.

5. You use a "family address book".

Maintaining friendships is difficult, regardless of gender, especially once you’re in a long-term relationship, working and possibly trying to wrangle a couple of children.

For me, having friendships that are my own help me feel like I’m living my life instead of drowning in the mundane bits of it. Keeping them going takes time and effort, for example, a chain of 28 emails in the weeks leading up to a dinner out, and a flurry of text messages on the night. That doesn’t even include the juggling of child-rearing responsibilities between me and my husband.

Indeed, the precision planning that’s required to ensure one grown-up can leave the house at 7pm may be enough to lure many into a funk of lonely couch-sitting but, in the end, hanging out with friends makes most people happy, which – in turn – feeds into the success of a long-term relationship.

If you have time to moan about your lack of mates, you probably have time to track down their emails and invite a couple of them out for a meal.

123 comments

  • As you get older, say aged 30+plus, and over friends drop down the ranks on the social
    food-chain.
    The rich call friends hangers-on. The middle-class call friends, an old friend.
    But do the middle-class find time for friends, in this commercialised,money hungry nothing's for free World. When you enter adulthood, by 30 friends seem to drop down the food chain of priorities as you pass 30 and over. The innocence of your child-hood,where in high school you say stuff like always be mates, or friends forever,you look back and laugh as it becomes laughable talk when you adult by mid-20's or aged 30 onwards. Your 30's you have wife and kids, money making(your job and doing well at work to get a promotion). Hanging out with your drinking buddies, waxing lyrical about the past and your youth, loses it's value on the food chain,and loses it's priorities. Also people move around inter-state so much now, and to other towns, and overseas, that friends come and go far more for Gen-Y than for Baby-Boomers who are more traditional, and out of touch with Gen-Y flexible and ever-changing and transient lifestyle of moving around alot and not staying in one job for life.
    So playing cricket with your mates, or watching footy every weekend with the same mates, or going out drinking every weekend loses it's priorities once you get into your 30's,and other priorities take over. You might get together once a year for grand-final,a wedding,a bucks night, or once you past 40 a funeral,but yes as you age especially past 30 onwards, from your 30's onwards friends lose the daily value and priorities on the food chain. High school attitudes lol, is well and truly over once you hit 30's.

    Commenter
    Matt
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    August 18, 2014, 1:58AM
    • I see my friends all the time. I'm 38 and in a long term relationship. Why would any one stop seeing their friends?

      Commenter
      Jack
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 7:37AM
    • Strange look at life. I wouldn't really classify people unless you can certainly justify yourself in that category to know. I am just above 30, been in relationship for 9 years. We are upper middle class and our issue is that we simply cannot go a day without each other. It's what I look forward to at the end of the day. I also put my partner first before anything else above social to be honest. I make sure that I keep a fine line between friends and relationship. However not all relationships are the same, each one is different. We don't let our wealth dictate what type of people or friends we have. I really don't understand your comment about money.

      Commenter
      The Other Guy1
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 7:55AM
    • @ the other guy, above:

      "I wouldn't really classify people unless you can certainly justify yourself in that category to know. I am just above 30, been in relationship for 9 years. We are upper middle class .."

      Just curious- but you seem very assured in classifying yourself as Upper Middle Class. What are the benchmarks to apply where Lower Middle Class becomes Middle Class... and then becomes Upper Middle Class ???

      Commenter
      AndyH
      Location
      Point Piper
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 9:43AM
    • Only if you choose to make friendship a lower priority will they not be in your life. I once had a wife who I allowed to push friends out of my life. Divorce came easily to that marriage. Now on to wife three. Have had a group of male friends and their families in my life for close on thirty years. We meet most months to play cards and be sociable. Sometimes only four, sometimes ten. We help each other out at times, and go away on holidays at others. It does take effort though to keep such a group together. Its our choice.

      Commenter
      OpenWindow
      Location
      Melbourne, The Friendly City
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 12:36PM
    • AndyH, can I please apply for Middle Middle Class?

      Commenter
      Lazor
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 12:37PM
    • Matt, 'or once you past 40 a funeral'... dude?! Are you serious! LOL You need to get out more fella!

      Commenter
      Bogan Brouhaha
      Location
      Brighton
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 12:59PM
    • Wow. That's really sad, Matt. I'm 35 and my friends (and I am blessed with quite a few) are as important to me as ever, and I them. Bear in mind, not everyone chooses the traditional path of marriage and children, as well. Some of us are single and/or childfree and create different definitions of family. But having said that, the people I know who are married with children value their friends, as well. I have a feeling that people with your attitude run the risk of ending up quite lonely...

      Commenter
      sophie
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 12:59PM
    • I am very sad today because it 7 years since my wife ran off with my best friend. Gee I miss my best friend.

      Commenter
      michael
      Location
      killara
      Date and time
      August 18, 2014, 8:42PM
  • Just stay single. It's an easier life.

    Commenter
    W
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    August 18, 2014, 4:15AM

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