Male Friendships: Don’t Expect a Soulmate

In a fast-paced world, people are always looking for their next fix. In the age of social media and technology, many have forgotten how to interact face-to-face with others in real life. Though some think that online relationships offer romantic benefits that traditional ones do not provide, more often than not they come at the cost of intimacy and genuine connection.

“Close male-female friendships” is a topic that I am going to discuss. The discussion will include the benefits of ending your male-female friendships, and how you can end them without feeling guilty. Read more in detail here: close male-female friendships.

Friends on beach standing in swimsuits smiling.

Note from the editor: The following is an extract from Arthur Murray’s Popularity Book, which was first published in 1944. Gelett Burgess, a well-known artist, critic, essayist, and comedian, wrote this specific piece.

While Burgess’ advise is a touch snarky and harsh, and may come off as excessively utilitarian, the core concept is spot on. Many males lose out on establishing and retaining friends because they’re constantly on the lookout for their soul mate best friend and won’t bother getting to know anybody with whom they don’t share everything. Once in a blue moon, you’ll meet someone like that, but more often than not, you’ll encounter flawed individuals who don’t live up to your expectations in a variety of ways. You may still appreciate various individuals at different times for different reasons. Burgess reveals how he did it.

I used to be a romantic when I was younger. I believed in Santa Claus and in the angelic qualities of all women. And I had faith in friends. But, after years of being bored by Toms, Dicks, and Harrys who lied to me and double-crossed me, not to mention Janes who talked me to death, I was nearly ready to shout with Job, “Have pity on me, O ye my friends!”

What exactly was the issue? Why are we so unsatisfied with our friends so often? Why are we surprised, dissatisfied, or enraged by their behavior? Is it true that “friends such as we seek are dreams and tales,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it? Not in the least. I eventually realized that the problem wasn’t with Tom, Dick, or Harry, but rather with me. For friendship is one of the world’s most difficult games.

It must be studied and performed with the same level of scientific rigor as chemistry, parachute jumping, or painting.

The key is what I refer to as Vocational Friendship. The vocational expert, as you may know, is a person who goes to a large store or factory and assesses all job candidates, both intellectually and physically, in order to identify which job they are most suited for. He then allocates them to departments where they will be most productive. A guy who couldn’t possible operate a machine would manage a whole herd of stenographers beautifully, and a man who couldn’t possibly run a machine will handle a whole herd of stenographers excellently. So, in order to make your buddies most valuable and lasting, you must first comprehend and identify them, rather than attempting to squeeze square pegs into round holes.

Arthur, for example, is now a smart and entertaining speaker. He, on the other hand, never shows up for his appointments. So simply enjoy his conversation when you meet him; if you don’t arrange any meetings with him, he’ll always match your expectations. Why should we curse Gertrude, who dressed like a frump and plays auction bridge like Ely Culbertson? When you play, have her as a companion, but don’t take her to a nightclub. Then you’ll be pals forever. You may accompany Elsie, who is lovely but stupid, for the sake of exhibition.


For years, I had a relative who irritated me because she would never respond to my letters or acknowledge receipt of items I gave her. She, on the other hand, has wonderful table manners and can eat asparagus, oranges, frog’s legs, and even corn on the cob without anybody noticing. So, what exactly did I do? I stopped writing to her, but I still took her out to dinner whenever she came in town. We’ve been excellent pals for a long time.

You see, changing individuals and making them become what you want is impossible. You’ll never be dissatisfied or upset if you appreciate each one in the unique manner that each succeeds. The problem is that we all want our pals to be like those multi-bladed knives that guys like, blades that can cut, drill holes, drive screws, open cans, and do practically everything. We expect our friends to satisfy us in all aspects of their lives.

Friends, on the other hand, are like simpler instruments. Each of us may excel in something, and we should focus on that. “You dirty screw driver!” we can’t say. “How come you can’t drive a nail?” So why should a lady who can write beautiful poetry be expected to tell hilarious tales or dance the Rumba? Can’t a guy play a fantastic round of golf while neglecting his debts?

Friendship at the workplace would teach you to just use him for golf and never give him money.

You see, the art of Vocational Friendship is to limit your interaction with friends to those situations in which you are both mutually sympathetic. You may have numerous nice points of interaction with certain friends, but just a few with others. Almost everyone you meet, though, has at least one characteristic that you can appreciate. That is how I believe we should regard our friends. Concentrate on the quality that you like the most.

In any case, I’ve discovered that this method allows me to be friends with practically everyone. I was never disappointed with my buddies since I didn’t anticipate more than one speciality from them.



So, you think that your friendship with a guy is going to last forever? Well, don’t expect a soulmate. Friendship dynamics are different for men and women. Reference: when a friendship ends and you don t know why.

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