Being A Better Friend

When did making friends become so difficult?

As boys, we find shared interests in the simplest of things, like skipping rocks on a pond or making silly drawings. You just become friends with the kid who likes what you like. 

Then we reach puberty and things change. Friends join different groups, mainly because of a cool kid or shared activities. Our friends from elementary school go different routes than us.

In college, shared interests and assigned proximity tend to define the likelihood of a friendship. Dorm mates, and frat brothers, are all likely to stay friends for the rest of their lives.

In all those instances, we don’t lose friends, we just swap friends. A friend from second grade goes away and a teammate from high school baseball takes his place.

But when we reach adulthood, it seems like we start to lose friends. No replacements.

And we get more awkward and protective of meeting new friends.

Part of the issue is that men feel like they have to focus on family, instead of friends, and that is true to an extent. But abandoning friendships is tantamount to abandoning your childhood, even if your friends aren’t from your childhood. Friendship goes with boyhood, and leaving that behind leads to isolation and a lack of understanding of why you feel so alone, even with kids and a wife.

How do you keep your friendships healthy?

It takes less than you would assume.


The first step in mending a friendship or renewing it is honestly determining if it is worth the effort. Not everyone will be willing to give as much as they get. Sporadic text messages and occasional meet-ups do not a friendship make. So before you put in the energy to renew a brotherly bond with your friends, make sure you won’t be left feeling short-changed.

Some friends remain that way out of comfort. You were friends, so you might as well stay friends. But is that what you are looking for in your life? Is someone who phones it in worth the time away from your family?

Think hard about the friendship and the man you call a friend. 

Make Time

Now that you have decided who has made the cut, it’s time to make time.

We have more time in our daily lives than we think we do. Unfortunately, we let other tasks and distractions encroach upon our available time without even realizing it. So, if you think you don’t have time to devote to a worthy friend, do a short time audit of your daily life. This is where you will find the things that soak up all of your available time.

In reality, we don’t have to devote an inordinate amount of time to maintaining our friendships. We just need the time that we do use, to be meaningful. A morning text to your bro to let them know that you appreciate them for anything will make a world of difference in how he may see the friendship. 

However, what’s the point of a friendship if you don’t devote at least some significant time toward an adventure with your boys? That doesn’t mean you have to backpack the length of the Pacific Coast Trail. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hike the PCT, either.

Men need adventure. They need a challenge. Only you can determine if you need a months-long challenge or a weekend DIY project with your buddy. Shared effort builds bonds, so make sure you devote time to doing that with your friends.

Talk About It

Men tend to be mute about the things in their lives that are bothering them. A study once found that some of the reluctance to talk can be due to body positioning. Sitting face to face seems confrontational so men are less likely to sit down and dig deep into their inner struggles over a cup of coffee, sitting face to face. Instead, men tend to open up more when they are in angular positions to each other.

For example, two men working over the engine of a project car are not face to face. They are side by side, typically. Add in the fact that there is another object to focus on, and men tend to open up more. Making time for your friends and being there to listen when they need it, is the greatest gift of friendship you can offer.

Sometimes we just need to blow off some steam. Having a buddy who will allow us to do that while banging knuckles on wrenches, is a treasure that many men just don’t have these days.

Men these days are facing challenges and shifts in culture that our fathers or even their fathers didn’t face. Maintaining our friendships with our trusted advisors in this life is key to navigating the challenges we face, without losing our way.

Call a friend today and schedule some time with them. Be the friend that they have been looking for.

45100cookie-checkBeing A Better Friend

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