More and more men are hiding away and numbing themselves into complacency. They turn to pornography, alcohol, drugs, and other destructive behaviors. But why?
Frankly, it’s because they lack support.
They need a friend.
A true friend.
The Problem Is Real
Boys are taught from an early age that feelings aren’t “manly.”
Stop crying. Don’t be such a baby. Suck it up. Get over it. Be a man!
Showing the tiniest emotion, they are teased, laughed at, and mocked.
On the other extreme are those who lash out in anger, violence, and abuse. And that’s not OK either.
So what is a man to do?
Humans are emotional creatures. We all experience sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment, and embarrassment. There are over 4,000 uniquely identified emotions.
That’s where a real friend comes in. Friends don’t tease, laugh at, or mock. They don’t say to suck it up.
They offer an ear to listen. They offer a hand to help. They offer a mind to brainstorm. They offer an arm to comfort.
They offer a heart to love.
Sometimes a man just needs a man to be a friend.
How to Spot
So how do you spot a man in need of a friend? There are three critical signs to look for:
The majority of their time is spent at work. I’m not just talking about the typical work day. They stay late, maybe even go in early. They bring their work home. Work almost consumes their life. Nearly all of their extra energy is devoted to work and work-related activities. They are actually drowning in emotions and the only way they can deal with it is to distract themselves with constant work.
If there is any “home” time, it is spent primarily isolating themselves from their family. They will spend a majority of their free time watching TV or playing games (usually single-player or online). Just because family may be sitting on the couch with them, it doesn’t mean they’re actually present with the family – they’ve emotionally checkout out. What little time they spend with their family is either emotionally neutral (because they are trying not to feel), or involves sudden bursts of anger or rage (because their bottled emotions suddenly explode). Family triggers feelings, so that’s why they are trying to isolate from them. They may even make the excuse that they don’t want to blow up or get angry, so they leave to cool off.
At social gatherings, they don’t talk much, if at all. They may seem to be the “great listener” because they won’t say anything back. Or they stick to safe, non-emotional topics like weather and work. If you ask them how they’re doing, they’ll say “fine” and change the subject or excuse themselves because they don’t want to talk about it. Their emotions make them feel exposed and vulnerable, so they compensate by trying to avoid any attention at all.
What to Do
Now, what do you do about it?
1. REACH OUT
Start with a simple text. Just let them know you are thinking about them. You see them. You would like to sit down and chat sometime. Don’t be generic or vague. Try to get an actual time on the calendar when you’ll go have a cup of hot chocolate or something together and have a few minutes to have a real conversation.
When you sit down together, share with them that you’d like to get to know them better and that you care about them. This will give you a way to introduce the topic of friendships, and you can share what you think about this article. If you can relate to any of the signs or feelings I’ve shared here, be open and share them. Keep in mind though, this shouldn’t be a conversation all about you. Be brief and concise in what you share. Don’t go into a lot of detail. That will come later. You’re just introducing the topic to get to the next step.
Have they ever felt this way? Start to peel away at the layers of fortifications they’ve built up around their heart. Dig, but don’t pry. It may seem weird to be a couple of guys talking about feelings, but this is the foundation of true connections and true friendships. Whenever they share something you can relate to or have felt similarly, feel free to discuss a little more. It’s amazing how similar our lives
My hope is that you can be that friend to someone. My hope is that you find that friend for yourself.
I hope men are free to FEEL again.
When your heart is free to feel, the world opens up its possibilities to you.
Walk the Path with a Friend
Opening your heart doesn’t come naturally to most men. It may even require breaking another male stereotype: asking for help. There are steps you can take, systems that work. You’re not alone on this journey. Join the movement. Schedule a free consultation today.