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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

A Guy's Guy is a Friend's Friend

Robert Manni - Friday, April 11, 2014


Friendship is at the heart of being a Guy’s Guy. 

The frenetic pace of the modern life can get in the way of maintaining long-term friendships. The world has gotten smaller and as a result we spend so much of our time working or managing our complicated lives that we sometimes forget about the importance of having real friends. We make friends throughout life—in grammar school, high school, college, at work and through meeting friends of friends. Our bonds grow deeper with some of them than with our siblings, while many disappear like ships passing in the night. We grow out others of like old sweaters. Friends get married, start families and move away. And as our lives and values change, some old buddies may no longer fit our lifestyle. Throughout it all there are a few individuals who withstand the test of time and circumstance and remain our friends. It’s important to protect and respect these precious connections as they become more rare over the passage of time. 

Most of the Guy’s Guys that I know can count their real friends on their fingers. I fall into this category. Here are a few thoughts about the importance of friendship and how to manage the challenges of making and maintaining friendships throughout life.

You'll have to make an effort to maintain your friendships.

All but a few friendships will fade away off over time. This is not a bad thing. It’s just a function of the speed of modern life. Time flies and before you know it you’re hearing abut former classmates who have passed on. It’s called life, amigo, so don’t sweat it. And if your friendships are important to you, sometimes you’ll have to be the one who reaches out. Let’s face it; people are so busy that many of them see life through a “out of sight, out of mind” filter. It’s understandable.

If I like someone and we haven't connected in the past year, more often than not, I pick up the phone or shoot them an email or a text. More often that not, I get a response, Because I enjoyed a positive high school experience, I made sure to attend another high school reunion. It would have been easy not to go. But it was great seeing so many good people that played a role in my early life. For one night, it was like nothing had changed, regardless of who now had the big money or powerful job.

You'll outgrow some of your old friends.

Don’t take this as a put down of your old chums. It just means that over time and through experience, your values and lifestyle evolves. You may have moved away from the town where you grew up and the cast of characters that you ran with back in the day.  So pounding beers at the local pub may not be as appealing as it had been years ago. That’s okay. You can still cherish the time shared with your old buddies. And if you do run into them, why not have some fun? Never look down on your old town. Whether you like it or not, you are a product of the environment and community where you grew up. Respect.

You are never too old for making new friends.

Have you ever thought about your inner circle of friends and how they came about? When I asked myself that recently I realized that more half of my current friends were not from my high school or college years. That reminded to keep meeting new people. As quickly as our old acquaintances fall away, new people who are more in line with our current energy replace them.  I like that.  And it in no way undermines our valuation or appreciation of those former friends.

Don’t poach from your friends.

We’ve all had a crush on our buddy’s girl or wanted to get it on with his sister, but think twice before you do something that yields short-term benefits at the risk of losing a long-term friendship. Of course every situation is different, but you get the picture. Right, amigo? 

A friend in need.

Being a good friend is easy when everything is going fine. But this is rarely the case. We all run into bumps on the road of life, whether it’s illness, job loss or the passing of family or a friend. That’s why friendship is so important. Part of the responsibility of being a good friend is checking in on your buddies when they are up and more importantly when they are down. I lost a good friend a few years ago and was dismayed at how so few of his many friends showed up to visit him when he was ailing. Ask yourself how many times you’ve reached out and called someone you know who is sick or out of work, just to chat for a few minutes and show your support? If you’re a real Guy’s Guy, you are also your brother’s keeper. 

Are you a good friend?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is my old friend, Bill James; we’ve maintained a friendship that began in Little League, throughout school and over the course of our careers. We have never argued and or not had a great time when we get together.

 

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