Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Do Dads’ Need Friends? by Allison Silver
A few weeks ago a few other moms and I were chatting. We have been attempting to get our husbands together so they can have a chance to meet each other and hang out but with varying work schedules and family commitments it has been a bit difficult. While we were chatting one of the moms said, “My husband said that men don’t need friends only women do.” I thought that was an interesting comment and it made me start to think about whether dads’ really do need friends or if as women we just perceive that everyone needs friends since most of us would be lost without them.
The response from the other moms in our group was mixed. One woman said that her husband needs his guy time and another lady mentioned that although her and her husband share everything it doesn’t replace his need for male conversation. Interesting. When I asked my husband what his thoughts on the topic were he responded with, “Everyone needs friends.”
But do they? As I was pondering about whether men need friends, I began to think about my dad. My dad is an interesting guy he used to have a sign in his office that read, “The more people I meet the more I like my dog!” This doesn’t seem very pro-friendship but he has had several male friendships in his life that have been very important. When I was growing up his best friend was our neighbor, Richard. Richard wasn’t very much of a talker either but my dad and Richard spent many an afternoon hanging out in Richard’s garage drinking beer. If we weren’t sure where my dad was chances were pretty good he was at Richard’s. I’m not sure if they even shared two words on some occasions. But that didn’t matter just being around someone who you can totally be yourself around was all that mattered. Richard ended up passing away, much too young, and my dad was absolutely devastated. They had been neighbors and friends for over twenty years. To this day my dad still has yet to find another friend like Richard and I can still see the sadness in his heart. I had no idea growing up what an anamoly this type of friendship was. I just thought everybody was best buds with their neighbors. It was definitely a very special relationship that I have yet to see replicated as an adult.
My father-in-law is another one that I started thinking about. He is a quirky guy who is very high energy. He is seriously like a ferret on a double espresso and the guy is almost seventy years old! His high energy can be a bit of a turnoff to others but ten years ago he met a friend who was exactly like him. Ken was at least fifteen years his senior but had the same energy level. Unlike my dad and Richard these two were not content with sitting in the garage drinking beer. Nope! They both loved aviation and they took it upon themselves to fly to every airport in California. Unless you are a pilot you would never have guessed but there are actually a lot of little airports throughout the state. They only had five more to visit before Ken fell ill and passed away. Again like my dad my father-in-law was truly devastated. Ken was his best friend. They were kindred spirits.
It’s interesting to me because most women actively search for friends where I think many men just kinda think friendships will happen or they won’t. I don’t think men want to put much effort into it. Both my dad and my father-in-law didn’t actively go out of their way to find friends. I don’t think either one of them knew that these long lasting friendships would develop, it just happened. I do think dads’ need friends but it’s definitely not something that as women we can force onto them. They definitely don’t make friends like we do and forcing them to socialize with other dads might not make that much of a difference. But perhaps in our case it will at least provide the other dads with some camaraderie that their wife is not the only crazy one who does this attachment parenting thing. At least as ladies that’s how we can justify dragging them to a family potluck or barbecue!