Why a bit of bromance is good for you

Men with close male friends tend to live longer. (Thinkstock)"If they're going through a tough patch, take the time to have a beer and listen to what they have to say. Never assume things are good. Check in. Communicate," says Korean-American actor John Cho in an interview with Men's Health magazine.

Cho wasn't talking about how to keep your girlfriend or wife happy, but how to maintain a good friendship with your guy friends. The star of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Cho has acted out bromances on the big screen, and he certainly gets their importance in real life too.

While men's friendships have become comedy fodder over the last few years, Hollywood may be on to something.

A number of studies suggest platonic male friendships play important roles in men's physical and psychological health.

Geoffrey Greif -- a professor at the University of Maryland and author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships -- outlines to Self magazine why male friendships are beneficial.  He says men with closer male friends are more likely to start exercising, keep each other intellectually engaged and tend to live longer.

To further support this friendship-health link, we need not look any further than a study of over 700 middle-aged Swedish men reported by the New York Times. The study concluded that while having an "attachment" to a single person didn't change the person's risk of heart attack or fatal coronary hear disease, having multiple buddies did.

"Only smoking was as important a risk factor as lack of social support."

Furthermore, data from researchers at the sociology department of Cornell University found that when a heterosexual man's female partner was more in touch with his friends that he was, problems arose. Calling it "partner inbetweeness," they found that these men were 92% more likely to report erectile dysfunction.

"A man's ability to play a round of golf or to have a few drinks with a friend who has only a passing acquaintance to his wife or girlfriend is crucial to preserving some independence in everyday life," professor Benjamin Cornwell of Cornell University explains to the Daily Mail.

In other words, a little bit of guy-time benefits everyone.

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