Life After The Shenanigans
Men in our culture are typically great at doing life with other guys around activities like pick-up basketball, rock climbing, going out drinking, or drumming up a little mischief. But we are not typically great at building friendships around anything meaningful, things that promote real conversation, and getting to know each other on a deeper level. Eventually, we outgrow the shenanigans and maybe the drinking, and at some point, our bodies struggle to handle the athletic competition and physically demanding outings. What then? How will we build friendships? Are we destined for a life devoid of any brotherly camaraderie?
My assumption, of course, is that you agree with me that guys need friends who are guys. Our male friends watch our backs and cheer us on. They broaden our perspective, offer advice, and hold us accountable. They listen to our problems and walk beside us through our difficulties. They understand because they're men, and often they've "been there and done that." And we can do the same for them. No, I don't believe I need to convince you that guys need guy friends. But I will offer a couple of suggestions that I pray will help you build the sort of life-long, man-to-man friendships that will stand you in good stead for years to come.
Try to build better relationships with your dad and/or son(s).
"When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 'I am about to go the way of all the earth,' he said. 'So be strong, act like a man.'" (1 Kings 2:1-2)
There's no better place to start than at home. Granted, David dropped the ball when it came to fathering, but he did have an occasional great moment, and this priceless father/son interaction was one of them. I don't mean to ignore the reality that a lot of guys face some difficult and complicated issues with their fathers or sons — but for others of us, our family ties give us a natural point of entry. Our families have seen us at our best and worst, yet they love us anyway because we're family. And what a blessing it is when they get to know us well enough to appreciate who we are! Even in well-functioning families, it seems that too many of us sort of skate on the surface of our relationships. Take a chance. Break the ice. Dive deep. You might be surprised at the richness you'll discover.
Take one relationship farther before time passes you by.
"But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
We've all been there — failed or fallen in both big and small ways. What other men in your life do you turn to when the going gets tough? Who knows you well enough to prop you up and offer just the right pep talk? With whom might you begin to build such a relationship? A co-worker? A neighbor? A guy at church? An uncle or grandpa? Who in your life do you think you might be able to laugh with, cry with, and trust with your confidences? It takes time, effort, and intentionality to build such a friendship, so go for it. Initiate, engage, set it up — prioritize it right up there with faith, family, and job. It's too important to put off any longer.
For many of us, the biggest challenge might be just mustering the courage to put ourselves out there. It feels risky. Too many insecurities stand in the way. But with God's help, you can do this. I won't say it's easy, but I will say it's worth it.
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.