Navigating Male Friendships

It isn’t for the faint of heart, friendship. True friendship! As I age, it becomes clearer and clearer that “time” becomes important. As a dad of three kids moving into adulthood, I find myself thinking the old cliché, “Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I was changing diapers!”

But I feel like time really does sail past.

For most, family is what consumes the majority of our time and where we are committed to spending most of our time. After family and work, we pour what we have left into our friends. This is where it gets tricky. Because time becomes more precious the older I get, the relationships I devout that time to become incredibly important. There is a devotion and dedication that happens with the friends I spend time with.

For me, there has to be value in return.

That may sound arrogant to some, but time becomes too precious and valuable not to consider the value factor. That’s not to say that I don’t have several people I would call friends; I am lucky and grateful for all the people in my life I consider friends. But would I spend a four-day weekend fishing with all of them? Probably not!

Let’s face it, there are more people in the world today than ever before. People come and go in our lives at an incredible pace. Depending on your job, that pace could be exponentially higher. I don’t know how salespeople keep track. But salesmen have reason to build relationships with more people because of their needs…to make a living. There is a purpose for having so many people in their lives.

But once outside of the working framework, how do we navigate the time we pour into the different relationships in our lives? And as we get older, where do we find the emotional bandwidth and energy to continue to grow the different relationships in our lives?

I mean, with the number of times I feel inept as a parent and husband, I could spend every waking hour trying to be better. There is a lot of room for improvement. But as a male who is trying to break the age old tenets of “what it means to be a man,” these questions that keep popping up drive me to find answers in order to develop the kinds of relationships with my male friends that will help me to continue to grow my character.

This is where the Guys Fishing Weekend concept makes its mark. It isn’t designed to be a weekend getaway with just anyone. It is a commitment of valuable time to spend with those people in my life who return value into my world because the time we sacrifice on this weekend encompasses so much.

These friends are safe! They listen to my thoughts. They challenge my thinking. They encourage me. They call me on my bullshit.

There are deep conversations and hilarious jokes with uproarious laughter. There are heartwarming, life changing learned conversations that happen on the river banks. This is all incredibly good shit that only valuable friendships can bring; valuable friendships like these promote my growth. And to have this, to be able to engage in this kind of friendship, takes devotion, dedication and will so that each year brings something new.

I am happily married, and my wife is definitely the “better half.” In my experience, managing my relationship with her seems more natural, as my role is more defined. However, managing the friendships with my fellow dudes takes more navigational work because of the lack of defined roles. And I don’t always get it right. There are times I am frustrated with my friends, and I know they are frustrated with me. But like in any relationship, we remain dedicated to each other because we bring value to each other.

For 27 years now, I haven’t missed one GFW. And that’s all because of the value in these friendships with these “boys.” It’s worth the work we put into the relationship. And believe me, It’s work…the kind of work I wish I got paid for.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top