In high school and college, guys usually become friends through taking shared classes or extracurriculars together. Beyond college, when men are not provided with opportunities to make friends organically, they tend to struggle. That’s because a man approaching another man is often considered weird. If you’ve ever thought, “Either this guy is going to think I’m robbing him or hitting on him” when trying to make friends with a man, you’re not alone. This is sad considering the importance of platonic friendship for the mental and physical health of both men and women.
The hardest part about making friends as a guy is putting yourself out there and being vulnerable—something men have been taught to avoid. In this article, in addition to learning how and where to make friends as a guy, you’ll learn how to overcome mental barriers around approaching other guys for friendship.
- How to find and make male friends
- Overcoming barriers to making guy friends
- How to approach another man for friendship
- Common questions
If you are serious about making friends as a guy, then you need to show up in the right places. When you know where other guys hang out, then by hanging out in these places regularly, you can increase your chances of making male friends.
Below are 7 ways to find and make male friends:
1. Join a hobby group
Making friends through shared activities is a great idea because common ground is established right away. This makes starting conversations with other guys much less threatening compared to a cold approach.
Make a list of hobbies you’d like to try out. Maybe you’ve been curious about them for a while, or perhaps you’ve tried them before and would like to get back into them. Decide on your top 3, and do a Google search to see if there are any organized groups in your area. If you’re a college student, you can probably find a list of these on your university website.
Here are some examples:
- Rock climbing
- Mixed martial arts
- Board games
If you need more ideas, you might like to take a look at these 25 best social hobbies to meet new people.
2. Join a social group
Much like joining a hobby group, joining a social group will help you connect with like-minded guys who you could develop good friendships with.
There are loads of social clubs for people who share similar interests and passions. If you’re at college, you can look into joining a fraternity. If that’s not an option, there’s always meetup.com.
Meetup.com is a site where people can create groups or clubs to connect with others in their local area. The groups are diverse and can include everything from meditation groups, to food lovers groups, to social justice groups, networking groups, and more! If you can’t find a social group that appeals to you, you can create your own one for a small monthly subscription cost.
3. Join a sports club
Sports clubs are a great place to meet other men because, statistically speaking, men play sports about three times as often as women do. Also, in sports clubs—unlike hobby or social groups—men are less likely to be looking to meet women.
So, if there’s a sport you played in school and you still like it enough to join a club, then bingo! Not only would joining a sports club be a great way to reconnect with an old passion and get some physical exercise, but it’d also be a good opportunity to meet some guy friends.
4. Join a place of worship
In the past, people attended places of worship, such as churches, synagogues, and mosques, more regularly. Places of worship help connect people who share similar beliefs and values, and there is a big emphasis on welcoming and integrating new people. There are often many ways to integrate and meet people, for example, through joining small groups or planning outreach activities. So, if you’re spiritually inclined and are looking to make guy friends in an open and inclusive environment, a place of worship is a good bet.
5. Make professional relationships personal
The office is a convenient place to make guy friends. Since you already have a professional relationship with other guys at the office, asking them to hang out after work doesn’t feel that intimidating.
If there’s a guy at work who you really get on with, invite him for a drink after work. You could even be the instigator and invite a couple of colleagues out for after-work drinks if it feels more comfortable. Then, you can focus on growing friendships with the guys you hit it off with.
6. Discover local events
If you want to meet people, you’re going to have to venture out. Local events are good places to go since they attract lots of people. Also, people go to events expecting there to be a crowd and are more likely open to meeting others.
Do a Google search to see what local events are happening in your area. You can also try Facebook’s events feature, which lets you browse upcoming events. Find an event that interests you, make your way there, and be open to opportunities to start conversations with other guys.
7. Connect with guys you cross paths with
If there is someplace you go to regularly, you’re likely to start seeing other “regulars” there, too. For example, at the gym, at a cafe, or in a co-working space.
To start a conversation with a stranger you’ve never spoken to before, point to the fact that you’ve seen him around and use some cues from the environment to help you out. For example: “That ergonomic laptop stand looks like a game-changer! I keep seeing you using it, and I’ve been meaning to ask where you got it from?”
Once you have made initial contact, it will be easy to start up a conversation again in the future, and eventually—if you click—enough repeated interactions could develop into a friendship over time.
Most barriers to approaching other guys for friendship exist in the mind. Overcoming these barriers takes a bit of mental effort. It’s about challenging old beliefs and testing new ones. If men do not change how they approach male friendship, then they won’t make the friendships they desire.
Below are 3 tips for changing your mindset when approaching guys for friendship:
1. Examine the odds
There is evidence to support the fact that men desire deep friendships just as much as women do. In fact, research shows that men who have close friendships with other men can be more satisfied with these than with their romantic relationships. That says a lot about the value that men can gain from male-to-male friendship.
The next time you want to strike up a conversation with another guy, and you start to doubt yourself, remember the facts. Men do want friendship! Actively pursuing it just takes courage in a society that tells men that depending on others is weak and feminine.
2. Realize that someone has to make the first move
It takes courage to be vulnerable, so what often happens is that people tend to wait for someone else to act. When it comes to friendship, this could look like waiting for the person you get along with to ask you to hang out first. The problem with playing the waiting game is that you could be waiting indefinitely. Instead of viewing vulnerability as a weakness, try looking at it as a strength.
3. Consider the cost-benefit ratio
Approaching another man for friendship may seem intimidating. However, it’s useful to look at the real costs and how these compare to the potential benefits. If you tried to initiate a friendship with another man, he could either reject or accept you. Being rejected would hurt, but it wouldn’t have a considerable or lasting impact. Now, compare this to the potential benefits of having friendships in your life.
Research shows that people who have strong friendships are happier, experience less stress, and are more satisfied with their lives. Whereas people who are lonely are more at risk for mental health problems, like anxiety and depression, as well as physical health problems, like heart disease. Knowing this, it’s up to you to decide: do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Most heterosexual men are taught how to chat up women, not other men. This is part of the reason men find it hard to make guy friends outside of school and college. They do not know how to approach and start friendly conversations with other men.
Here are 3 tips for how to approach other guys for friendship as a guy:
1. Remember the K.I.S.S. principle
K.I.S.S. is an acronym that stands for “keep it simple, stupid.” Although it was originally used in the 60s’ to refer to how mechanical systems should be designed, it’s commonly used today across many contexts. It fits very well in the context of making friends with other men: there’s no need to overthink it.
As cliche as it sounds, be yourself and engage in the things that interest you. This will make it easy to meet men who you share common ground with. If you click with someone, extend an invitation to hang out. It might feel awkward at first, but if you want to make friends, you have to roll with the awkwardness.
2. Don’t act desperate
You may be super eager to make some new male friends, but when it comes to meeting other guys, some of the rules that apply to meeting women still stand. Specifically, the rule about not coming across as desperate.
To avoid this problem, focus your energy on making friends with guys that you actually vibe with. If you invite a guy to hang out after having a subpar conversation, it will probably come across as a bit strange and unexpected. Also, avoid using self-deprecating language like “I’m sure you have better things to do, but…” This can give the other person a false impression that you’re not worth hanging out with before they get the chance to get to know you properly.
3. Make low-pressure requests
If there’s a guy that you’ve met a few times who you think you could have a good friendship with, try to initiate plans with him in a low-key way. This will feel less risky for you, and it will also take the pressure off of him.
One way to do this is to extend an invitation but pose it in a way that you’ll be doing it whether he agrees to join or not. Here is an example:
- After doing a shared activity, extend an invitation for lunch: “Hey, I was gonna grab some Mexican food after this—are you up for it?”
How do I make guy friends fast?
You need to be prepared to invest enough time and effort. Make it a goal to talk to a few new guys each week. If you really click with someone, be bold and invite them to hang out.
Is it important for men to have male friends?
Yes, friendship has important benefits for both mental and physical health. Some research has found that men who have high-quality same-sex friendships can be more satisfied with these than with their romantic ones.