» Is There a Need For Good Old Fashioned Male Bonding?

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I'm Bobby Rio, one of the founders of TSB. You'll know more about me on . I tend to write about what is on my mind so you'll find a mix of self development, social dynamics and dating articles/experiences.  For a collection of some of my favorite articles check them out.

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There were so many highlights from our recent DR Mansformation Retreat that it would be impossible to cover them all.  But since I’ve been back, there is one post that I’ve been meaning to write.

And this is that post!

People have asked us, “What constitutes a man transformation retreat?”

And the fun answer would be to talk about all the infield gaming we did, the all-night partying, and the fact that, quite frankly, nearly everyone got laid.

Mad dogs and Englishmen - Isle of Wight styleBut the right answer would be to talk about the ‘good old fashioned’ male bonding that took place during the weekend.

There is something priceless and quite unexplainable about getting to know a core group of people on a deeper level.

For me, when I think back on my college experience, it wasn’t the girls, the parties, or even the learning that made it so memorable.  It was the fact that I spent five years growing as a person, and had a quality group of guys to share the experience with.

But the sad reality is, that for many guys, when college ends… they no longer have an opportunity to connect with new people.  This means that we spend our days holding onto our past, slowly watching our core crew of friends get shackled away to marriage.  And soon, we’re left interacting with a minute number of other men.

Some guys are lucky enough to share jobs with like-minded business associates.  But many times, we put on a persona at work, and we never get to present our true self.  In the cut-throat world of business, sometimes it is necessary to always wear a mask.

I truly believe that as human being, in order to grow mentally, socially, and spiritually, you need an opportunity to take that mask off.  You need to be able to open up to other human being on a deeper level than “shop talk” or “sports talk” or “pop gossip talk.”

And for me, the highlight of the Mansformation Retreat was having that opportunity to take the mask off.   To not only take my mask off, but to encourage the others on the retreat to take their masks off as well.  It is when the masks come off… that true learning and growth can take place.

The PeopleAs men, we often get to an age, where we no longer make new friends.  Our culture almost frowns upon the idea of two men interacting for the sole person of “making friends.”  Think about how awkward you would feel if a guy at a bar turned to you and started chatting you up.  Or invited you into his group of friends.  You would automatically assume he was gay. Right?

Because of this we very rarely make new friends throughout our life.  We are always making new acquaintances, but very seldom, new friends.

Now, I am lucky to have quite a few close friends.  I’ve been fortunate enough to do an almost yearly “guy’s only trip.”  And with these old friends, I’ve had people to support and encourage me throughout some of the rougher points of my life.  And for that I feel blessed.

But what the Mansformation Retreat taught me… is that sometimes old friends aren’t enough.  Old friends tend to see you as the person you were, they tend to have a subjective view of you.  This great for allowing you that sense of comfort that we all crave.  But it is not always enough to contribute to your continual growth as a human being.

The Mansformation Retreat gave me the opportunity to get a subjective view of myself.  I got to see how a new group of men reacted to me.  I got to have fresh new conversations that inspired new thoughts and revelations.

I had the opportunity to offer feedback to others, that had I known them for years, I probably would have hesitated giving them.  And having the chance to offer this unconditional feedback; opened up new ways of thinking in my own brain.

It would be an exaggerated pompous statement to say that I came back a new man…

But I can honestly say I came back a refreshed man.  A man with a renewed sense of purpose in life.  A man who better understands, that why so much emphasis is placed on “how to interact with women”… maybe we’ve forgotten how to interact with other men.

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7 Responses to Is There a Need For Good Old Fashioned Male Bonding?

  • Sebastian says:

    I like this post. It’s the sorta post that makes you think…. ‘wow.. I never thought of it like that before’ and allow you to see things from a fresh different perspective. I wouldn’t call it ‘mind-blowing’ but it has some of that feel to it. ;)

    Thinking about it now, I, too, am another one who has made a lot of new ‘acquaintances’ over the past few months with other men but real actual ‘friends’ with very few.

    Finally, I gotta admit, I really like the ending of this article….

    “…. so much emphasis is placed on “how to interact with women”… maybe we’ve forgotten how to interact with other men…. “

  • Honey says:

    While there is certainly something to be said for being able to take off your “mask” around a group of same-sex friends in ways that you can’t around work acquaintances or your significant other, the whole point of having a significant other is that is someone you can take off the mask you wear around your friends and be your truest self. I agreed with everything except the “shackled into marriage” part for that reason…this certainly happens to some people (too many, for sure) but the BF and I wouldn’t be on the marriage track unless we felt we were the most ourselves around each other…even more so than around groups of same-sex friends like you mention. It’s not healthy to cut yourself off from your old group of friends, but clinging to friendships where you have nothing in common except the past isn’t healthy either. I guess I’m just saying that this issue (like most of life) is complex.

  • Bobby Rio says:

    Sebastian,

    Thanks again for the feedback! Its something I’m still contemplating myself, but i definately think it deserves further follow up. I”d love to hear some of your thoughts on how guys can make new genuine friends… as opposed to the aquatainces you spoke of.. and that most of us find ourselves making

    Honey,

    Im in no way discrediting the relationship men have with their significant other.. and i def agree that your sig other is the person who is going to see you maskless most often…

    but there is something to be said of quality guy time… that all men, in my opinion need. I have a girlfriend that I spend much of my time with… but at least a few times a month I have a boys night out. I also plan at least one all guys vacation every year. This is my time! Period. No explanation needed.

    You also have to remember that a lot of guys don’t have a signficant other to take their mask off to.

    “shakled into marriage” may have been harsh… The whole “is marriage even relevant in this day and age” debate is for another time.

    • Sebastian says:

      There are a lot of factors in my opinion that can turn an acquaintance-like relationship into a genuine friendship Bobby. But perhaps the most important one apart from obvious things such as both parties general likability of each other (positive opinion/energy towards) and commonalities/connection is as simple as ‘spending time with them’!

      When you spend time with people, if you happen to both like each other, whether it’s two males bonding or you and a girl, it means you’re experiencing stuff together. So whether you’re partying with them or watching a movie, whether it’s a good movie or a bad movie, you are BOTH experiencing the same stuff and that then becomes something later on for both to look back on, a ‘shared’ experience to later reminiscence about. Cuz if you look back to any friendship we’ve had, you can always recall how it sorta started, what brought us together, maybe that ONE experience which OFFICIALLY started the friendship, etc.

      But here’s the KEY in my opinion in making the transition from people you nod your head to when you see (acquaintances but not necessarily friends you chill with), spend time with each other OUTSIDE the initial setting/circumstances.

      So if you met a guy in class and you get along, you joke around and you think he’s a cool guy, that’s awesome. But you’ll never really become friends until you spend time with him doing something OTHER than the original activity which was sitting through a lecture with him. So, party with the guy. Play sports with that guy. Go shopping maybe if he also has good fashion sense and you think you can help each other.

      Similarly, if you met some cool guys in the gym or while playing some sports, then again, same thing, you now need to spend time with them in some other ‘setting’ to make it a real ‘friendship’ and take it out of just another ‘acquaintance’ and someone you ‘know’.

      So I don’t know… but that’s my take it on it. That when you involve people (not even in a big or drastic way but perhaps even a small one) in your life in some way/setting or activity than when you originally got to know them/made initial contact, then that’s when you start turning people you ‘know’ (which there are 1000′s of) to people you actually are ‘friends’ with.

      • Bobby Rio says:

        SO true.. you need to spend time with them. I guess it all comes down to having activities going on in your life that you can invite them to join you in,

        For instance, if you know the guy is a Jets fan, you can see if he wants to join you and your buddies at the local pub to watch the game Sunday.

  • Lance says:

    Great post, one of the best I’ve read yet on TSB! One other point…beyond the male bonding, I liked the aspect of knowledge sharing that comes with having a group of highly intelligent, diverse individuals in close contact. Napoleon Hill calls it the mastermind group, and I think we saw a bit of that on the retreat. There were some very good ideas being pitched back and forth.

  • Bobby Rio says:

    Exactly Lance… guy time for me now a days is talking business and goal setting and stuff with the boys!! Its what i enjoy talking about. It was great having a new group of guys to bounce ideas off of.

    I learned a lot from all the guys on the trip!

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