God made us for relationships. Yet many men- many men- will find meaningful friendships hard to build and sustain. We end up isolated and miss the benefits of close relationships with other men. If that isn’t you, great. But for many men, friendships are like doing a rubiks cube- challenging, intimidating and a little unnatural.
Let me mention three reasons for our difficulty in building lasting friendships.
1. We tend to stay superficial. We talk about sports or the weather or Duck Dynasty, but it is hard for us to get much deeper. We fear the vulnerability that comes with that. Will I appear weak if I admit a fault or a need? So, we keep at the surface where it is safe.
May I suggest something to you? Find someone you trust and talk about your marriage, your goals and your problems. Get in a Sunday School class, a men’s group or call up an old friend you trust and find our more about their life and tell a little about yours. Scary stuff, I know. But well worth it.
2. We tend to focus on tasks and not people. I have a job to do and I will do it and then move on to the next job. But sometimes that means we forget about connecting with others along the way. You have probably lost touch with some old friend because you never call them. They called you. Then they called you less frequently. Then they stopped calling. You never called them because you were focused on the next task. Maybe people need to be on your “to do list”.
Building friendships takes some work and intentionality. Focus. Focus on people and not just tasks and you will have a more fulfilling life.
3. We tend to be self focused. If every conversation ends up about you, you probably won’t keep friends. If every story turns to your story, you probably won’t keep friends. If the listener is always them and not you, you probably won’t keep friends.
If your friends know all about you and you know little about them, they probably won’t remain friends long. At least they won’t stay close. Friendship is a two-way street. One way doesn’t work. Friendships dissolve. Ask some questions and then listen. Ask some more questions and listen some more.
Listen men, you need some close male friends. And, coincidentally, other men need your friendship. Go out on a limb, take a risk, do something daring. Be a friend. It is well worth it.