Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships a book by Geoffrey L. Grief


Summary: Greif is a sociologist who has done extensive study on men and relationships. He points out that whereas women’s friendships are often “eye to eye”, men’s friendships tend to be “shoulder to shoulder”.  This book is the culmination of nearly 400 interviews Grief conducted with men, and he introduces a number of them to the reader. While this is a “scholarly” work- it is very readable.


Amazon Description:
The guiding feature of the book is Greif’s typology of male friendships: he dispels the myth that men don’t have friends, showing that men have must, trust, just, and rust friends. A must friend is the best friend a man absolutely must call with earthshaking news. A trust friend is liked and trusted but not necessarily held as close as a must friend. Just friends are casual acquaintances, while rust friends have a long history together and can drift in and out of each other’s lives, essentially picking up where they last left off. Understanding the role each of these types of friends play across men’s lives reveals fascinating developmental patterns, such as how men cope with stress and conflict and how they make and maintain friendships, and how their friends keep them active and happy. Through the lively words of men themselves, and detailed profiles of men from their twenties to their nineties, readers may be surprised to find what friendships offer men–as well as their families and communities–and are sure to learn what makes their own relationships tick.


Use Cases: This book is a valuable tool for the individuals personal growth and a leader’s understanding of the kinds of experiences needed to build effective men’s ministry.


Additional Resources: Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship, by Robert Garfield, MD


Building Your Band of Brothers, by Stephen Mansfield