Modern males forge deep bonds with core friends - report

LONDON Tue Nov 6, 2012 11:53pm IST

A business man rides an escalator in the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai September 21, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song/Files

A business man rides an escalator in the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai September 21, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Aly Song/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Are you the pilot or the wit in your circle of friends?

The average man has six defined types of friends, according to a new report on male friendship, which says most men rely on the pilot, rock, explorer, wit, hero and coach for moral guidance and emotional support.

"The Evolution of Friendship" report uses research and interviews with experts and academics alongside chats with groups of men in New York, Shanghai, London, Moscow and Mexico City to explore the dynamics of 21st century male friendship.

It argues that it has become more important for modern men to forge deep relationships with a core group of friends as a way to operate in an increasingly complex world and that those men are more in touch with each other's feelings.

London-based psychologist Felix Economakis said in the report, from whisky maker Chivas Regal, that modern men have left behind the austere rules of friendship for more emotional demonstrations of frailty.

"I see quite a lot of young men who aren't afraid to say, 'I had an argument and I burst into tears' or, 'He's my best friend and I love him'," Economakis said.

The report argues the evolution of friendship has moved from the reserved 19th and 20th century model, in which men were more independently minded, to a 21st century interconnected world of the kind depicted in films such as "Wedding Crashers," in which two friends openly profess their emotional reliance on each other.

It describes such dynamics as "fireteam friendships," a basic unit of four or five friends who watch each others' backs, and argues that men who are in closer contact with their friends are happier, healthier and wealthier.

In addition to the evolution of friendship, its impact on life and group dynamics, the report also concludes that emotional openness, trust and respect and a balanced attitude to success will continue to characterise friendships going forward.

(Reporting By Isla Binnie; editing by Paul Casciato and Patricia Reaney)

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