For Men Who Hate Talking On The Phone, Games Keep Friendships Alive
Author: Cecilia D’Anastasio
Source: Kotaku (https://kotaku.com/for-men-who-hate-talking-on-the-phone-games-keep-frien-1835277944)
Men spend way less talk time on the phone than women is no secret. This piece by Cecilia says why so and furthermore show how men are adapting their traditional ways of bonding with male friends – through activity – in the modern technology driven world – through say, online gaming. Online gaming has cemented male relationships that might otherwise have evaporated. New age millennials nowadays prefer phones for official work and not for bonding with friends. Cecilia refers to her discussion with three researchers to say that “that they do think that there are specific reasons why men prefer catching up casually over games instead of segmenting out intentional phone time. One of them, Robin Dunbar, is a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford and a contributor to the aforementioned study about how adult male friendships decline. Men’s relationships, he said in an email, are “underpinned by ‘doing stuff together.’” Men’s phone calls, he added, are statistically shorter than women’s. “I sometimes joke that this is because the only reason for phoning someone is to say ‘I’ll see you down the bar at 7 o’clock,’” he said.”
Cecilia quotes researchers to say that different behaviour of girls & boys in interacting are due to the ways boys and girls are socialized from a young age. Boys are pushed away from family emotional support at young age and are expected to be independent and strong. Online gaming helps men to overcome the challenge of communicating and bonding. Video games aren’t just entertainment—they’re communication technologies in 21s century.
“Any time a friend of Eddie Gill’s calls him on the phone, his first thought is: “Why the fuck are you calling me?” Gill, a physician from Hingham, MA, is 30 years old—around the age when, according to an oft-cited study by Royal Society Open Science, the number of friendships the average man maintains dramatically declines. He is not a phone guy. He’ll talk to his mom, or his grandparents. Other than that, he finds keeping in touch with friends and family to be as difficult as chasing around his seven-month-old, or working with his patients. Like others his age, Gill says that his close friendships from high school and college have atrophied, not only because of the distance but because of their mutual aversion to talking on the phone. “The absolute exception,” said Gill, “are the friends I regularly play games with.”
Put Eddie Gill and one of his friends on the phone, and it would be painful for both parties—stilted conversation, awkward silences, brusque goodbyes. But drop them into a game of Apex Legends and the conversation flows freely.Over Xbox voice chat, Gill gabs with his buddies about the latest Game of Thrones episode, their favorite NFL teams and, sometimes, their personal lives. When his wife was pregnant, he told his friends over a game of Destiny 2. Like over two dozen other people Kotaku spoke to—the vast majority of whom were men—Gill says online gaming has replaced phone calls, and even real-life meetups. It’s cemented male relationships that might otherwise have evaporated. “I don’t think I would be as close with these guys if we didn’t hang out online the way we do,” Gill says of his childhood friends with whom he plays Apex Legends. “It would be impossible.”……..
… “I also think we have raised boys and girls differently and given girls more emotional language tools to use than we give boys,” said Dan Hemmerly-Brown, a 39-year-old technician for a market research firm. Hemmerly-Brown says that if his wife is concerned about something, she’ll call her friend to talk it through. For him, though, it might get brought up over Xbox voice chat with his gaming buddies. Fourteen other men I talked to agreed with the idea that online gaming is a casual way to stave off the loneliness and emotional isolation that can come with getting older.
Chris Richardson, 28, a mechanical engineer, told the story of how his good friend’s wife came up to him at their wedding to tell him that his co-op gaming with her husband while he was out of state on an internship “made him feel so much less lonely because he was living alone in a new town.” Richardson wasn’t likely to have called and checked in. Growing up, when Richardson talked to a childhood friend on the phone, he’d only do it “while playing Super Smash Bros. Melee and listening to Linkin Park…
..“Women tend to be more conversational and more emotionally open than men on average,” Williams said, “and so it’s not surprising that men would seek to be less emotional in any medium, including voice.” While everyone needs emotional support, he says, it can feel awkward for men if “emotional support” is the stated reason for initiating an interaction. “Guys will go drink, play football, play games together. All of that would serve the function of emotional connection, but they would be uncomfortable if you labeled it like that,” he said. On the other hand, Williams said, when his wife hosts her book club, she’s open about the fact that it’s not always about the books. “They have no problem saying that,” he said. “Guys playing games—it’s really no different, except for the awareness of it.” Adam Johns is a clinician and the founder of Game To Grow, a therapy group that uses role-playing games to support social skills and mental health. He said he has noticed that his male therapy clients are more likely to interact over an activity. He has clients who say that they would never talk to their school acquaintances outside of gaming with them online, and have never sought to close the IRL-URL gap……. “