Skip navigation

20 for 20: Why are mates important to you?

G’Day mate. Anyone hearing those words would assume the speaker was an Australian.

The term is used to describe friends, colleagues – and sometimes adversaries – as well as being a national Aussie character trait. Mateship.

(The term actually has its origins in the German word ‘gemate’, which means to share a meal at the same table).

While it’s great to have friends, to have mates is even better. Mates have your back. Mates don’t judge. Mates hang out. Mates might give you a hard time, but underneath the ribbing they rather like you and wouldn’t let you down.

Fact or fiction? Why are mates important to you?

Blokes Psychology points out that it’s the quality of genuine human connections that predict our happiness.

“Not the size or postcode of your house, brand of your car or money in the bank. 'Social connectedness' decreases the chances of mental health deterioration,” the men’s counselling service stated several years ago in an article titled ‘Why men have no friends.’

At the time, studies showed that men valued having mates and thought them essential, but 85% of Aussie males struggled to find enough time to catch up with mates, especially as they got older.


What do you do to keep in touch with mates, or develop new friendships?

La Trobe University in Melbourne has published 5 ways to be a good mate. Their recommendations include:

  • Ask if a mate is okay if you suspect he isn’t doing too well.
  • Go beyond the initial question of ‘are you okay?’ to have more meaningful conversations.
  • Check in if you haven’t heard from your friend in a while. This includes simple messaging on social media or text, but it’s important to catch up in person.
  • Encourage and help mates find a professional service if he is struggling and finding it hard to cope.


Adds the men’s social connection not-for-profit foundation GOTCHA4LIFE:

“It’s not about the number of friends you have or whether or not you’re in a committed relationship; it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters most. Having good relationships with mates that we can talk to before things get off track can make a big difference. Sometimes they can be the key to taking the steps that people need to turn things around or to reach out to professional supports that are available.”


Why are mates important to you?

Take this question to your International Men’s Day get-togethers before, on or after International Men’s Day on November 19, 2020.

Let’s get Australia talking about men!




by Henry Lawson, Australian bush poet, 1867-1922

We learnt the creed at Hungerford,
We learnt the creed at Bourke;
We learnt it in the good times
And learnt it out of work.
We learnt it by the harbour-side
And on the billabong:
"No matter what a mate may do,
A mate can do no wrong!"
He’s like a king in this respect
(No matter what they do),
And, king-like, shares in storm and shine
The Throne of Life with you.
We learnt it when we were in gaol
And put it in a song:
" No matter what a mate may do,
A mate can do no wrong!"
They’ll say he said a bitter word
When he’s away or dead.
We’re loyal to his memory,
No matter what he said.
And we should never hesitate,
But strike out good and strong,
And jolt the slanderer on the jaw –
A mate can do no wrong !

More News

See all News

Stay Updated