If you are a guy and haven’t heard of ArtofManliness.com, the world (particularly the online world) is lost on you. For those of you who have not seen it, this website provides some really awesome advice, tips, tricks, and inspiration for becoming a true gentleman. You can learn how to tie a tie, build a fire, drive a stick shift, and have flawless social skills. The wealth of information on this website is undeniable. Recently, I came across an article on AOM entitled “How to Create a Lifelong Brotherhood”. The title sparked a deep interest in me, so I read on. Turns out, as men age, they lose close knit bonds with other men of similar age. Those relationships were formed in childhood through boy scouts and sports teams and continued in college with fraternities. However, after college, most men struggle to find that bond that they so deeply desire.
The bond that we seek
As the article outlines, the brotherhood that guys seek has to do with a primitive desire. This is the desire to have close relationships with men, of similar age, where ideas can be expressed freely and each member of the group can learn from each other. When I origionally read this article, a few things immediately popped into my mind. First, I asked myself “Do I belong to one of these brotherhoods?” I responded to this question by frantically scanning through all of the relationships that I have, eventually realizing that I, in fact, belong to several brotherhoods. But then I realized something: the relationships that I designated as “brotherhoods” were friendships that I truly loved, and learned a lot from in tough situations. I also realized that those groups were mostly formed through stressful situations, where we all relied on each other to survive (literally, and metaphorically). I began to think to myself what kind of activities and adventures it would take to form a brotherhood because when it comes down to it, everyone needs a close group of friends that they have a true, real bond with. Here is what I came up with:
1. Explore Nature
This can be one of the most useful tools in creating a solid brotherhood (or sisterhood). Going outside and deliberately putting yourself in survival situations puts you, and your buddies in an atmosphere where you MUST work together to stay alive. Exploring nature can mean going out on day hikes, going backpacking for a few days, or even just meandering into the forest and making your own path (this can be the most intense experience in some cases).
2. Break The Rules
Nothing says “brotherhood” quite like breaking some rules. Fraternities tend to get the most out of this bond forming activity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t too. I am not advising that you go out and commit serious crimes, but going against the rules every once in awhile creates a sense of trust with your brothers or sisters that sparks true bonds. Please remember though, if you are going to take this route, DO NOT be violent in breaking the rules that is NOT the point.
One of the truest brotherhoods I was ever a part of was the one that I formed while I was traveling in Eastern Europe and Israel. Traveling can sometimes make an individual feel very alone, even if he or she is in a city full of people. When you have a group of guys or gals that are going through the same experiences that you are, real friendships thrive. This especially works if you travel to a country that speaks a different language than your own.
If you ask most people who belong to a CrossFit gym, they will tell you that the number one reason they love crossfit is because the tribe they have created at their gyms. I’m not sure why, but when you and a group of people are laying on your back, gasping for air, drenched in sweat, you start to feel very connected to those around you. Doing obstacle course races like Tough Mudder or Spartan Races can produce similar relationships.
Singing is one of the few activities, still around today, where everyone participating is synchronized with each other. Performing activities that are synchronized can have great emotional bonding effects on you and your friends. Even if it might seem a bit out of your comfort (or talent) zone, giving singing a try can create a strong brotherhood. I know a number of people who have joined a cappella choir’s (either all guys or all girls) and have really bonded with the people in those groups. Give it a try, what’s the worst that could happen?
Well, there’s my list. If you are struggling to find your brother or sisterhood at school, try out some of these options with a few friends, and see what kind of results you can get. Just remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all.
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