There’s a misconception that solid, supportive friendships are the domain of women, and that men are more individualistic creatures with less interest in connecting with other guys.

Even when we, as men, realize that a bunch of good friends would be an amazing addition to our lives, building those friendships may not come naturally — because we’ve been shown a model of masculinity and maleness that keeps us separate from each other.

Let’s update that restrictive take on male friendship and embrace something else: being a modern gentleman.

As a gentleman you can build friendships with other guys that are free of tension, where you have each other’s backs, and where you contribute to each other’s lives in phenomenal ways. Here’s how:

You Be you

This has to be the first step. If you want to find friendships that are good for you, healthy and fun, you have to realize that you can’t have any of that while pretending to like things you don’t like or agreeing to do things you’re not that into.

Whenever you project an image of who you are just to fit in, you limit yourself and stay cut off from the real, awesome, authentic gentleman that you are — and you don’t give anyone else a chance to truly know you, either.

I recommend you drop the mask of whatever image you’re trying to project — whether you’re playing the role of one of the guys, or trying to appear more successful, or tough, or great with women, or admired by all. You don’t have to try, you just have to be. In fact — that’s the signature of a gentleman.

When you accept and like yourself exactly as you are, life is so much easier and lighter — and friendships are too.

Forget judgment and open your mind

The less judgment you place on yourself, the closer you get to finding and liking who you actually are. But it’s when you get out of the habit of judgment completely that you’re much more likely to make connections with people who will enhance and contribute to your life.

Why? Because judgment — which is deciding whether a person or a thing is good or bad, or right or wrong — is so, so restrictive and such a narrow way to live.

Consider this: how often have you made a judgment of a potential friend based on his appearance or his interests? Have you ever decided that you couldn’t be friends with someone because they were too loud, or too quiet? Or too rich, or too poor? Or too sporty, or too bookish?

We can find friends in some of the most unlikely places — don’t let your judgments limit you.

A few notes on competition and conflict

Some guys can get very caveman-esque around each other, especially when there’s female attention to fight for — and also when there isn’t! When they’re together in groups, a lot of men just want to be the loudest, or the funniest, or the bravest, or the strongest…they want to be the alpha.

Alphas give off heaps of tension because they’re always in fight mode — but that doesn’t mean you have to be. As a gentleman you can distill any male competitiveness you sense by not labeling the person or the behavior as bad, and by staying in neutral about it.

In fact, you can do this with any arguments or conflict you encounter. Rather than going into resistance or reaction, which only ever charges a situation up, take a moment and view the situation from a totally calm and neutral place by thinking:

Interesting point of view. I have this point of view.

Personally, I find just saying that in my head brings me the clarity to know whether or not a situation needs more of my attention. Most of the time, it doesn’t! And there’s never any drama or tension in my world — or my friendships.

Relax and let your barriers down

A lot of guys have this idea that if we show our real selves, including our flaws, our doubts, and our fears, we’ll put ourselves in a weaker position somehow. The ironic truth is that it’s when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we’re actually at our most powerful.

Vulnerability is about being the you behind the mask and being totally cool with that. In letting our barriers down, we become truly limitless — because we’ve realized that nothing is more powerful than we are, and that we have nothing to be afraid of. We become open books, and suddenly we’re like magnets — and that’s when the people who are going to contribute to our lives show up.

As a gentleman, you have the capacity to create the space where friendships with other guys can flourish if you choose to — so be you, find your tribe, and enjoy their company on this joyous ride we call life.

ROG Book Cover 188x300 - How to Build Great Friendships with Other MenDr. Dain Heer is a bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker. He is a co-creator and leading facilitator of Access Consciousness®, a personal development modality available in more than 170 countries that has contributed to changing the lives of tens of thousands of people, over the past 20 years. Dr. Heer draws upon his personal background and unique perspective to facilitate positive change in the world, and empower people from every culture, country, age and social strata to create the money, relationships and life they truly desire. For more information on his latest book, Return of the Gentleman, visit: https://drdainheer.com/rog/. You can also join the Facebook group here.