The Advertiser - Cessnock

Blokes being bromantic: How men are turning 'mates' into meaningful friendships

Blokes being bromantic: How men are turning 'mates' into meaningful friendships

This is branded content.

There's no denying that 'bloke' culture comes with its fair share of pros and cons. Whilst male camaraderie can be a source of comfort for many modern men, forging friendships with the wrong people can also be a major disruptor for young Aussie men.

Over the past few years, however, many Aussie men have been making a commitment to breaking down the barriers that exist between themselves and their mates, and seeking to embrace the emerging construct of empowered masculinity.

But how exactly are Aussie blokes redefining their relationships to one another, and turning what was once just being 'mates' into meaningful, lifelong friendships? Here are just a few small ways that the blokes of today are paving the way for future generations of Aussie men to no longer suffer in silence.

Making an effort to be present and invested

You may be surprised by just how impactful giving gifts for men who have something worth celebrating can be both on your shared relationship, as well as your own individual quality of life. Celebrating milestones with your loved ones is undoubtedly one of life's greatest joys, which is precisely why more men have been making an effort to show up for one another, regardless of what that celebration may be.

And making an effort doesn't just have to involve making an appearance and responding 'yes' to more RSVPs. Nowadays, adult men can be just as involved in putting together celebrations like baby showers, housewarming celebrations, and even events like graduations or anniversaries that are best enjoyed with all the people who love to cheer you on. You can show your mates that you really care by giving the gift of your time and your energies alongside material or sentimental gift items.

Opening up and maintaining lines of communication

Speaking of giving the gift of your time, there's no denying that quality time can hold great impacts on the health of any relationship, including adult male friendships. Even just a quick phone call when you're thinking of your mates or an impromptu lunch date, can make a world of difference for breaking through barriers and ensuring that your mates feel a sense of community around them, even through the hubbub of their working week.

And if you feel like you don't have the time to see your friends as often as you may like to, we're here to tell you otherwise. Cultivating friendships is all about making time, and the act of making time for your friends can hold just as many benefits for you and your own personal health and wellbeing as it can hold on the quality of your friendships. Disciplining yourself to make time for your friends may play a crucial role in building your ability to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Time with your mates may also make it easier to both open up and maintain lines of communication so that none of you ever have to feel alone, or perhaps even uncomfortable with the prospect of having to 'lean' on a friend during a time of strife.

In truth, your close friends are very rarely going to see you opening up to them as a burden. In fact, more often than not, the act of opening up can provide a great sense of relief to both men in crisis as well as their wider social circle, as chances are high that friends on the outskirts of a crisis can still recognise when their mate isn't acting like themselves.

If you are worried that your concerns may prove to become too much of a burden to your mates, however, we highly recommend booking an appointment with your GP and getting yourself a mental health treatment plan, so that you can speak to a professional.

Finding productive outlets together

Empowered masculinity can take on many forms. It can be athletic or artistic, creative and constructive, or a force for dissection and exploration, and virtually everything else that you can really imagine. In other words, there's no correct way to be a man, even if there may be highly-defined ways to be a 'bloke', although we'd argue with this one too, as Aussie bloke culture is in a state of flux itself at the moment as well!

Modern men can use shared interests to help nurture their relationships with one another, with recreational activities like jamming with musical instruments, playing sports on a shared team, going to the gym, or taking weekly classes like art classes or other hobby classes to enrich their lives, as well as the lives of their mates.

Alongside finding recreational activities to double up as productive outlets, modern men may also decide to use time spent with their partners or wider social circle to help them feel connected and strengthen their own sense of personal identity that exists outside of their family, work, or school dynamics. Modern men should never underestimate the power of knowing who they are!

Being open and honest about bad behaviour

Finally, one particularly powerful shift that we've observed over the past few years, is the growing frequency of men calling their fellow mates out in the face of bad or toxic behaviour. Whilst this shift has held major positive impacts for women, as women can enjoy feeling more comfortable around men in public with the knowledge that a 'boys will be boys' attitude won't go unchecked, this practice has actually also held some immense benefits when it comes to strengthening male friendships.

Simply put, men who feel empowered enough to call their friends out on negative traits or bad behaviour, are able to refine their own social circles, and take comfort in the knowledge that the 'mates' they surround themselves with are actually stand-up blokes.

Feeling secure in the knowledge that the people you're opening up to are, in fact, good people, can naturally allow you to feel increasingly connected to each and every individual member of your wider social circle, and maintain faith that your friends will only ever respond to your concerns with compassion and sincerity.

~

Alongside all of these changed behaviours that we've outlined above, it's also clear to see that criticism of gender stereotypes have influenced the way that Aussie parents are raising their children. With the rejection of gendered toys and expectations placed on young girls and boys as they grow up and enter their adolescent years, it's likely that we can expect future generations of Aussie men to be less traditionally 'blokey' and more inclusive, connected, and self-aware, slowly redefining the more outdated aspects of masculinity in Australian society.