Friends tend to play an integral part in one’s life and I may even stick out my neck – as much as family. With family, many a time, one has to really consider that you don’t burden them when thing are not going right. No matter what they say, they will always worry and sometimes the pain it causes them is really not worth it. Friends, on the other hand, will always be concerned and be there for you but they also can be pragmatic and distance themselves emotionally from the situation. As a dear friend puts it ‘sometimes you need to be transactional in your approach with a situation or person” devoid of the emotional baggage that may have been there. And family maybe cannot do it coz they are just so involved with you.
I believe that a fundamental difference between men and women really comes from their need or desire for friends. While a person’s circle of friends is largely driven by their personalities it is also, to some extent, influenced by their gender. Without offending anyone, I think I have seen that women would tend to have more friends – the uplifter, the travel buddy, the truth teller, the girl who just wants to have fun etc. (truth be told – there’s some bit of Oprah and Cosmo in this profoundness :)). So how many friends does a man need? Well, a guy may have a lot of buddies but there will always be a ‘brother’ or bro…… There’s so much about the ‘bro code” that I will leave that for later.
I have been lucky enough to really have 2 bros in my life. While they shall remain anonymous, like me, they entered my life at very different times and stages. Yet today I cannot imagine my life being really complete without their individual contributions.
I met my first bro in school and we went onto become thick as thieves. He was the cool dude who had a way with the girls. He could sing and very honestly there as not much that 16 year old girls wanted other than a boy to serenade them. I never had that talent and we would always look upto him for juicy tid-bits and ‘lessons in smoothness’. From 15 years old to now over two decades later, we have seen each other through relationships, marriages, kids and professional changes. Today our lives are busy and we don’t speak as often but when we do – we pick up where exactly we left off – maybe a few weeks and sometimes a few months. When we are together, we are still 17 year old ‘boys’ discussing the ‘girls’ that got away, the girls now and laughing at dirty jokes we found funny as adolescents . He and I are living proof that boys are dirty boys, age notwithstanding. We still laugh about how the higher power has gotten back at us by making us fathers of very pretty little girls :). There are no expectations to continually be in contact or really keep asking what we are upto. But we both know that the other will always be there when we need each other. I don’t see us any different even 20 years from now.
I met my second bro more recently, when I was going through a vulnerable stage in my life. I credit him for introducing me to the wonderful world of single malts. On that pure joy alone – he would qualify as a bro 🙂 but he has been so much more than that. From giving pragmatic advice to counseling me to just beating sense into my head when it needed to be done. He was always there. We met in the most unusual circumstances (which is separate blog in itself) and our friendship developed over some bar hopping, and half burgers in the wee hours of the morning (after all men in amazing physical shape as ourselves, could not afford the calories of a complete burger :)). We’ve taken a road trip, got completely wasted and yet not been embarrassed the next morning…. Ok so it was more me than him…but that’s what bros are all about. We can talk about sensible stuff (he talks more and I listen soaking in the knowledge being dished out) or just go back into the past when we were younger men, our school, the life and just be bumbling young men.
Funny story, that I was actually friends with his wife before we became bros….. She was my agony aunt and would listen to all my nonsensical rants and yet would give me common sense advice. We have often laughed over her taking credit for connecting us and I can imagine her at some level being a little (just a little) jealous that I am actually writing about bros before I write about our friendship. But she’s a sweetheart and would totally understand.
So I stand here today and realize that most men get through life with lots of buddies and maybe a bro and while I may not have many buddies but I have two totally cool bros who I would not trade for anything. So gents, take a bow for being such an integral part of my life.
If I had a hall of fame, you’d be the first on that!!!!!!!!!