With no tools, no teams or projects, three men sit down on this episode to talk Friendship.
Connection can typically be filed into a “Women Only” category.
But, as you’ll hear from Josh, Matthew and Dan; men don’t just need but actually long for deep connection with each other.
We hope you’ll listen to this honest conversation between men about men and come away with a better understating of this deep need.
For our male listeners, hearing words put to buried feelings can help serve as a model of guys needing guys.
For women, hearing men discuss connection and acknowledge a desire for brotherhood can help take the weight off your own relationship.
Both men and women were made for community.
The idea that men don’t need anyone leaves our husbands, fathers, sons, brothers feeling isolated and alone.
Maybe this conversation will make you cringe. That’s ok. We hope you don’t just shrug it off because building community among men is a vulnerable, courageous, necessary step to “Becoming Whole.”
I want to be seen I want to be known not based on what I do but who I am.
That’s a huge ache and that’s in all of us, whether or not we can say it or not.
Often times when someone is sharing their pain and you feel an instinct to help, to correct, to encourage; just check yourself there because what might be going on for them
When was the last time you Initiated with a guy friend?
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
So one thing I’ve noticed a lot in the shows, I watched the movies I watch, not exclusively, but in most there’s a sense of guys of men who kind of, they live alone. They seem self contained. There’s, they have a strength, they have a confidence, they have a courage, they have a mission. And they can really carry it out by themselves. Even if they’re on a team, even if they know they’re, they’re part of the Avengers or something they they still there like, as far as their internal life, their internal world, they’ve got the goods on their own. I’m here, Josh Glazer. Here’s Matthew Snider, and Dan keefer. Both our team and we just want to call bullcrap on that, and share a little bit more honestly about the reality of men’s hearts and the longing that we have for connection inwardly, and the longing we have for connection. So guys, let me just start out with that question like, what do you see? Or maybe maybe ask it this way? What’s kind of the imprint on your own mind when it comes to what a man is supposed to be when a man is supposed to long for and not supposed to long for? What are some of the things you’ve you kind of find yourself having to push through? When it comes to really acknowledging the true Long’s you’ve got? Is that question makes sense?
Dan Keefer 1:25
Yeah, well, I, to be honest, just the first thing that I that I felt as you were setting that up was, in my second my chest, it’s like I could feel yearning, longing. I think that that’s there because of the recognition that I have of that desire for male friendship and male connection. Because so long, even though I had guys all around me in whatever ministry I was involved with, I still felt very, very alone.
So Sudan, when like, what are some of the when you think back on even becoming do coming to a place where you can acknowledge that like, what or? Like, are there? Was there any resistance for you? Is there any kind of like, you know, that’s not okay. For me to feel that way. I mean, along that way, like, just from your life, your childhood, your experience as a man? Yeah,
Dan Keefer 2:20
absolutely. It was I, I could see the void in my life. But I wanted to, I didn’t want to acknowledge that it was something real that there was there was a sense that me and God ought to be enough. And it just wasn’t. And, and I would remember, there were times my wife, Heather, she would say, like, I would be in a really low spot, and she’d say, is there there’s someone that you know, you should just go hang out as your friend, you could get it, go out, get somebody just hang out with him and talk. And honestly, I would have some people come into my mind. But I was at a spot at that point where I didn’t, they might have come to mind, but it’s like, No, not that one. Not that one. And, and just that questions. Let’s let me feeling really isolated and alone. Hmm.
How about you, Matthew, what is his acknowledging desire for other men in your life, something that has come natural to you got to push through something in order to get to a place where you can measure,
Matthew Snider 3:24
Yeah, I mean, that’s a good question. No, it’s taken years for me to understand the longing, like the ache that I have for relationships with men, older, younger peers, whatever it may be. And I think I’ve got story after story of these broken awkward relationships with guys, on and off fields, on and off bikes in our neighborhood that just didn’t cut it. But that I knew that the further I went away from those relationships, the further away I was from being a man as well. So playing football, we had a wonderful neighborhood grown up, there was probably 1415 guys, that we just were always together. We were on bikes. We played football each weekend, down at our neighborhood park, and we were playing football. And I made this amazing tackle, where you whack somebody’s ankle, and then they trip on themselves because their ankle hurts their other leg. And this kid got up and just started going at me verbally and I knew what I did was right. But I started crying. Out of this passion for Wait a second this is wrong. And all the other guys on the field started picking on me. I heard about it all week in school. stuff like that, that, you know, gosh, I was 10. And I remember that as a 43 year old now, that demented that broke, what it means to connect with other guys on the level, whether or not it’s on the field off the field, heart to heart, whatever. But no, I mean, I’d say I’m 43, I’d say in the last three or four years, I’ve been able to put words to an ache in my heart like that I need men around me, good, healthy, wise men.
You know, I think part one things you bring up, but first, just thanks for your vulnerability with that, like I, I have stories like that, too, I can relate with. And I think one of the highlights is that, for a lot of us men, growing up some of the areas, some of the times when we most needed the company of men, what we found from the company of men around us was not their presence and their encouragement and, and support we found they had turned on us in those moments. So I mean, I have a memory of getting picked on between sixth and seventh grades, I was getting ready to go into junior high school, and I was terrified of that. And I was on the we’re hanging out after school and these older kids came from a long way away, they kind of spot us and walk all the way across the playground. And one of them specifically, this, this middle of this Junior High girls was just picking on me. I mean, she called me out in front of my friends as though I’d done something and I was terrified. I mean, the whole time, I was like, you know, they’re gonna beat me up. And my friends were kind of quiet there. I think they were scared to one of things that she did in that moment. And I, I, I point this out, because I think it’s really a tactic of the enemy. And part of what I’m trying to draw out here. She asked my friends at one point, so I’m the object of her kind of torment. She turns my friend and says, Are you guys best friends with him? And God bless them. One of my friends was like, he trepidatious. Like, yes, the other one, emphatically said, No. And, and so again, I think just in those moments of I mean, that was a, that was a time where I needed my brothers to stand up with me and say, yes, we’re with him, we align with him, we identify with him. And I think within the situation you describe, in the same way, like to have brothers kind of surround you in that moment and say, like, you know, we identify with Matthew, including the pain of it. So you know, I walked home after that experience. And in the presence of a friend who had said that he was one of my best friends, I started just crying. I couldn’t control that. So it’s kind of letting down and but I needed I didn’t even know in that moment, he didn’t have the wherewithal to, like, offer me more than just kind of walking silently with me in that moment, which meant a lot. But But yeah, those moments where we need inner vulnerability needed, guys, I think we experienced something different. So did any, any connection. So for you, actually, there’s
Dan Keefer 7:59
Yes, there’s another side to that, that as I’m sitting here, I’m having memories, some memories come back, where there were actually friendships and relationships there. But I wasn’t aware of them. So here’s the example. So in high school, guys was my best friend, his name was dean. And we, we played basketball together and I, I had certain memories of what that friendship was like, and then later on as adults with kids of our own, I’m visiting him and, and he’s recollecting he’s telling stories about high school. And it’s not like, you know, the stories that that things are being remembered inaccurately, or the glory days song by Bruce Springsteen. But he’s telling stories, and I’m thinking he experienced our friendship in a way that I didn’t. And I’m thinking, what was I missing? Because I want that friendship that he was talking about. And so there was something inside of me that almost seemed to lack the capacity to live in the reality that he had been living in.
Wow, well, yeah, I mean, that that raises questions for me too. Like Where did that come from? Right. Like I think our I don’t know about you, Dan. I don’t know you Matthew, you can respond if you want but I know and I’ve had conversations with with my own father about this but growing up my experience My dad was he had some friends kind of kind of colleagues but but not not a ton. Not you know, like I didn’t experience like hey, in this moment, in this pivotal moment, I had to call my friends I gotta call my allies I had to call my brothers. So I didn’t I didn’t really have that. That modeled for me in a way that really sank in for me. Gather you guys is that is that a model around you of guys seeing guys need guys and be around each other. Call on the brothers to get some support.
Matthew Snider 10:03
Yeah, I mean, definitely not for me. My dad was away a lot. So when he was home, there was lots of things to do around the house and be with the kids before he went away again on travel and for work. But I’m even thinking of men, mentors, people I looked up to in the church that weren’t surrounding themselves either. Even elders in the church that were just they did their own thing. It was a work thing. And then on Sunday, it’s an elder thing, and that’s what I do. But there weren’t. Even as I’m talking, I’m thinking of like all of the little huddles. In the high school hallways were usually girls. There weren’t huddles of guys, unless, Harry ready for the game tonight, like the manly thing, or playing hacky sack for, you know, the stoner kids or whatever it is, like they were doing something together, but they weren’t connecting, as opposed to the girls that look like they were connecting, even amongst their giggles, and they’re talking about their day to day, it seemed like if the guys didn’t have something specific to share, they weren’t connecting. And I think I’ve seen that men and men and men and men over the years, they just don’t do it. Well.
Alright, so let me let me let me press in there, because I think I want to hear from guys about this. I think a lot of guys would say about that. Well, like we don’t do that. We don’t need that. Like, yeah, we talked about sports, because that’s that’s how we connect. So Matthew, even when Dominica you said like, you know, they weren’t connecting? I think some guys would say, well, that that’s how we connect them. And I do think there’s truth to that. I mean, I know there have been times where I’ve done things with guys and felt a level of bonding or connection with them. But I think I think part of what I’m hearing from you is that there’s an ache for a different kind of connecting a different layer of connecting or an ache in a place that isn’t connected to through sports. You know, construction project, things like that, like,
Matthew Snider 12:16
Yeah, what’s that? I want to be seen, I want to be known, not based upon what I do, but based upon who I am. Just because I’m fast, and I play soccer well, or can tackle well in football, like who cares? Like, I’m going to get old and I’m not going to be able to do that anymore. So does that mean that I’m less of a man? No, like, there’s a lot more to me than that. It seems like to me that’s very topical way to connect with people. Now it’s good to do that. And to have a partner that walks home with you after you’ve been hurt whether or not he has words to say or not. He’s beside you. And you remember that from years ago. So beautiful. But then there’s also men that cry with you, and speak life into you and hear you. One of my biggest longings I think over the years that I’ve seen in my head is, you know, whatever the terrible insurance commercial or whatever it was, but like when the dad is leaning over the truck, and the engines open, the hoods open, and they pan out and a little boys over there. And what I see of that is that this dad is pouring into his son who he is. Now yes, it’s over an engine. But this is life. This is experience this is I see you, son, come along with me. And that’s that’s a huge ache. It’s in all of us whether or not we can say it or not. Matthew, that’s that account of you know, somebody that would cry with you it. I just recently I’ve been recalling an event my early 20s when I was going through probably one of the most painful times in my life. And it was a Sunday morning, I left the worship service to go to the bathroom and in the bathroom. There’s this other guy there. His name’s Pete and Pete. Say, Hey, Dan, how are you doing? And I I was so raw that I couldn’t lie. I said I’m not doing well. And he said, Let’s go talk and so we went off to a room or by ourselves and just sat down a couple folding chairs. And I just started talking I don’t know that Pete ever said a word to me. But he had huh Wow. tipped me now he had tears streaming down his face as he heard my pain and in that moment I again that I’m not sure what what permitted me to be honest with him. But in being honest those tears i’ve you know met you met you met you mentioned being seen being heard. I mean this I felt as though this I was feeling my pain. And that’s, that’s not you’re not gonna see that. I’m asking I’m kind of card for a guy. But that that was, and that was too hard to meeting big time.
Man when you I mean, what a beautiful, powerful image. And I, you know, some of the images that come to mind for me, in relation to that are kind of the opposite of that where I’ve got a memory of similar situation where in Iran, it’s about a church and Sunday morning, is how you do it. I said, I’m not doing well and their responses, but how are you doing in the Lord?
Oh, my house was headed like a, you know, like a, you know, wrong answer, Josh. Like, give me the church answer. The Christian answer, which is not the Christian answer, like the Christian answer is, is what’s true, like, Hey, you know, what, I just told you, I’m not doing well. And Jesus, certainly, I think, is a model of that, like, you know, he didn’t, he didn’t come through and ask people to put on a happy face, like, you know, hey, give me the chipper answer. Like he, the suffering servant well acquainted with grief, well, whose grief like it was, it was our grief, he was happy and whole, you know, member of the Trinity and entered into our pain, I think, I mean, what you’re describing danis is a, it’s an incarnational experience of somebody who’s, who’s entering. And I think it even sounds like reflecting back to you the pain that you were expressing what a beautiful, beautiful picture. I mean, so guys, listening, just just one note, this isn’t to control you. It’s not to say, you know, this is the only thing you can do. But I think often, and I can’t read who the author was, who pointed this out, but it’s been widely taught that oftentimes, when somebody’s sharing their pain, and you feel an instinct, to help to correct to encourage, just check yourself there, because what might be going on for you is that you’re really, you’re uncomfortable with their pain, and it’s causing you discomfort. So your desire to get them up out of that place may be more rooted in your own discomfort with pain, and really out of love for them. Sometimes, just being with them reflecting back what you’re seeing can be powerful. So let me let me just get candid here for a second. Because even as we’re talking about this, and I, you know, I’ve had conversations like this a lot in this ministry, I know that this stuff is common for men, I know that men feel this ache, but I still feel like some level of man, some guys gonna be listen to this and thinking we’re, you know, well, Alright guys, whatever, you know, it’s still so ingrained, like this is not. This is not like what real men are like, and, and I do reject that that’s that idea is true. I know that men are like this. I’ve talked to enough men who longed to be seen long to be able to weep in front of the guy and experience compassion and experience the guys wrapping his arms around yet. But man, it’s just it’s just a it’s thick in the air that men don’t do this.
Matthew Snider 18:02
Yeah, so you brought up earlier, Josh, are you asked the question, maybe we answered it, maybe we didn’t. But it’s like, what do you have in your head, as the ideal man, that you still kind of cringe worrying about the guys that are listening to our conversation right now that go, in my mind, I go, I don’t think they’re wise enough or mature enough to understand this conversation. I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’m just saying, I’ve grown over the years to understand how much I need this. Five years ago, I didn’t even have the words to under stand my emotions around this. But like, I knew something was off. And it became anger, it became frustration and other men. So like, what are you holding up to say, john wayne, or Brad Pitt? Or, I don’t know, some guy that climbs the face of some big rock in Yosemite, like, Who are you holding up to be that guy that still kind of tugs at your heart.
I think part of what is exposing for me is is some kind of pain I’m going to try to describe a little bit but two sides of the same coin on one side is is is insecurity, about my own manhood on the other side is pride. And the pride is the idea that somehow I’m going to be able to attain to a place where I don’t need other men in this way. And both, as I say them out loud, I’m like, yeah, that’s just that’s crap. I don’t need to. I don’t need to hate myself for realizing that but it’s also like, okay, you know, that’s, I can treat myself kindness there. It’s, I get it. Let’s press through that. Because I realized that the trajectory of that American hero guy who doesn’t need other men who can be self sustained, ultimately as an isolated character, and that’s not When I want, my heart is not all day long for that. When I hold it that image of like, you know, the, the superhero who doesn’t need other people to get it done and hold up the image of a band of brothers whose arms around each other and for each other. I it’s my hearts gets really clear and that like which one I want, and it’s definitely the band of brothers.
Matthew Snider 20:22
Yeah. Yeah, that’s really beautiful picture.
Dan Keefer 20:26
Yeah. And there’s something about the band or brothers it’s not just a band of guys it’s it’s something where there there’s something common being shared together. No one is seeking to outdo or out story of somebody else. There’s, there’s a posture of humility towards one another. This this past fall, I like a year ago, I relocated and so I was trying to establish some new male friendships and there was one group that I came away from and and I just didn’t have a positive feeling about it. And there’s two other guys I met. And from the instant that we started talking, it was my wife just she was there Raza larger gathering and and she she saw or heard what we were talking about. And she just kind of smiled and rolled her eyes. And because she knew that I’d found somebody with a light heart. And man I was, I could walk out of that place on on air i was i was so full and so high on that experience of being seen, and being able to see another and how this this thing we shared in common and it was, it was amazing. Almost nothing like it.
Matthew Snider 21:43
And how much of a blessing for your wife is that as well, so that she doesn’t need to carry that torch either like that ache, that relationship for that man that was met in that night that you were walking on air, your wife can now say, woof, I’m giving that back to the right place.
Dan Keefer 22:04
So Matthew, you’re tapping into something else there that as men, sorry, as Let me speak for myself as a husband, I spent the better part of 26, 27 years of marriage, asking my wife to bear my weight. And God never designed my wife Heather to bear my emotional and relational wait. When I’m engaging with men in healthy ways. I come away feeling full, I’m coming away with an answer to the question, do I have what it takes? And so when I go back and engage and interact with my wife, I’m not going in with an empty cup saying I need you to tell me I’m walking in the door with a cup that leaks but a cup that it still has some fullness to it. And I can say how can I pour into your life
you guys are putting your finger on the reality that I mean really exposing the the the lie that is in our culture that suggests that marriage is that ultimate fulfillment, marriage is wonderful, it is absolutely significant and absolutely makes a difference but but the way that has been portrayed both inside and both outside and inside the church as kind of what we are moving toward as the end is a myth meaning that marriage is it is a symbol it’s an image of ultimate union with God and it can’t bear our weight and i think that’s that’s powerful what you guys are pointing out there and and I’ve experienced that my own life I think that one of the biggest threats to male friendships in my life that I don’t just mean comrades you know, kind of who run into each other but guys who who see me and who I see I think one of the biggest obstacles has been buisiness and maybe the idle or dizziness where it gets to be too easy to kind of you know respond as busy people who you don’t have time and and you know I’ve got five kids in a foster home so there’s a lot going on. But But when I when I’m diligent and intentional to say with everything all the responsibilities I have at work and at home my my friendships with men are not a an add on to that they are actually undergirding for that so if I want my work and my my man family to be something that that I bring my full to I can’t neglect my friendships with men because I need their strength to be able to stand in the rules that God’s given me and to be a man of supposed to be there. And that doesn’t mean that I’m impervious there that my wife doesn’t pour into me or my you know, I don’t mean that at all. But you guys know what I’m saying? So, yep. Yeah, I hear that. And I would say just, you know, in full, full candor, like, in the last year, I think that’s been an area where I’ve I’ve began to face like, man, I really I need to shore this up in my life. And so I’ve been become more intentional about kind of establishing some times and scheduling time. To be with men, and, and who with whom I can have these kind of conversations, so that it doesn’t kind of get filled in by other things in my life. And, and I’m still, you know, it’s the weeds are quick growing, so I still need to kind of chop it those frequently to kind of keep that as a as a primary.
Matthew Snider 25:19
Yeah, if you guys are still here listening that would be, what I would want you to take with you is to be vulnerable and to initiate with other men. Like, for years. I didn’t know how to initiate with my wife, my kids, other men period. And as I’ve slowly gained wisdom in learning how to do that, like my life is more full, more complete, more whole. And a meeting with a guy on a Friday at Starbucks can last me weeks, to have my kids see a change in me. My wife sees a change in me, like I’m noticing, like, Wow, that’s great. So if you hear one thing, be vulnerable, don’t be afraid and just initiate with another guy. Even if it’s just for a Starbucks coffee, Hey, can I take you out to Starbucks and grab your coffee? Can we meet for lunch? Like don’t have an agenda? Just be?
Yeah, I’d say I’d add to that. I think sometimes it takes intentional questions that go beyond the surface. So like, one of the questions that a friend of mine has asked me in the past is, you know, tell me about the state of your heart. And they might even juxtaposed against the question like, tell me tell me how your marriages but also I want to hear the state of your heart is there tell me how it works going. But also when here the state of your heart sight? kind of know. They’re saying like, Don’t give me the crap answer. You know, like, yeah. And that can take time to build in any any other practice you give before we
Dan Keefer 26:47
Actually, it this is kind of a springboard off what you were saying, Matthew, one of the common things I hear men saying is, why does it seem like I’m the one that does the reaching out? And, and I so there’s this part of me that says, Well, maybe that’s just your perspective. But when I look in the mirror, I realize that I can find myself the same the same, saying the same thing. Why does it seem like I’m the one reaching out? And so I guess the thing that I would say is, be careful. When if you find yourself saying that, why does it seem like I’m the one reaching out? And even like, right below? That might be the question of why is it that I seem like the needy one? You know, I would encourage you to, to not park there to even see that as, as the enemy coming in trying to discourage connection and community and relationship and just press through that and say, okay, maybe I am. So be it. It’s not going to stop me, I’m still going to be vulnerable. And I’m still going to take the initiative.
Yeah, and I’d say like, if you’re the one who notices, you also may be I would, I would reframe that to say like your your brothers need you then. Because for whatever reason, they’re not noticing, or they’re not paying attention to what they’re noticing. And so it is a step of masculine courage and strength to step across the gap and say, let’s get together. Let’s, let’s share, let’s talk. So, well, let me let me wrap this up in prayer. So many of the places we can go so many things we didn’t talk about in here. But let’s talk again, because I I definitely feel myself stirred. Got to got to hang up here and go make some calls. So Jesus thinks that you are the maker of men, and you made us for community, Lord, we do want to just expose the reality that that for generations and generations, Lord, across time, and across places men have needed other men and men if lived closely with other men. This is not something unique to our hearts today, or you’ve wired us for this. So Lord, for the men listening, whether married or single, whether young or old, or whether enjoying sweet fellowship of men are longing for it deeply and finding it absent. Or we come together with those men today and turn to you and say, Father, Father, your sons, or teach us grant his courage and faith to step up and step out for the sake of each other, for the sake of our own hearts, that we might become more than many creators to be more masculine, more loving, more courageous, stronger, more Christ, like I pray this for our good for the good of our brothers and our sisters, for the good of the world, and for Your glory. Or Jesus in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, we pray, Amen.
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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.
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This is a fabulous podcast. Possibly the most relevant podcast I have heard in my 73 years of existence addressing men’s innermost needs. I lead a men’s purity group and will be sending this to the men in our group, to the head of our church’s men’s ministry, and to close men friends. I will also try to be the one to reach out to other men on the suggestion of engaging other men in much needed deeper friendships. Your Starbucks suggestion is a good one.
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