Humans were designed to live life in relationship with others. It’s intrinsic within us.
We need community, we need interaction. We crave the encouragement, accountability and support that comes with strong relationships- especially meaningful friendships with other men.
Unfortunately, we live in an age of isolation. Growth in technology has our heads down, looking at our phone, and earbuds in. Culture has communicated that success, money and power comes from rugged individualism.
We celebrate one’s ability to stand alone.
We’re so averse to revealing that we need other people that we had to create the silly word “bromance” to describe this insane idea of actually being friends with other men. We’re scared of being called weak, or needy or clingy when we desire that companionship and camaraderie.
Here’s the truth: in this age of individualism and isolation, one of the most impactful thing a man can do is work to build deep friendships with other men. I would argue that what humble success or effectiveness I’ve had in this world can be in large part attributed to my friends, my crew.
And hey, let’s be real here- when I hang out when my fellas, we’re not just sitting in a circle holding hands and singing kumbaya.
We adventure together, we get in trouble, we laugh and play poker till 2am in the morning. We drink whiskey around fire pits, watch football and talk about the movies we thought were awesome. We know each other’s strengths and weakness, our goals and our fears in life.
We ask good questions and poke fun at each other, we cook dinners together and go camping and challenge each other to become better men.
We do life together.
That’s the goal- to do this thing called life with other people. To experience it and celebrate it together.
" That’s the goal- to do this thing called life with other people. To experience it and celebrate it together. "
Want a go to guide on how to build those relationships and how to connect with people? Check out my post on 5 ways to instantly connect with anybody.
All that said, I came up with 4 reasons I think men need relationships with other men. Read em’ and consider- are these things present in my life and my friendships?
We were made to compete. Whether it’s on a sports field, in business, or in small ways in everyday life, the desire to compete and win is something that drives most males.
Unfortunately, that desire has, especially in recent decades, been frowned upon by modern culture. My generation grew up in the “participation trophy” age where we’re told that we shouldn’t value winning. Of course winning shouldn’t be the only thing we value, but we should work to be the best. And we should work to be the best because even if don’t get there, we’re still better than we were yesterday.
So many men graduate college, get their first corporate job and sit in that grey cubicle for 8 hours a day. They gain weight, lose motivation, and all competitive edges within them are dulled. They don’t fight to get better, they just survive.
Having some healthy competition within your friend group can wake yourself up.
I do my best to surround myself with high performing friends who want to kill it in life. On the days where I’m feeling lazy or complacent, I’ll often look at my buds and see their success and say, “Well I don’t wanna be the loser in the group”. That alone can get me off the couch and re-motivate me to get moving. Healthy competition among a group of driven friends can be a beautiful thing.
We all have blind spots. We’re all weak in areas that we can’t see. Life gets a whole lot easier when you accept that fact and live accordingly. Pursue relationships where you can be vulnerable enough to confess the areas you’re weak. Be humble enough to listen when your buds tell you, “Dude, you’re being an idiot. Stop it.”
If they’re good friends, they’re looking out for you and want the best for you. They can see the blind spots that you can’t. If you’re willing to be accountable to other men, you’ll see your personal success and maturity grow at a rapid rate.
3. Adventuring together
This article gets a bit serious at times, but at the end of the day there’s no need to overcomplicate it: go have fun with your friends. Shake things up. Do something just because. Get into some trouble. Have stories to tell.
Shared experiences make life rich. Probably my favorite part of my week is surfing with my buddies early in the morning. We chat about life as we relax in the water, and I have the added bonus of having somebody to pull me out of the water when I inevitably have a near drowning experience when the waves are too big.
Last summer my crew and I planned a trip to the desert, and we spontaneously decided to go on a long run in the 100+ degree midday heat. Don’t ask me why. We ran through the desert, we almost died, we laughed when one of us tripped over a rock, and we fought to not be the guy in the back of the group. We decided to sprint the last 100 yards back to our rented house and when we arrived, we almost passed out. Why did we do that? I dunno. Why not? It’s a story we’re still telling to this day.
This year, there’s been talk of our crew trying to climb Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the U.S. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
4. Mastermind Sessions
I never really know why we call it a “mastermind”. I think it just makes us feel cool. It’s really just a group of guys getting together at a specific time to talk about their goals. But let’s stick with “mastermind”.
I had a "mastermind session” with some buddies in January to discuss my goals for this year. We talked about what I wanted everything in my life to look like: my relationships, my career, my health, my finances and other areas of personal growth. We created concrete goals, action steps and benchmarks to measure my progress. Every month we have a standing meeting to discuss how we’re progressing on our goals.
The goal of a session like this is to get together with like-minded people, and put your collective brain power together to create something amazing for your life. Discuss big visions, new ideas and how to attack your dreams in out-of-the-box ways. Exactly how to conduct these sessions, and the specifics of effective goal setting is a separate post all together, but just know that there’s value in having friends you can do this with.
Schedule a few hours (or a whole day or even a weekend) to get the whiteboard out, crack open the cans of Red Bull and lock the doors until you come out with some game-changing ideas. Make a rule that no idea is too big or too crazy to discuss.