Monday, March 24, 2014

Strengthening Relationships with Men, by Dave Ehlert

A friend said he was having trouble making the transition from his longtime career to retirement in Asheville; and he believed that there must be other men facing the same challenge.  He was thinking of forming a small group to help others make a more satisfying transition.  I said I wasn't having any such problem but I'd be happy to help him get such a group started.

Professionals say that in order to successfully work through transition periods one must openly disclose, network socially, and be open to change.  Several times each month our group offers an opportunity to do precisely that---for men to bond, talk with each other, speak from the heart, and be caring and honest.

When I tell others we rarely talk about sex, football, politics, or religion, what I commonly hear is, "So what do you talk about?" Having pledged to each other that whatever is said in the room stays in the room, we talk about things that are important to us and our families---aging, illness or death in the family, moving to a new city, loss of a career or job, separation from children and grandchildren, and divorce.

Today, five years later, not only have my best friends come out of this group--and the friendships formed led to more contentment in retirement, but the things I've learned have also strengthened my relationships with family, spouse and children.

If you're looking for a practical way to connect with other men---to learn how to interact with other personalities and styles, a group such as this might be just what you've been looking for, without even knowing it.

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