Recently, I started working with a great high schooler who I’ll call “Scott”. Scott is personable, articulate and is very likeable. During our first meeting I asked him what his social life looks like in terms of friendships. Scott had an interesting answer to that question:
“Most of my friends are girls. I have some feminine qualities so I guess it’s easier for me to be friends with girls”.
Before I started writing this I researched some online parenting forums where Moms asked about their sons who only or primarily had female friends. Interestingly, all of the answers I found were written by women who said it’s fine if a boy only has female friends. I believe that these well-intentioned professionals/forum facilitators don’t understand the importance of male- male friendships.
Boys need genuine connections with other boys. There’s a different connection that boys have with boys just as there is girls have with other girls.
Here’s what I told Scott: “Having some feminine qualities does not preclude you from having male friends. Many boys would welcome a friendship with you and could care less if you have some feminine qualities. They will like you because you share interests with them and are relatable.”
I went on to explain to him that having friendships with other boys teaches you how to socially interact with other guys later in life and how are you would gain a different connection with male friendships than with female friendships. We agreed to work on helping him cultivate friendships with other boys through an extracurricular activity he is involved in at school that he really enjoys.
In my experience boys are looking for connection with other boys yet many have difficulty understanding how to cultivate these friendships. As a result, they retreat to screen-based social interaction as a replacement for close friendships with other males.
Many boys need help learning how to cultivate friendships with other boys in real life but lack opportunites to do this. if you feel that your son is lacking close friendships with other boys it may be time to re-evaluate the amount of time he spends alone, in front of screens.
Let’s talk about how we can help your son develop close friendships with other boys his age. Reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org