The response to the film continues to amaze me. Men are quite ready to grow and change in their male relationships – they tell me stories all the time of steps they are taking to improve their male relationships. Men contact me and want to talk about their friendships and how they are developing relationships with men that they never thought possible and their amazement of how important this issue of quality male relationship is for them. Men in churches, colleges and clinics contact me and are using the film “Five Friends” to teach, create dialogues between men and help men become challenged about their behaviors in life through men’s groups or male therapy groups.
I truly enjoy the men who tell us, “Now I have role models to look at in the film “Five Friends.” They tell us they never knew what quality intimate male behavior looked like or sounded like. They see the film as a lesson in their own growth and opportunity with men and themselves to grow and bond. They know they cannot copy the cast in the movie, but the behaviors they watch provide them permission to spread their emotional wings and try different behaviors with male friends.
Women seem very happy for their male friends, boyfriends or husbands as they see them stretch their thinking and change their male behaviors. They see the benefits for the men and the benefits for them as women in their relationships with men – specifically deeper more transparent communication and conversations at a depth which really helps each other learn and improve their lives.
We do not need 5 male Friends. We all need to start with 1 male friend to begin to create a foundation of quality male friendships. We must start slowly and develop trust in ourselves and in/with other men. This, for many is new thinking, feelings and actions. Small steps are in order and here are some ideas to help.
1. Identify a man with whom you want to build a loving relationship and write down the “why?”
2. Start slow. Meet for coffee in a public place and discuss work or school or any “not very emotional/intimate” subject. Do this a few times before you have a meal together.
3. Call this man on the phone to discuss a relevant topic – work issues, the World Series, the coming election, any movie they have seen lately that they would recommend and why.
4. Maybe you do something that you love that the other man has never done – like feeding the hungry for Thanksgiving, or going to a sports event or going to something very entertaining – a Billy Joel concert.
As you take steps to develop a male relationship, evaluate what you are doing and how it feels. Discuss it with another friend or if you can, discuss it with the person who you are engaging. Talk about what is making you happy and what is a little weird and why? Keep pushing yourself to take steps monthly, then every other week and then weekly. Try to develop a quality male friendship before the year ends or before March 2012. Keep a diary of what you are doing and feeling. Talk to a close friend about it. Keep growing and see how it all unfolds.
Good Luck! Hank