“There are no successful Lone Ranger dads,” said Gregory W. Slayton. “You need the support of friends and [other male] role models from whom you can learn.” It has been said that men would rather do life shoulder to shoulder than face to face. Their relationships never develop much depth. We need different types of men to keep our lives balanced.
A 2019 study of 2,000 U.S. adults found that the average number of lifelong friends is three, 45 percent said they would make new friends if there were more opportunities, and the average American has not made a new friend in five years. Given our commitments to our families, work, and other primary obligations, time for friends can be drastically limited. We need to connect intentionally with these 10 different types of men.
1. Mentor (Clare)
We need mentors in whom to confide safely—men who have more “mileage” and life experiences. Clare mentored me by sharing his everyday experiences and life wisdom in a way that was relevant to me.
2. Encourager (Ardo)
Encouragers are important because they offer support when we need it most. I met Ardo around 2010. He is the type of guy I can call anytime when I am down. He always has something to say that lifts me up.
3. Mentee (Will)
Mentoring others allows us the opportunity to pour our life experiences into the next generation of men. To say it bluntly, Will was a hot mess when we met. I have walked with him through some of his greatest struggles. I hope he knows I am always here for him when he needs it.
4. Trainer (“Big E”)
Whether in the gym or elsewhere, we all need some sort of trainer who will help us hit our goals. Physically, Big E is a rock. When he and I worked out together, I lifted more weight and more intensely.
5. Influencer (John)
Someone who influences you helps you become better than you may be able to become on your own. John is my manager, but he also is a leader. He listens to our staff and gives us the freedom to grow individually and corporately.Addressing serious life issues sooner rather than later can prevent long-term distress.
6. Counselor (Glenn)
Counselors provide safe places for us to talk through our problems. Addressing serious life issues sooner rather than later can prevent long-term distress. Glenn provides me with wise counsel. Our conversations can range from light and upbeat to heavy and complex.
7. The Guy Who Won’t Sugar-Coat (Tim)
Blunt truth or “tough love” may lead us to mature quicker and more thoroughly. Tim always told me what I needed, not what I wanted to hear. His words then have resonated deep into my heart and have helped keep me on the straight and narrow path many times over.
8. Role Model (Scott)
Role models inspire us to better ourselves and give us something to shoot for. Scott took me under his wing when I was a struggling new father. He introduced me to many more like-minded men—men who set a standard for me early in my journey as to what a husband, father, and employee should look like.
9. New Friend (Eric)
New friends provide fresh perspectives for our lives. Eric and I have been coworkers for over three years. We share similarities as working dads with complicated home lives. Our friendship continues to grow as we share much needed “guy time” together, most of the time on the golf course.
10. Old Friend (Dan)
These men establish a foundation and stability in your life that cannot be obtained any other way. There are best friends and then there are men like Dan. In 26 years of knowing each other, Dan has stuck with me through everything from my best moments to my darkest moments. He has always been loyal to our friendship, even when I wasn’t. More than any other man, Dan has influenced me in who I am today.
Sound off: How are you doing when it comes to authentic male relationships in your life?