When I was really young, I was really good friends with my neighbor who lived a few doors down. The kind of friends where if his mom said he couldn’t play before 9, at 8:59 I’m sitting on his doorstep.

I haven’t spoken to him in more than a decade.

What changed?

I became a man.

What does that mean?

I pick my friends very differently today from how I did back when I was a kid.

When you’re a child, the only thing that matters is proximity.

Is someone nearby you?

Chances are you’re going to be friends with them. You can’t drive, so every friend has to be within biking distance, by default.

It’s pretty much inconsequential what they think or care about, but it’s just because they’re close.

That’s why so many of your friends from when you were younger probably aren’t still your friends now. Just being near by isn’t enough for a man’s friendship.

Now that we’ve figured out how a child chooses friends, how does a man?

A man chooses his friends because of their values.

Proximity doesn’t matter at all, especially with the internet letting people have relationships all around the world.

I have a good friend from my childhood who I’m still friends with, and it’s because he’s smart, driven, kind and makes me a better person.

That’s a friend you keep.

I have another friend from the same neighborhood. Just as smart, but with a heroin problem.

The risk he brings into my life just plain isn’t worth it, so I’ve actively removed him from my life.

I’d been friends with him since 7th grade, and it was painful to cut such a long relationship off. Thinking about all the history we had, just poof, smoke.

But I did it.

Because that’s what being a man means: doing what you don’t want to, because it’s the right thing to do.

So ask yourself:

Johnny from Accounts Payable, your weekly golf buddy, is he in your life because he has values you respect and want in yourself, or is he just close.

Until next time,