Remember way back when…when you were part of a tight-knit group of guy friends in high school? Or maybe it was a team you played on or a club you were in? Perhaps it was the boy scouts or some other organization? Point is, you were part of something with a bunch of other boys and you probably all wore the same hat to show you belonged. Remember how cool that felt?
Fast forward to today. Now you’re more of a Lone Ranger or is it Alone Ranger? You may still wear a hat, but you don’t really play for the Braves or the Falcons now do you? A lot of men, once they get past college and start working hard to make it, and begin taking on the responsibilities of marriage and family, are left with little time to belong to that group of guys like the old days. Society certainly doesn’t say we should make time for that. Plus, men’s regularly getting together to bond isn’t talked about much, other than Sunday football or a drunken Vegas weekend (which certainly has it’s merits!).
Are you seeing similarities to your life here? I talk to Atlanta men all the time who express this – this lack of male interaction outside of work. And after years of this, the deficit becomes a major hole in one’s life, whether we realize it or not, and it begins to have negative effects with feelings of isolation, lack of motivation and even depression.
Out of curiosity, I looked at Craigslist Atlanta under the category of Groups to see what it had for Men. I ran through the first one hundred postings and saw a lot of women’s groups, moneymaking groups, fitness and martial arts classes, singles, weight-loss, and others. No mention of a men’s group. That’s not to say they don’t exist, there are some good ones out there, I know I’m in one, but this shows it’s certainly not front and center. And here’s the deal…men need other men. The camaraderie we felt in high school with our group of dudes is still needed, regardless of age. Yes, we can draw strength from our women, but we need time with other men that we trust as well. It’s how we learn to be men, get support and make each other better. It’s how we stay strong for our women.
Just like the hunting or war parties of history, men need time with other men, so don’t deny yourself this. Make it a goal to build your man tribe again, whether it’s through your church, a secular group or other means. It will take work, you may get resistance at first from the women in your life, but it’s one of the most important things you can do as man today. Get back to wearing a hat that shows you have your own team.