Written By: Jeff Craig
Recently, I read an article on http://elitedaily.com/life/friends-dcks-are-the-greatest/1313596/) and I felt strongly compelled to share my perspective on this topic.
According to the article, men who insult or “poke fun” at their friends have stronger relationships than those who are not. I am curious where this research came from.
Personally, I found a wonderful article written by Amy Luckner, PhD., on Psychology Today that is backed by research (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-wide-wide-world-psychology/201311/when-does-teasing-go-too-far). The article explains how some teasing, although good natured in intent, can often be received as negative by the person being teased. Often times, these negative experiences can lead to lowered self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and more. Seeing as this article is backed by empirical support, I would be left to believe all statements made on “Why Friends Who Are D*cks To Each Other Have The Strongest Friendships” are based solely on opinion and hold no legitimate ground.
Back to the first article, the justification behind the author’s behavior is based on characters on the sitcom Seinfeld. Fictional characters on a television sitcom is what this article emulates male behavior from. The characters on Seinfeld are over exaggerations of people in the real world. If people like that existed in the real world, they’d be hospitalized. They are not examples for how to treat our friends.
Next, the author of the article explains that he has always viewed his friend as people he can “mess around” with without the risk of offending them. He also mentions that friends should be the last people one should worry about hurting. I don’t know about you, but I really care about my friends. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are happy, I’m happy. I want to bring joy to their lives just as much as they bring joy to mine. In a world where each and every one of us is told on a daily basis that we are not good looking enough, rich enough, smart enough, etc., I would hope and pray that I still have friends to count on that will make it clear that to them, I will always be enough.
The article then states that if friends are just hanging out, men have every right to be emotionally abusive toward them. And yes, I am using emotionally abusive because that’s exactly what it is. Whether someone is in public or not, a person is never justified in putting down another person. Most abuse cases occur inside the privacy of the home. That doesn’t make it any more acceptable. And I call it abuse because of the psychological effects it has on a person. No matter how innocent the intent, if it causes any distress in the person being teased, it is abuse.
The author of this article explains that making fun of his friends is a sign of affection and that if he was kind to them, their relationship would be boring. This sound like maybe the author has some unresolved issues in his own life if he can only value a friendship if he is able to insult the other person. For me, my friendships are anything but boring. I go on incredible adventures with my friends, have amazing conversations I could never have with a stranger, and their personalities are something I value and appreciate as a part of my life. If he is worried about his friends being boring, he either needs psychological help or he needs new friends. He also uses the term “too mushy” when referring to what he tries to avoid with his friends. This statement is a clear indicator of emotional immaturity. When I hear the term “too mushy” in relationship to make conversation, I hear someone who has become a sheep of society’s standards of masculinity. Being a emotionally vulnerable male is a sign of great strength and confidence. Men who fear opening up emotionally in their relationships with others are often more insecure and less confident. I dare the author of this article or whoever is reading this to search scholarly articles on male emotional vulnerability and find anything that states the contrary.
You may be thinking I am being too harsh or cynical toward the author, but there were some well made points that I do agree with. Not everything the author wrote in this article was completely false. Two points were made that I do agree with. First, friends should be honest with one another. I totally agree with this statement. A lot of times, the people we love often will say what we call “white lies” to save us from getting our feelings hurt. I depend on my friends to be honest with me. If I want to be a professional singer and my voice is terrible, I need them to be the one to step up and let me know. The important thing to remember is there is a kind way to be honest and a unkind way to be honest. Second, we should all be able to laugh at ourselves. Being able to laugh at oneself is a clear sign of self acceptance and a sense of humor. Unfortunately, the fact still remains; not everyone accepts themselves and not everyone has a great sense of humor. As a friend, it is important to remember this.
In conclusion, this article is a shining example of how damaging masculine stereotypes can be and how ignorance can effect those around us. I heard about this article from a friend who used it as justification for the way he treats me. THIS is why the Internet and one individual’s opinions can be harmful to others. It is articles like this that set men back in their development and reinforce detrimental behaviors. There is a desperate need for men to reevaluate what it is to be masculine in today’s society and start leading by example instead of following the flock. So which one will you be?
Update: I am no longer friends with the person who sent me the original article. We all deserve better.