For a little more than a year, I have gathered virtually with many of the men on this distribution list for meaningful connection. Some weeks, I connect with you multiple times: in big groups, small groups and one on one. I have grown through these interactions and consider many of you dear friends.
Over roughly this same year, almost every Thursday, I have met virtually with another community circle. Each week, there are 8-12 folks who assemble to explore a meaningful topic. About 90% of the time, I am the only man in circle with Sarah-Bess, Krissy, Karen, Pamela, Jenny, Ish, Deanne, Christine and others. We share. We laugh. We cry. I have grown through these interactions. And on those weeks when I can’t be in circle with them, I feel the absence.
Why do I tell you this story? Well, the MenLiving vision is to live in a more harmonious world by deepening the connections amongst men. Love it, but I am not sure I can truly live in harmony as a man as a human unless I also deepen my connections with women.
In a 2017 interview, Warren Buffett said “one of the reasons for my success was that I was only competing with half of the population, men.” It is certainly a different context, but I often think about this quote in how I am living my life. If I relegate my friendships to just men, won’t I be missing out on the richness that can come from relationships with half the population? Some may suggest it’s wrong to be in my Thursday “women’s” circle or goofy because I am the only man. I find that position confounding. If I just stuck with “my kind,” I would miss out on interacting with funny, smart, creative, contemplative human beings. Talk about goofy! What a loss.
You might say it’s complicated. When men and women are together, shit happens. It’s nature. I get it. I would suggest there is something else going on with me if I did not pursue these relationships for fear that friendship would evolve to something else. My spouse of 28 years is certainly a deep and rewarding friendship with a woman, but I find it difficult to grow if “restricted” to this one relationship.
A couple of days ago, I asked a man why he was joining a MenLiving event for the first time. He answered that he was seeking opportunities to grow and learn to be his fully authentic self. Yup…we can help with that, but can he get there fully by only sitting with half the population?
Any comments? Do you have female friends (or male friends if you are female reading this)? If don’t and you are interesting in checking out the Thursday Circle, let me know and I will certainly get you connected.