• Bert Pepper

It Takes a Long Time to Grow an Old Friend

Updated: Jun 3

Friendships take time and effort.

Posted on May 1, 2020 on The Good Man Project



Many of us feel that because of the current coronavirus crisis we are depressed, nervous, and have a hard time getting things done. Social distancing only adds to the problem.

In a previous post, “Two Flat Tires That Changed My Life,” I wrote about the intensities of men’s friendships, and how our best friends tend to be those we have known a long time. I described five levels of friendship, ranging from Level 2, Trusted Intimates, the few people we trust completely, to Level 6, Strangers, the person at the newsstand from whom we buy our newspaper in the morning. Level 1 is The Private Self.


Some people are better than others at maintaining close Level 2 relationships. There are those who say that women, very generally speaking, might be better at this. But whether male or female, some people are just more able and willing to talk on the phone with a friend for an hour, or meet a friend for a long, leisurely lunch or dinner. For many men, it is easier to spend time with a buddy if they go fishing, or play a sport, or work together on a house project.


Now, back to you. Has the coronavirus got you stuck at home, only going out once or twice a day for necessary tasks like getting the mail or taking out the dog? After allowing the hours necessary for all the work, homework, and chores, are there still hours left to fill? Even after time spent working from home or trying to find work, catching up with the streaming shows you want to see, or working on the thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, is there still an hour left for a Skype or FaceTime to call a good friend?


Here’s a suggestion: think of your friends in Level 3 on the diagram. Level 3 friends are good friends. These are people you stayed in touch with after you moved or changed jobs. But they are not trusted intimates. Maybe they didn’t make it to Level 2 because, much as you like each other, you never spent that much time together, or haven’t known each other for that long.


Chat with the friend and find out if he, like you, has some time on his hands. Set up a half hour for a video chat. Then ask him about how the coronavirus has changed his life, his mood, his economic situation.


If you picked the right guy he will be pleased that you are interested in him, and he may check out how you are doing with your issues. Keep up the conversations and you might discover that you have moved your friend from Level 3 to Level 2. That can ease loneliness and improve your mood. You now have another valuable trusted intimate friend