A three-way bromance

Justine Toh talks male friendship, her experience of lifelong besties, and how deep connections may just have something divine about them.

“We just naturally became a three-way bromance.”

You don’t often hear this – and we’re all the poorer for it.

That was Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation fame, waxing lyrical about being best friends with writer George Saunders and musician Jeff Tweedy. Offerman was in conversation with Ezra Klein of The New York Times about his latest book Where the Deer and the Antelope Play – about the wonders of the great outdoors that he’s experienced on hiking trips with George and Jeff.

I just love the idea of the trio bro-ing around together. I know that feeling of kinship. I’m part of a three-member girl gang who’ve been best friends for more than 20 years. Together, we’ve navigated jobs and study, break-ups, marriage, grief, surgeries, climate anxieties, toddler tantrums, and epic food poisoning in Oaxaca and Marrakesh. What’s a little (or a lot of) poo poo between friends?

The evidence suggests that it’s harder for guys to have deep, intimate friendships with each other. Loneliness may now be at ‘epidemic’ levels but lonely men – even those happily partnered up – have always been among us. Our ideas about real manhood may have coded vulnerability as weak and self-reliance as strong, but we’re dead wrong about both.

God is love, said the Apostle John. Not only because God always acts for the good of another, but because God in his very being is a trinity: a community of three distinct persons, bound by boundless love for each other and the world.

Is there something significant about the three in and of itself? I’m not sure, but anytime there’s profound love between friends I suspect we’ve stumbled onto something divine.