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Male Bonding, After All These Years

A few weekends ago, my friends and I had our fantasy football draft. The last couple of years we have done a “live draft” where we all get together in the same room and pick our players. After the draft was over, the guys stuck around for some burgers and adult beverages. But best of all, they stuck around for stories.

After a long night, we all went out to breakfast the next morning, and..more stories. My dad called later that morning to see how the draft went. He asked, “Who all was there?” I told him, Don, Chad, Sam, and all the other usual guys. Dad then commented, “It’s great that you guys can still get together after all these years.”

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that he was EXACTLY RIGHT (once again, dad ALWAYS seems to be right…geesh). You see, I have known these guys since I was just a little fella. Yet, some 30-odd years later, we all still enjoy each other’s company. As much as our lives are different these days, WE, as individuals on the inside, are still the same little boys who traded baseball cards, raced cars around my parent’s driveway, and started fires in my parent’s back yard. Without getting too sentimental here (after all, I don’t want to lose my reputation for writing absolutely hilarious blogs), GOOD, TRUE, friends are a blessing and something we should cherish. 

Growing up in a small, rural community, you really get the opportunity to know most everyone around you–you know their parents and who are their cousins and other extended family members. Although some folks will discount the value of these relationships, I am one who chooses to embrace it. My graduating class had something like 131 people in it. This gave you the opportunity (should you choose) to know almost every one of your classmates. Sure there were clicks and whatnot, but you knew (or knew of) most of your classmates.

After my class had its 20 year reunion, several of us went back to classmate’s house for some socializing and fellowship. It was great! No clicks. No judging. It was just good old-fashioned “hanging out.” I decided, after that, why wait for another five years for everyone to get together? We should do this more often. Since then, I have tried to host “mini-reunions” every three or four months.  Nothing fancy or formal. Just a collection of life-long pals getting together for some food, drinks, and stories (with some occasional live entertainment).

These little get togethers have been a blast. Why? GOOD. FRIENDS.  One asked, “Why do you still hang out with those guys? You have nothing in common with them. Can you not get out of the past?”  The past? Really? My (pointed) response to him was, “These are people who shaped me into who I am today. Without them and the experiences we had, I would not be this person. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, we’ve been in a boatload of trouble together, and most of all, we’ve grown together.” I followed this by a few other choice words to my point. In the end, I think he got the message loud and clear as to why I enjoy my “old” friends.

I could go on and on about how I value my TRUE friendships. With the advent of Facebook, it has been a blast re-connecting and re-establishing (or in some cases, starting new) friendships with those we grew up with. My message to you is this: Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time. If nothing more, just to say hello. I’m just betting, at the end of the day, you will end up with a little smile on your face. And your long, lost friend, well, they just might, too.

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[author_info]About the Author

Robb J. is one of our regular Parenting and Man Cave contributors who is stuck somewhere in the middle of a paradigm shift and the status quo. He is a  41-year-old single dad who likes swimming in the deep end without the use of floaties. He raises two daughters–a teen and a preteen. He would appreciate a moment of silence for that. [/author_info][/author]

Image: Nicholas Tarling

Stuck somewhere in the middle of a paradigm shift and the status quo, Robb J. is a 41-year-old, single dad who likes swimming in the deep end without the use of floaties. Born and raised in small community in central Indiana (and living in the fame and popularity shadow of brunette cheerleaders who were a year older), he lives his life with small town values, while never taking himself or life’s daily dilemmas too serious.

1 Comment

  1. Christin

    September 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Great post Robb! Maintaining friendships is very important, I have a few of my own. My husband is planning a huge 50th birthday party next spring with all of his friends from High School! They try to reunite about once a year and each year it is like no time has ever passed.

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