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I can't remember the last time my husband did something with people other than me or our kids. I love your political analysis, but I really appreciate the way you open up about your personal struggles. I think you could write a great book about this phase of your life. A lot of men (and women) would identify with what you're going through. Think about it!

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Well said. It’s a real thing...

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Chris, this is a meaningful post. Thanks for writing it. The male friendship thing is a conundrum, isn't it?

I am of a generation such that I did NOT live with my parents past college (and not at home during the school year in college). I have friends, a small number are close...but who they are evolves over the years. Oddly, I find myself more comfortable relating to women (such as my wife's friends when they come over). Not that I dislike the husbands, but I somehow have less in common with them to visit about.

When I was becoming an adult, I had a desire to "leave my mark", to "be remembered". It was pretty vague as to what that meant. As I began my career as a software developer, and we developers leave our names in the code we write, "leaving my mark" began to mean "I hope someone remembers who I was in 50 years when they see my name in this code".

Most recently, leaving my mark and being remembered means leaving a lasting fond memory with my children/their spouses/my grandchildren.

Last thought: I consider myself an introvert. I wonder to what degree that contributes to my having a smaller circle of close friends.

I am, generally, satisfied and happy with my friendship and family relationships.

Thanks for writing a piece that makes me ponder it.

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That was a real touching really personal story. It takes a lot of introspection and effort to change your ways. Bravo Chris!! Keep at it!!

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Hi Chris - I feel 100% of everything in this article could apply to me (with the exception of being laid off by CNN)

The struggle is real...

Cheers!

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This one hit home for me and I'm glad you wrote about it.

I'm an introvert who gets very anxious about social situations so friendships are hard to come by and I ended up making a lot of friends through my job and when I got laid off, it felt like I lost all those friendships at once, so it became a real double whammy.

I think my issue is, I found I was the one putting in the work, sending the texts, the messages and then I realized why was I the one always texting first, reaching out and checking in? Why aren't any of these people reaching out to me to see if I was okay? And then you don't want to be that person constantly texting and not taking the hint and other anxieties bubble up, and suddenly it becomes much easier to just be a wallflower and enjoy doing what you want to do.

You mentioned text threads above, being on a group text is my worst nightmare.

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Chris,

Thanks for your brave summary on friendship.

First, we need to separate a true friendship from "hanging out" acquaintance. Most people confuse the two.

Trump has destroyed the term "friend" by claiming anyone who was in a room with him is his "great friend."

Chris, you having been downsized may have learned about who are "friends" and who are "acquaintances."

Having been through the ups and downs of mergers and acquisitions, I have learned about true friendships.

I determine friendship as someone who cares (emotionally and financially) about my successes and failures, with a similar world outlook.

Here's my story: Although I have many acquaintances, I have

~ One friend from Grammar school, (who recently died)

~ Two friends from high school.

~ Two friends from undergrad college (another recently died)

~ None from grad school.

~ Two friends from my first professional job.

~ One from my second pro job (another recently died)

~ Two from my third pro job

~ Three from my forth pro job

~ Two now in retirement.

Note: I have one friend from my second, third, and forth work stops, (she helped me get the forth stop --- now that's a friend)

I am also lucky to have two great brothers, and a couple of wonderful cousins I'd consider friends---along with my wife.

My point --- never stop reminding those friends how important they are in helping you be who you are.

And remember...it's more endearing when you say that when you're sober.

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Friendship is a high value for me and I'm fortunate to have stayed in touch with many. One of my oldest friends and I go back to meeting in sixth grade... in 1966! The neat thing is that years can go by without being in touch and yet when we meet or talk it's like we just saw each other yesterday.

Treasure your friends. Like family, they're what makes life worth living.

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I don't know what I would do without my circle of friends. We have a group of 11 guys that our wives/girlfriends call "The Boy Band". None of us are musicians, but we do hire bands and host occasional parties for an even wider circle of friends, lol. My immediate family is very small. My dad and my brother have passed away, my mom has dementia, my wife has stage 4 cancer (but has been fighting it successfully for 13 years), and our only son has his own issues and may or may not be a part of our lives depending on what day it is. We all need friends....some of us more than others!

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Appreciate you being vulnerable. It's hard to make new old friends, but it always helps to be open and put in the work to meet people. True friendships are rare and precious, plus they lead to longer and happier lives.

Here is an interesting study that your readers will hate on me for: "Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans are to report having ended a friendship over a political disagreement (20 percent vs. 10 percent). Political liberals are also far more likely than conservatives are to say they are no longer friends with someone due to political differences (28 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively). No group is more likely to end a friendship over politics than liberal women are; 33 percent say they stopped being friends with someone because of their politics."

Source: https://www.americansurveycenter.org/research/the-state-of-american-friendship-change-challenges-and-loss/

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So true. It's hard to keep friends, especially as you age - both of my closest friends have died. Happily family is there so there's no shortage of close relationships, but that sense of social contraction, I certainly know it.

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My husband says he has 2-3 male “friends” that if he calls and says he needs help with something they will drop or cancel whatever they’re doing and come to help. He needs men he can rely on, trust. He doesn’t need 100 chatty guys talking about feelings over beers or coffee, he needs reciprocity of the solid footing he, himself provides.

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This essay/post/comment was lovely. I've followed you around, metaphorically, since you were at the WaPo, and was really angry at CNN for letting you go. I've followed your columns - "47 crazy things Trump said last night" - which I really enjoy. But this time it's much more personal, and now I feel as if I'm getting to know you a little bit.

As an off-the-charts introvert, plus being a liberal in a very conservative small town, it's tough to make friends, but I've managed to have some success after a couple years of hard work. My husband is at the other end of the spectrum: to him there are no strangers, only friends he hasn't met yet. He meets his buddies every Friday at 4 pm for beer. They're all retired soldiers, so they have plenty of "no s--t, there I was ... " stories to tell. I'm glad he's got his buddies. It's made a big difference in his outlook on life since he started seeing them.

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I have found that playing poker is a pretty good antidote to this problem. It takes hours, gives you a chance to talk shit to each other and occasionally you wander into a serious conversation. Doing it regularly over years has been the only way I have found to maintain close guy friends. It’s a shame that we are socialized this way but having some kind of “excuse” to spend time together feels pretty necessary in a male friendship.

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Best friends, real best friends, are a treasure. Nuture those relationships.

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My husband passed away 10 years ago from ALS. Since then several of his male friends and also their wives have stayed in touch with me and occasionally we have traveled or gone out to eat with me. I felt my husband died at peace because he knew that between his friends, mine and my family that I would be supported and cared for. It was his everlasting gift to me that I’ll always cherish and nurture. Thank you for your post today. It reminded me of my sweet husband’s last gift to me.

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