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Men Can Have Better Friendships. Here’s How

By Julia Farlan for NPR Life Kit

Here’s the bad news: Men are hurting, and, according to many researchers, masculinity is what is hurting them and making it hard for them to maintain friendships.

Society tells men* to be stoic and to suppress their feelings and expects them to be aggressive, says Niobe Way, a developmental psychologist at New York University, but having a full range of emotions is inherently human.

Way has spent more than 30 years interviewing teen boys about masculinity and friendship. She says that in childhood, boys feel affectionate about their relationships — just as girls do.

“Children have remarkable social and emotional skills — to listen to each other, to read each other’s emotions, empathy, all sorts of lovely things,” she says.

But then, like clockwork, in late adolescence, boys go underground emotionally when talking about their friendships. “You get the ‘I don’t care anymore.’ Or, ‘No homo,’ as if I’ve been

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