So in the sea of New Year’s resolutions chasing love, sex, money, and the perfect body – I want to propose something different:
Commit to making two real friends this year.
Why two? Because different friends provides unique experiences, perspectives, and relationships. And it’s too easy to use one person as your end-all-be-all source of support.
Also, sometimes one person is out of town and you still want to watch the game with a bro.
As adults, I think of lot of men lose sight of the importance of good friends. And being proactively social isn’t something that always comes naturally to us.
I used to think having a big group of friends was something from my distant childhood. As people moved away for school or work, my social circle dissolved. I figured that was a normal part of becoming an adult.
So in my early to mid-20s, I became a lone wolf (like so many other men).
I built up my career. I networked and partnered with people in business. I focused on meeting women. And when I dated those women, I spent a lot of my time with just them.
Friends were nice to have, but not an absolute priority. I think that’s how a lot of men feel about adult friendships. That is, until you realize how much you actually need those male bonds.
Friends are crucial to our long-term growth and happiness.
When my dad got sick, my buddies took me out to distract me with fun times. When I was feeling socially anxious, my friend pushed me to talk to people with him – which eventually led to meeting my wife.
When I was terrified of leaving a job I hated, my friends gave me the courage to quit and pursue my dreams as a coach. And various friends have worked with me to host retreats around the world and launch my first online group coaching program.
Good friends can provide an invaluable support system and motivation. They make you feel loved and connected. They share joy with you. They can push you to become a better version of yourself.
Now looking back, many of the best moments in my past five years were shared with friends.
I got to be best man for the friend who helped me meet my wife. I experienced Mardi Gras in all its glory with a great group of guys. I lived on a remote island with world-class entrepreneurs where we built our own facilities.
I’ve shared incredible meals and taken breathtaking hikes through a dozen countries with adventurous friends. My wife and I just hosted a holiday party where we brought friends together to play music and fight over Super Smash.
Those are some of the happiest moments of my life.
And because of those experiences, I’ve realized how meaningful is it to be there for someone else, too. I find immense fulfillment in supporting the people I care about.
I get it that feels tough to make close friends.
When you’re young, it’s easy to call someone up and hang out. You’re also in environments where social circles are pre-made for you.
When you’re an adult, you’ve got endless responsibilities and a busy schedule. With everyone getting married, having kids, and working full-time jobs, it seems impossible. And if you don’t already have some acquaintances, then you’ve got to talk to random people in new environments.
But it doesn’t have be as complicated or challenging as you think. You just have to invest a little proactive energy to help things along.
Many guys are in the same position as you. They want more friends but feel clueless or nervous about putting themselves out there. So they don’t take the initiative.
But the second you show someone that you’re thinking about them, want to connect, or want to positively influence their life — they will reciprocate. You’ll encourage them to open up, think about you more often, and want to invest back in you.
Think about someone you already know and want to further connect with. Take that first step to reach out. Be curious about what they’re excited about and are looking forward to. Send them an article, book, or album recommendation you know they’d love.
Invite them to join you on a new biking trail or to play soccer with a couple of friends. Host a board or card game night. Introduce them to your new hairdresser to get a stylish cut. Set up happy hour drinks with a couple of co-workers.
Pick one person, hit them up, and show them you’re trying to be a good friend.
If you don’t have someone like that, then take the smallest step possible to meet new friends. That just means showing up.
Show up to a social environment for something you’ve wanted to try. Go to axe throwing, a small music show, or join a class for something you’ve wanted to learn. Then just focus on being present and enjoying the activity for yourself. Remove the expectation of trying to talk to anyone the first few times.
Being in the right place at the right time will lead to natural opportunities. People will talk to you on their own. And as you get more comfortable in those environments, casually introducing yourself to new people becomes infinitely easier.
Creating or maintaining any worthwhile relationship requires some effort. But the return of investment of good friendships is immeasurable.
We all need someone who can be honest with us when we can’t be honest with ourselves.
We all need someone we can trust and rely on, even during our toughest times.
We all need someone we know cares about us when we feel alone in this world.
We all need someone we can be that person for, too.
I believe all this will cultivate more meaning and happiness not only in this New Year, but for many years to come.