By Kelsey Anspach, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, May 11, 2012
Best friends really are the best. They’re always there to sit around and do nothing, to be your library/brunch/anything date, to listen to your problems and then tell you to chill out.
Even if they don’t want to do any of those things at the same time as you do, they’ll go along with you because they think you’re as cool as you think they are. While girls often advertise these cherished relationships by getting super excited upon seeing each other after being separated for five minutes, guys may only acknowledge their best bros with a casual head nod.
The question left to answer, then, is what lies behind two guys’ awesomely chill relationship — or “bromance” — that they don’t show you explicitly.
“The bulk of our friendship is doing the simple things — getting coffee, going to the library or playing pong — anything that you could do with anyone, but more often than not, I like to do it with Craig [Smyser ’13],” John Ceremsak ’13 said.
Often, these relationships arise because friends find themselves defaulting to each others’ company.
“[Jack Brown ’15 and I] live directly next to each other, and we’d come back and talk for a while to keep each other awake as we got ready for bed,” Jake Stern ’15 said. “But we found that we ended up talking to each other longer than we should have.”
Of course, living in close proximity definitely helps to start a close relationship, but in time, Stern and Brown found it natural to always hang out together.
“We enjoy each others’ company, so if we’re doing something, we’ll just knock on each others’ door and see if the other wants to come,” Brown said. “It’s almost like we have to go out of our way to do stuff with other people so we’re not doing everything with each other.”
Still, while it might be easy to constantly fall back on the same best friend or group of a few close friends, this convenience is not how all men foster close friendships.
“You don’t get sucked into the trap of being around the same person,” Chase Klein ’14 said. “[Alex Rowe ’14 and I] aren’t together all the time because we have a different group of friends.”
As with any good bromance, Rowe continued Klein’s train of thought.
“It works well because we don’t always hang out together,” he said. “We have very distinct lives outside of each others’ lives.”
In addition to having shared interests that bring good friends together, having different interests helps balance the dynamic of the friendship.
“We’re just similar enough to mesh, but just different enough to complement each others’ differences,” Klein said.
Klein added that while he is “more hyped up and weirder,” Rowe is “laid-back and lazier.”
Ceremsak described his relationship with Smyser as a “kind of an ‘opposites attract’ scenario.”
“Most of Symyser’s extracurriculars I find incredibly annoying,” Ceremsak said.
Unsurprisingly, Smyser said the same of Ceremsak’s activities.
Being in a bromance, however, is not always sunshine and rainbows. Having that close of a friend or friends inherently means putting up with their shit when necessary.
“Usually Smyser tries to talk about some important political issue, and I just don’t respond because I find it annoying,” Ceremsak said.
In turn, Smyser decried Ceremsak’s habit of always “bitching about his personal problems.” The duo noted that many of their interactions follow this pattern.
“A lot of our conversations are Smyser trying to talk about something and me not being interested, and then me talking about something and Smyser not being interested, but we put up with it to a certain extent,” Ceremsak said.
At the same time, it’s great to have that certain friend that you know is always down to chill.
“It’s just kind of cool to get to the point where if you’re doing something, you just assume the other person will go along with it, whether it’s a movie, hanging out, eating,” Klein said. “It’s to the point where it’s so open that a person will be willing to do whatever.”
In this way, Klein pointed out that with a best friend, you have someone who can be involved with “every basis” of your life.
Best friends are the people you just want to see at the end of the day — or any time of the day, really — to talk about whatever, or even just share your highs and lows.
“As a freshman, it was really important to me to have a friend like Jake where I could forget about the stresses in my life and just have fun,” Brown said. “If I didn’t have a close friend like Jake, I’d come back to dorm and hang out with someone and just go to sleep with stuff on my mind. But having a close friend like that really has helped me stay happy and relaxed.”
Stern also said that having a close friend like Brown has been important as a freshman, especially after leaving his best high school buddies behind.
“Coming from high school, you’re used to being really comfortable and having multiple people you can do that with,” Stern said. “Even though people don’t talk about it, stresses build up, and it’s important that you can have somebody to talk with.”
When it comes down to it, a bromance is just like any pair or group of great friends, regardless of gender.
The same principles — shared interests, good balance and transparency — that make any relationship work still apply to any good bromance. It’s awesome to have someone who just gets you. Really, nothing could be better.