Over the course of my earliest posts, I made the case that men need deeper, more authentic friendships. In this post of the first year of my blog, I will summarize my points for the jury (yep, that’s you!) about why men need more experienced and committed friendships to become the men that God designed us to be.
I started by presenting scientific research and empirical observations about why we need a few, very close relationships to help us become the men that God expects of us.
My personal story in the post, Why I Needed a God Buddy is about the deeper relationships with guys who have helped transform my life.
I also provided a post titled, God Buddies in the Bible with examples of close friendships from Scripture and the biblical perspective that support my theory.
So here is a summary of my case for God Buddies.
- I introduced my theory in Welcome to my God Buddy blog! and stated my intent in launching the site to provide very practical ways on how you can develop these types of “GodBuddy” relationships. This concept has been one of my passions for over 20 years.
- I then provided some data in Where Did All My Friends Go?, which set up two following posts suggesting that loneliness was a huge threat to our health and that stress was another cause of friendlessness. These serious threats are just some of the reasons described in Why Men Need Friends and Why I needed a God Buddy.
- My good friend and mentor Bill Johnson wrote a guest post, My “GB” Relationship that explained how he and I entered into our God Buddy relationship almost 20 years ago. Our relationship continues to this day based on the guiding principle for GB’s of “sharpening” one another (see Proverbs 27:17).
- As I began a section called Basic Training, I started with What Exactly is a God Buddy relationship? which described these authentic, deep, and genuine friendships that are better than the shallow acquaintances so many people have these days.
- In How Many Friends Can You Really Have? I provided research that showed the number of Americans with no close friends has tripled in recent decades. Many indicated they have “Zero” close confidants, which is surprising in this era of Facebook, Twitter, and numerous social media options. However, Dr. Mark Vernon, author of The Meaning of Friendship says your digital galaxy of friends won’t help your health and happiness. Vernon suggests even one very good friend can improve your life in profound ways. Further, Dr. Robin Dunbar’s research gave us “Dunbar’s number” of 150 relationships a human can actually manage effectively. Realistically though, Dunbar says fewer friends are better and concludes we can only maintain up to five close friendships.
- In a recent commercial from Gillette, the 118-year-old shaving company challenged men to stop behaving like boys and start acting like men. In Accountable to Act like Men, I write that the biblical principles in 1 Corinthians 16:13–14 explain how to “act” like a man so the culture shouldn’t tell boys how to “be a man”. I suggested we all need more accountability by allowing a God Buddy to help us learn the standards of becoming a godly man.
- The model I have found comes from the only perfect man, in Who is in your “5”? Jesus had 3. Jesus kept a very small group of friends in His “inner circle”, even though he had the twelve apostles. Those “ordinary men” were lowly fishermen, tax collectors, and political zealots but were transformed by the training of Jesus. Another model described in Three Relationships Every Man Needs is based on the example of the Apostle Paul, whose life included an apprentice (Timothy), an associate (Barnabas), and a mentor (Paul). My belief is the Bible provides great wisdom for all of us.
- In Finding Your First God Buddy, C. S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…” The reality is we all have issues and have that moment when we realized we have something in common with others. I suggested to “just do it” by reaching out to someone you admire or want to learn from as I did with my mentor, Bill Johnson.
- I wrapped all the data, research, biblical examples, and suggestions with three posts about overcoming some big hurdles for deeper relationships. In Barriers to Friendships, I provide some reasons why men struggle to make friends: we have an aversion to showing emotions and an inherent inability for fellowship. Some of us have had inadequate role models so we struggle with male competition and fear asking for help. The most important hurdle though may be that we simply have our priorities wrong.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson gave us encouragement when he said “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” To be a good friend though may mean you must admit you have some glaring and irritating personality traits. When you read the post, Don’t Be “That Guy”, pay close attention to those traits you recognize in yourself. One could be you are too much of a “Byte-head” (the scientific name, “Tech-no-friend-asaurus”). These guys need the digital detox I suggest in Digital Minimalism Can Help Your Friendships. A God Buddy will be honest about your shortcomings, which will help you in all aspects of life.
So are you convinced yet that you need a God Buddy?
If not, stay with me and read my blog which will lead us on a journey to better friendships.
Of course, feel free to pass on the link to my website to others you know. Let’s spread the word and help men become better men!