I’ve gone through most of my life with a handful of close friends who have been there off and on throughout the years. It’s never been their fault during the “off” times; I’ve traveled, fallen in to dark places with addiction and pride, reinvented myself more than once and come full circle again. Through every step of my journey I’ve tried to bare the weight of it all on my shoulders, I rarely let others come along side to help carry the burden. Once my wife and I began having children I realized the need to invest myself in to being a part of a community of like minded people and start to develop a support system. I can’t do this alone, and that’s perfectly normal.
The introvert in me really doesn’t like “meeting new people”, at least that’s the excuse I keep telling myself. I found it hard to begin reaching out to other men fearing rejection and humiliation so I did what anybody would do when their social development years were spent in AOL Instant Messenger: I looked online. On the internet I could be myself. I never had to pretend to be someone in hopes to fit in with the crowd and I could find like-minded people who would accept me at face value. More recently I’ve found community (and several close friendships) on Twitter and Facebook dad groups.
Though the social media/online side of community is fantastic and fit’s in to whatever “schedule” I want it is no replacement for face-to-face conversations. There is something about being in the presence of another man that changes the way I think and act. Maybe it’s a boost in testosterone but I feel more alive, more connected. It’s much harder for me to find the time to get together with a friend, especially so if they have kids as well but it’s time we need to free up. Whether it’s playing video games, chatting over a beer, hunting, fishing or sharing a meal it’s vital for us to put it out there and connect with a brother.