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Why do men have such a hard time nurturing male friendships? Probably because we were raised to compete, not cooperate, and to hide our vulnerabilities. Our fears and insecurities related to rejection, failure, shame and hurt also contribute. Not to mention our need to be in control and our “we don’t need anyone to help us” mentality. During times of stress, men choose to be alone while women would rather befriend someone. We know that men and women are wired differently and connect in different ways. Male friendships focus on physical activity and mental connection while women connect through emotional bonding and conversation. So what are the benefits of male friendships anyway? Men with friends tend to live longer and have healthier lives. Overall, friendships reduce stress, limit depression, lower blood pressure, and lessens the effects of aging. In fact, people with close friendships are more likely to exercise regularly, avoid excessive alcohol and have greater self-esteem. When we have same-sexed friendships our marriage is also enhanced, since we don’t rely on our partner to fulfill all of our emotional needs. Maintaining an individual identity can also generate joy, fun, and excitement that we can bring to our marriage. Lastly, being around healthy, mature and responsible men can help us grow and flourish in life. As Proverbs 27:17 notes: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Male friendships are essential to living a full and healthy life. Decide today to develop and nurture friendships.