There’s a misconception that solid, supportive friendships are the domain of women, and that men are more individualistic creatures with less interest in connecting with other guys. Building those friendships amongst men may not come naturally because we’ve been shown a model of masculinity that keeps us separate from each other. Let’s update that restrictive model on male friendship and embrace something else: being a modern gentleman. As a gentleman you can build friendships with other guys that are free of tension, where you have each other’s backs, and where you contribute to each other’s lives in phenomenal ways.
Here are three tips on how you can do just that…
Tip #1: Be You
This has to be the first step. If you want to find friendships that are good for you, healthy and fun, you have to realize that you can’t have any of that while pretending to like things you don’t like or agreeing to do things you’re not that into. Whenever you project an image of who you are just to fit in, you limit yourself and stay cut off from the real, awesome, authentic gentleman that you are — and you don’t give anyone else a chance to truly know you, either.
I recommend you drop the mask of whatever image you’re trying to project — whether you’re playing the role of one of the guys, or trying to appear more successful, or tough, or great with women, or admired by all. You don’t have to try, you just have to be. In fact, that’s the signature of a gentleman. When you accept and like yourself exactly as you are, life is so much easier and lighter — and friendships are too.
Tip #2: Relax and let your barriers down
A lot of guys have this idea that if we show our real selves, including our flaws, our doubts, and our fears, we’ll put ourselves in a weaker position somehow. The ironic truth is that when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we’re actually at our most powerful. Vulnerability is about being the you and being totally cool with that.
In letting our barriers down, we become truly limitless. This is because we’ve realized that nothing is more powerful than we are, and that we have nothing to be afraid of. We become open books, and that’s when the people who are going to contribute to our lives show up.
Tip #3: View situations from a calm & neutral place
Some guys can get very caveman-esque around each other, especially when there’s female attention to fight for — and also when there isn’t! When they’re together in groups, a lot of men just want to be the loudest, or the funniest, or the bravest, or the strongest…They want to be the alpha.
Alpha males give off heaps of tension because they’re always in fight mode. But just because they are, doesn’t mean that you have to be. As a gentleman, you can distill any male competitiveness you sense by not labeling the person or the behavior as bad, and by staying neutral about it. In fact, you can do this with any arguments or conflicts you encounter. Rather than going into resistance or reaction, which only ever charges up a situation, take a moment and view the situation from a totally calm and neutral place by thinking this:
Interesting point of view. I have this point of view.
Personally, I find just saying that in my head brings me the clarity to know whether or not a situation needs more of my attention. Most of the time, it doesn’t! And there’s never any drama or tension in my world or in my friendships.
As a gentleman, you have the capacity to create the space where friendships with other guys can flourish if you choose to — so be you, find your tribe, and enjoy their company on this joyous ride we call life.
P.S. For more tools and tips on friendships with men, please check out my book called Return of the Gentleman!
It’s a start of a different possibility that we as men – and as women – can choose if we are willing to give up the stereotypes of men, and go beyond the points of views of this reality.
P.S.S. And for the full article in Aspiring Gentleman, please check it out here.