A Childhood’s Dream of a Best Friend

Fred Boyles
MDI Contributor

I’ve always wanted a best friend.  

Ever since I was 8. But I never could get this.

Being disappointed by the males in my life has stopped me at every turn. And this idea of “disappointment?” Men could disappoint you? Oh yes! Could men be untrustworthy with their word? Yah.

There is good reason we men don’t have relationship skills. So says this saying: “You can trust a Marine with your life, just not your cash or your wife.”

We always laugh at this, but for us to trust the untrustworthy takes building a skill to clear a grudge or resentment with men who betray us. It takes a process to forgive and let that resentment go.

What makes us men untrustworthy? Well we’ll often strive to gather treasures so that we can give it to women in exchange for sex and love. That is not a recipe for building bonds with other men.

You might think that complicated. “Oh bullshit,” you say?

Try this on then: a teammate breaks his word and later says, “I sold out for pussy.” My response has been to go into understanding, and even bypassing the process of cleaning him up for breaking his word. The pursuit of sex and treasure is such a fundamental part of my nature that if anyone leads this same way, I just considerate it “normal.”

So there I have been “normal,” and non-trusting of other men … as well as myself.

But what of friendship?

I always wanted a best friend; I just did not want to be one. That sounds hypocritical because it is. It’s only been recently that I realized what that crazy statement really meant and why I’ve never found this 8-year-old’s vision of a best friend.

On my current men’s team we have worked to reframe an important concept. We embrace what we are committed to instead of trying to live up to the romantic version of: “You can count on me to keep my word and have your back.”

We don’t pretend that these aspects of our life won’t show up to have us break our word:

  1. Work
  2. Wife
  3. Children
  4. Health
  5. Competition / fun
  6. Spiritually – me time with God

What we’ve come to: this team is a gathering of men who share and bond over the task of developing new habits and plan to fail and then re-instate their promises.

By giving up my childish vision of a best friend, by learning to clear my grudges (or “lists”) on men and forgiving them, I have many more men in my heart.  

For example: yesterday I had two men agree to do something on the next Zoom meeting. One re-made his word before he broke it, and the other just did not feel like keeping his word. I cleared my list on both and let it go.

My win is that I have several men who contribute to me in those above six aspects of my life, and by clearing my grudges and forgiving them, I have all the best friends that I could ever want.

It took a life-long experience, an adult’s wisdom, to get this boy’s dream realized.

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