Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Man to Man ~ A conversation about friendships

Long-term, meaningful relationships with other men are a strong endorsement of manhood.

The more I learn about men and relationships men have or don't have,  the more I am amazed at how Society has totally messed it up. We are not allowed to have those long-term, meaningful relationships, man to man,  that so many of us need and desperately want. I am not talking about the buddies we hang out with in bars or watch the super bowl with or smile at in church,  I am talking about relationships with men that are deep and meaningful.  Friendships where we can cry if we need to or just vent freely the deep struggles we are having with out feeling we are not less then what we are.   

We are allowed to have superficial friendships that are totally devoid of transparency and intimacy.  I must tell you that when I say intimacy I am not referring to sex.  Intimacy in friendships to me means open honest transparent relationships that can include healthy touch.  Healthy touch could be hugs, holding, holding hands, and  experiencing touch other then a slap on the back or a high five.  

Most men have the need of expressing deeper feelings other then the weather or sports talk. We are not allowed to be sensitive or emotional. When we do we are thought to not be a man's man in a man's world.  We are called many other things and struggle to feel secure in a world where that kind of behavior is not allowed or understood.  

From a personal side, from a very young age I struggled with this.  I preferred not playing sports.  I liked music and art and writing poetry.  I was not accepted.  Times have changed a lot, men are allowed to like music, write poetry, and not even like sports.  On the other side, I was emotional, sensitive, touchy, and wanted to be  transparent. I was shunned and abused.  In that regard times have not changed much.  We are not really allowed to be emotional, sensitive, or touchy. When we are, look out.  We are instantly branded and labeled.  

So we hide behind our macho masks and pretend to be tough and mean.  We spit, cuss, and beat our chests, while on the inside we would just once in a while like to be understood and appreciated for not being what everyone thinks we should be and especially with another man.  

I have learned to be a man that does not worry much about what other men think.  In saying that, it has been a process.  For many years I did mind and I did my best to be different.  I found the greatest peace was when I owned up to the fact that I could be me.  Yes I am strong, confident, and manly, but I am also tender, sensitive, and huggable. 

In my journey I have found that there are many men who want to same, but have no idea how to go about it. Many live in fear, so much so  they stay behind the walls and deprive themselves of wonderful meaningful deep intimate relationships with other men.

So the question might be, Just how do I create relationships like that?  Good question, for me it was just learning to be open and not being afraid to approach other men, especially when I feel a connection with them.  You know the feeling.  You meet someone and instantly you feel connected with them, like you have been friends for a long time.  That feeling alone can often times scare a man.

Don't be fearful. Chances are the other man is feeling the same connection with you, but is in the same place.  I have to say that every time I have followed that feeling I have ended up with a great friend.   And often times I have had to be the teacher and help them get over the fear factor of having a more meaningful deep friendship.  

I hug all my friends,  express to them often how much I appreciate them and I open up and share with them.  There are just things that only men can understand and I seek understanding from them.  

I have found that all men are on the same journey.  We all want to be better and whether or not we will admit it we want more out of our friendships.  

For me being a real man is being able to create meaningful intimate transparent relationships with other men.  Take a risk.  It has been the greatest thing I have ever done. 

And truth be known men,  when you learn how to have these kind of relationships with men in improves your relationships with the women in your lives. 

There is a lot of criticism with about men in the early days. From their actions many assumptions are made.  The letters they wrote to each other were like love letters, filled with kind words and loving thoughts.  They also slept in the same bed when traveling, held hands, and were very affectionate to each other.   How about this assumption,  They were friends that understood just how to be a good  friend.  They were comfortable enough with who they were to be a good friend.  I love the passionate letters they wrote to each other,  I love affection they displayed to each other in public.  I love those stories and have decided I want to be that kind of man. 

Join me men everywhere.  Let's create the kind of friendships we want and not let the world dictate to us how to be a friend.  Take a chance.  Enjoy the journey.

Friend of Men Everywhere