Bromances are scientifically proven to improve men’s lives and are more important than relationships
‘Masculinity is no longer this debilitating curse’
The bromance, a close friendship (usually) between two straight men has been connected to the increased emotional wellbeing of men.
A study undertaken by the University of Winchester recruited 30 undergraduate male students studying sports degrees. Through a series of questions, these mostly straight men were interviewed to find out what “bromance” meant to them. The study’s focus was predominantly on the personal experiences of the participants and how they perceived their own bromances. According to the results, all subjects said they had at least on bromantic friend, and that there is a distinct difference between a bromance and a friendship.
One subject said: “You have people that you are really close to, and get on with really well, but a bromance is closer. With a bromance you can talk about anything, with friends you can’t”. For some participants, their bromance was like a romance, for others it was more akin to having a brother. Nevertheless, the common factor of closeness was consistent among all the men interviewed.
Common characteristics of the bromance were identified as having similar interests such as sports (which is unsurprising when you consider that all the participants study sports), the ability to be emotionally vulnerable by expressing and receiving love without fear of ridicule and derision, and physical intimacy. Many participants reported kissing, bed sharing, and being naked with their bromantic partner.
The fact that the phenomena of the bromance allows men to cultivate the homosocial bonds they have with other men in a context that breaks away from our culture’s assumptions about traditional masculinity is clearly a good thing. However, the study notes that there is a flip side to this, which “may not benefit cross-sex relations” and “may in fact reduce men’s appetite for interaction with women and intensify the exclusivity of make friendships.”.
Adam White, one of the authors of the study, told Broadly: “Traditionally women have been able to exchange in these highly emotional exchanges with other women. It has traditionally been the straight jacket of masculinity that has prevented men from engaging in these close and expressive same sex-relationships.”
He added: “Men, and particularly young men often get bad press for a range of socio-negative behaviours, whether this is lad culture, issues of misogyny, excessive alcohol consumption, violence and so on. At the same time we know men have a high rate of suicide and emotional restrictiveness may be a risk factor that explains these high rates. It’s important to start to capture these stories and narratives of young men to better understand them, and the bromance – being a supportive and emotionally open form of close friendship – may be one way of reducing some of these issues that young men experience.”
“Masculinity is no longer this debilitating curse that forces men to act in a particularly toxic manner and, as such, guys today are having highly emotional, physically tactile and loving friendships with other men. This can only be positive.”