Most same-sex attracted (SSA) Christian guys highly value and need male friendships, especially if they don’t expect to marry. More than a few SSA guys have told me they desire a male friend who is straight and masculine but compassionate.

My friend, James, fits that “alpha male” description.

For years, I have delayed writing the story of my friendship with James, partly because it is still ongoing and partly because he has affected me so deeply.

Ready or not, here I go.

Several other YOB authors have met James in person. Almost all the other authors joke with me about how often I mention him. He sometimes reads this blog and will probably read this post eventually, so I will not share anything here I wouldn’t say to his face.

There exists a picture of James dragging a 100-pound punching bag up a steep hill — just for exercise!

Another friend is walking up with him carrying about 90 pounds of weights.

This picture is a good representation of my friendship with James: I have to work hard just to keep up with him, and he continually challenges me to greater heights.

At times, it’s been emotionally and even physically painful to be this alpha male’s friend. But also enormously rewarding and well worth it!

I refer to James as an “alpha male” because he is a natural leader who many others, especially straight men, gladly follow. He’s an Enneagram Type 8 and a Myers-Briggs ENTJ.

I first got to know James when he was in high school. His SAT scores needed improvement, so his parents brought him into the tutoring center where I worked. They recognized me from the church we all attended and requested me as his SAT tutor.

As I worked with James, I discovered he was “a jock but not a jerk,” to modify a phrase from Tom Zuniga’s book.

James was a strong, confident football player, but he was not a bully who looked down on others.

While tutoring him, I asked him about his Christian faith. Since James was raised in church, he knew how to give all the right answers. Still, I questioned whether he was sincere.

Because he was my student, of course, I did not think of him as my friend back then. But James did leave a very positive overall impression on me.

Shortly after I finished teaching him, I moved 3,000 miles across the country to start over with a new job and a new life. I assumed I’d lose contact with him forever.

Eventually, I will tell the story of my moves across the US and all the connected adventures. But first, I will continue this story of how I did see James again.

And how we became friends.

Have you ever desired or had an “alpha male” type friend? How did that alpha male friendship affect you?

  • I should give examples of James as an alpha male leader so it is clear what I mean. Tonight he led a 2 hour outdoor workout session with a temperature of 20 degrees F (-7 C ) and snow on the ground! He had no trouble convincing 8 of us to participate. I don’t know anyone else
    who could have persuaded that many to do that. People just naturally want to follow his leadership.

  • I’ve desired to have an Alpha Male friend for such a long time. I’m still searching, but I’ve been unsuccessful. Hopefully one day in University I’ll find one.

    • Joseph, many SSA guys have told me the same thing. First look to God to meet your inner needs, then ask Him to give you the right friends.
      I really wasn’t searching for a friend like James when I found him. Most guys with his personality don’t have time for guys like me, emotional introverts. It surprised me that he wanted to be my friend. I hope you do find a friend like him!

  • ONE, read about wolves, watch “Adam Ruins Everything” – the alpha male is a social construct (as much as I HATE even using that phrase) and is something made up based on something wolves don’t even do.
    TWO, I totally get what you mean. I guess what my version of that would be the almost mythical sounding “Proverbs 31 woman” or at the very least the box people have her in. I have always had female friends that are more “girly” than me, to put it simply. And I tended to feel inferior because their ways seemed so mysterious to me lol. But same as you, as I came to know women who were typically more feminine than me but had so many other characteristics of said proverbs 31 woman and I was able to see some of those things in myself that I felt challenged to not box myself in either

    • Ashley, yes you do get it. James is strong in the masculine characteristics where I am weak, such as leadership, courage, decisiveness, strength of body, and strength of will. I have learned much from him and I have stopped saying, “I can’t.”

    • Hmmm, thank you for sharing your perspective. I have been wrestling with a question whether or not should I get involved in activities, into which straight men would jump in an instant (i.e., lifting weights, video games, strategic board games [I played Muchkins and by third time, I won. I quit for good ha], tag football) and start acting, even speaking (for me, signing, as I am Deaf) like those straight guys would.
      I appreciate your admission of not being more girly than those straight female friends, as it helps me realize that we – men – are not alone. I do have to admit though American society has double standard for men whereas the society is more lenient towards women who may wear men’s clothes (hence, the boyfriend’s jean) and wants to get involved in physical contact sport.
      Today, at work, I had a brief discussion with a Christian co-worker, who I considered to be out of mainstream, and she helped me see that we all – regardless of gender – have certain degree of masculinity & femininity in our signs (again, we all are Deaf). She pointed out that whenever I expressed my frustration, I signed more like a straight man, and that a hearing male co-worker at our workplace has feminism in his signs. She also shared that I have gentle tone in my signs, which stand out among straight men, and she admitted that she signs more masculine.
      That co-worker and I will have an ongoing conversation, as she has a gay Christian best friend.

      • Azael, yes, it has helped me to get involved in activities with my straight male friends. They encourage me to develop more of the masculine characteristics I need, such as courage and risk taking.

  • I met my first alpha friend at church two years ago. He was a new member, and had a checkered past of criminal activity and gang involvement. He had found God in prison. He is on fire for the Lord, and we did things that would be considered out of the mainstream of Christianity (like tacking up signs declaring our neighborhood belonging to God) (ours is not an ideal place to live). We barbecued, went to Hooters, ate chicken wings at Wingstop with all the guys. I trusted him so much I began to open up about my past.
    He listened intently, even comforting me when I talked about the death of my best friend. When I finished my spiel he asked if I still lived the gay life. I responded “Of course not.” He then said “Then you are a new creation. You can’t change your past, but you can live for tomorrow.” This from a guy covered in white pride tattoos, who spent two years in jail. This from a guy who could fix a car with a screwdriver and had no idea on how to make anything but chicken. This from a guy who thought a Velvet Elvis was high class art.
    A few months ago, he got a new job as a prison guard in Missouri. I didn’t want to see him go. I tried to be stoic about his leaving, even helping him load up the U-Haul. I knew that the Lord was working in his life, because a prison job would be nearly impossible with his past. I bawled like a baby when I had to tell him good bye. A few weeks ago, I filmed a video Christmas card for him, with season’s greetings from all his friends at church. He called me and he was crying this time, thanking me for the video. He is coming back for a visit in April. Can’t wait to see him!

    • Bradley, your friend does sound like James. James didn’t have a criminal past, but he was a church kid who became a “wild child” then had a dramatic conversion experience. He is also out of the mainstream.
      One example was that he is always reaching out to the homeless. When his parents wouldn’t let him have homeless people stay in their house, he let them stay in his truck. I could go on and on with stories about how out of the mainstream he is.

  • Jelymsp, I agree that most alpha males should be avoided. We should avoid them if we see they are selfishly using others for their own benefit, and unfortunately that is the case most of the time. My friend James was and is an exception. He is not perfect, but he usually uses his power of persuasion to point others to God and to help people.

  • Marshall

    Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. I seek to do that with great joy, because He is better than everything we give up! Also I want to love others in an unselfish way as Jesus taught. I currently do my best to live out that kind of love with 15 other friends on a farm near the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. I love talking about what really matters, and seeing a friend's heart turn from pain to joy, from fear to peace, and from despair to hope! My writing tends to focus on the topic of friendships with other guys. I have never married and am currently the oldest author on YOB.

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