According to the Male Deficit Model, friendships between men function and falter within strict pragmatic categories: “convenience friends,” for example, exchange helpful favors but don’t interact much otherwise; “mentor friends,” who connect primarily through one man’s tutelage of the other; or “activity friends,” which Matt and I became by surfing in San Francisco.
The theory holds that men tend to drift apart whenever the shared convenience, mentorship, or activity ends. That’s precisely what happened to Matt and me when I got married and became a father and no longer had much time to spend in the water. Our friendship only rekindled after Matt and his wife bought a fixer-upper in my neighborhood. I brought over my sledgehammer and Sawzall and we had a blast demolishing the walls of his old kitchen. Then his wife had a baby and we’d push our strollers around the neighborhood.
So your social life could be better. Big deal, right? Actually, it’s a bigger deal than you might know.
That’s because nearly all research into healthy aging has found that the key to a long, happy life is not diet or exercise but strong social connections – that is, friendships. Loneliness accelerates age-related declines in cognition and motor function, while a single good friend has been shown to make as much as a 10-year difference in overall life expectancy.