Since my college-age Bible study ended last year, the guys in my small group decided to do something different one Thursday night — a Guys’ Night.

Coordinating this event was a bit difficult. Why, you ask? You’re talking about a group of guys with poor planning skills and zero interest in going bar-hopping, which would probably be the traditional thing to do.

We were trying to find something that wasn’t cheesy, yet fun at the same time. Planning a Guys’ Night with no alcohol is kind of a hard thing to do. Though difficult to plan, it was a success at the end. Unfortunately, some of the guys had prior engagements, and only 4 of us could make it.

We decided to take our Guys’ Night to Dave & Buster’s which is like the adult version of Chuck E. Cheese’s. I was an hour late, but I intended to make it no matter what.

We exchanged some small talk, seeing what was up within everyone’s current week, and checking if anyone needed any prayer for anything. We got to talking about leadership roles and how each one of us has this leadership role within us, whether we see it or not. Then I told them that I couldn’t be an “official” leader at the church that I was attending.

Why, you ask again? Unfortunately, I’ll have to discuss that in a future post. But all you need to know right now is that I can’t be a leader…officially. Unofficially, though, I can be a leader of sorts, talking to someone, seeing where they’re at in life, giving them advice, challenging their thinking and actions, giving them a different perspective for tackling life, praying for them, etc. I mean, anyone can do that!

When I told my guy friends that I couldn’t officially be a leader, I thus told them about my past. I never dreamt in my life — well, my early life — that I would have had an awesome group of guy friends to be open with, to share my story with, to have one-on-one conversations with, at all!

During my teenage and early college years, I was a full-on introvert! To be honest, I liked being the loner for awhile. It did wonders for me during my high school days and early college years. I mean, no one bothered me, I could watch my current TV shows, I could be in my room and listen to music, and just be by myself.

I wasn’t a very good socializer, and I hated small talk. I would be afraid of trying to start up a conversation and stay within that topic. I would always be scared of people being bored with me or deciding never to talk to me again because I was the weirdo.

But I always had this desire for a group of my own guy friends who I could trust and be honest with.

C’mon! Everyone wants that, or has wanted that, and I bet you have to! Wanting a group of guy friends haunted me a little bit.

I totally idolized wanting a group of “manly men” to be my friends: me, this scrawny (spoiler alert: I have a skinny figure), introverted, homosexual, weirdo of a person — and I do have to emphasize the homosexual part, because I did lust after a few guys attending my church while also wanting to be their friend!

Seriously, in my younger days I didn’t even know how to go up to a person and actually start a conversation. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that; it was always someone coming up to me and starting it. Even at that point, I didn’t know what to say! It was very hard for me! Ugh, and don’t get me started if that person was GORGEOUS!

Man! Looking back now, I was kind of pathetic! Haha! Thank God, I decided to do something about it and force myself to talk to people, even if it was hard for me to do! I had to get past the social awkwardness, mostly embrace it, and have this mindset of not really caring what others thought about me. I had to work on this issue almost every day, disciplining myself to put myself out there and to know what to say and what not to say. Again, it was very hard for me to do.

Now, I don’t have to idolize wanting guy friends anymore, because I have this group of guys in my small group. I call them my buddies, and they’re by my side. Totally worth it!

I’ve found that, sometimes, embracing your personality, your awkwardness, whatever makes you you is the best thing you could do! For me, bluntness and awkwardness go hand-in-hand, and my friends love that about me! Also, having a different perspective on sexuality has its upside too, because you do have a different mindset from everyone else in the church!

Being around a group of guys who are very different than you with different personalities than you and different likes and dislikes than you can be scary! Opening yourself up to them, entrusting yourself to them is a scary feeling.

But if you find the right group of guys to befriend, it’s incredible! And the right group of guy friends will also be open with you, which is such a blessing as well!

As the Guys’ Night discussion of my life was ending and one of the guys was wrapping up his billion questions for me and what I dealt with (don’t worry, Michael, I was honored answering all your questions), a thought popped into my head. I was so grateful to even have a Guys’ Night, where not just me but all of us were open about our struggles. Some of us are currently in the process of healing from whatever we’re dealing with.

To be treated equal with my friends and not have that feeling of judgment bestowed upon me was such an exhilarating feeling. We guys became closer because of this night. We became brothers to each other, even more so than before!

At the end of the night, we gave each other hugs, encouraged each other, and prayed for one another, thanking God for the awesome time we’d just had. Into the chilling cold we went, and we all returned home from our Guys’ Night.

Do you have a group of guy friends or have Guys’ Nights? Is it hard to keep guy friends in your life? If you do have a group of guy friends, how have they benefited you, and how have you benefited them?

* Photo courtesy jblockphoto, Creative Commons.

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