'What do men talk about when they're alone?': TikToker answers common question about the 'secret' of how male friendships work
One woman’s innocent question seems to have sparked an interesting conversation about male friendships, intimacy and mental health on TikTok, and it’s definitely worth a watch.
The initial question was asked by New York City-based comic Sarah Adelman (@sarah_adelman), who simply wanted to know, “What do men talk about when they’re alone?”
“Because I genuinely do not understand how men do not know personal facts about the other,” she added, before sharing a story about meeting up with two male friends — one of which was apparently unaware that the other was engaged.
Adelman’s video has since been viewed more than 2 million times, causing thousands of people to either comment on her post with their opinions or respond in a stitch. But it’s one stitch in particular, made by author Jason Pargin (@jasonkpargin), that’s been getting the most attention.
And once you give a watch, you’ll see why.
In it, Pargin listens patiently to Adelman’s question and attempts to answer it honestly and sincerely.
“Okay, so I guess this is a secret many people don’t know,” he begins, before diving into things as diplomatically as he can.
“Pop culture loves to portray men as being very simple and shallow,” Pargin says, “like we’ll get together and we’ll just talk about sports all day [and] we’ll never get into anything about our personal lives.”
But according to the author, there’s a reason for this — one that most women must not be aware of.
“From birth, it was my understanding that the most noble thing you can do as a man is not be a burden on other people,” Pargin explains. “And most men I’ve known experience talking about deep subjects as work — you are putting a burden on them.”
From their point of view, it’s not a burden to talk about sports or video games or “Warhammer figurines,” which is why these subjects often get designated as go-to things to talk about. On the other hand, it is considered a burden (in most men’s minds) to talk about things like jobs and relationships, which can often be complex and stressful.
“So the arrangement you wind up with is, ‘Because I like you, I’m not going to burden you,'” Pargin explains.
So far, Pargin’s video hasn’t quite gained the reach of Adelman’s, but at more than 500,000 views, he’s clearly left an impression on people.
Many of the comments came from other men, who openly agreed.
“Oof, I wasn’t expecting you to go straight for my soul on this one,” wrote one man.
Another said this happens because men are innate problem-solvers, so “if you tell a buddy your problems, you are asking for an action plan, not a hug.”
“I think we also need that time as an escape from all the heavy real stuff because we tend to dwell on it so much,” someone else added.
Others said that they do talk about deep, personal things with friends, but don’t often relay that to their wives and girlfriends.
“if we do, we aren’t telling you about it, it’s between bros,” one guy wrote.
“My friends and I talk about personal stuff, but I’ll tell my girl that we didn’t if she asks personal details about what we discussed,” another confessed, “because if they choose to share personal things going on with me, I’m not going to turn around and tell other people.”
“I guess it’s why women tend to think that our friendships are shallow… we don’t share privileged information,” someone else chimed in.
Other men just responded to Pargin’s TikToks with humor and jokes.
“I disagree,” quipped one man. “You talk to me about Warhammer figures and I will feel burdened.”
“Ron Swanson said ‘I worked with a man for 3 years. never knew his name. best friend I ever had,'” added another.
Some commenters, who appeared to be younger, said that things are starting to change when it comes to male intimacy.
“Not my generation and gen Z,” wrote one TikToker. “We talk about everything, we don’t care about social norms we like to know each other and help each other.”
A few women even jumped into the conversation, too — including one who encouraged men to be more in touch with their vulnerable side.
“That’s why I always tell the men I’m with it’s attractive to be soft sometimes,” one woman wrote. “We love a soft man.”
“Sometimes!” Pargin replied, saying, “Other times we get very very different feedback!”
Another simply said that wherever people stand on the issue, “It’s so good that we’re finally having these conversations.”
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