Every man has heard the words ‘man up’ now and again. It’s a tough thing to hear and constructs a concept of masculinity that is equal parts unfair and toxic. On top of that, the pressure to keep a stiff upper lip, keep your head down and get on with it can be difficult to deal with. While perseverance is undeniably an important trait, sometimes all that’s needed is to talk things out instead. Unfortunately, for a lot of men, this isn’t something that is super easy to discuss.
The main reason a lot of men struggle to chat to one another about their emotions is thanks to a fear of being a downer or bringing the mood down. With that said, let’s face it – we all enjoy those endless chats about nonsense down the pub now and again. However, even though it may not be as exciting or hilarious as your normal conversation, there should still be a place for those serious, important chats with our mates. The concept of appearing weak, vulnerable or fragile can feel very uncomfortable, but for the men in your life, it’s crucial. Because it can be so difficult, finding ways to discuss these issues with men is essential for letting all those locked up feelings out.
Remember – being supportive doesn’t necessarily mean putting an arm around your friend and going through the ‘you’re going to be ok’ conversation. Sometimes all a man needs is someone to listen, which is something few people do these days. Letting the men in all of our lives aware that there is someone there just to listen (without the banter or jokes) can totally transform and improve mental health. Most of us have those friends that called themselves best mates who struggle to have a deeply meaningful conversation without any of those witty comments that take the meaning out of them. If you look back and have a think about it, you’ve probably experienced one or two of these conversations throughout your life – and vice versa too.
We all like having a laugh now and again, but when it comes to serious conversations, is it really that funny? The difficulty arises when we’re trying to figure out where the line is. Friendships is all about going through each of these emotions, so it’s not like you should be anticipating a heart to heart every night down the pub. On the other hand, nobody wants to silence the other. Our suggestion is to listen out for the odd ones out. For instance, if your mate is starting to bring up a certain line of conversations, they obviously have something they need to express. To be a good mate, always make sure you’re following the line they’re leading and trying to get it out of your mate. When moments like this pop up, it’s a good idea to ensure that they are aware you can listen and know that you can be trusted with their emotions.
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