A couple nights ago, my friend James passed me a piece by a sociology professor:
Of all people in America, adult, white, heterosexual men have the fewest friends. (Click to tweet this.)
Moreover, the friendships they have, if they’re with other men, provide less emotional support and involve lower levels of self-disclosure and trust than other types of friendships.
When men get together, they’re more likely to do stuff than have a conversation.
Apparently, I was on to something when I wrote this post a couple weeks ago.
We are busy. Everyone is. We wish we had more time with our friends, if we have any good ones.
Men need more real friends. (Click to tweet this.)
A little over a year ago, when I realized I did not have as many good friends or as many good conversations as I would like, I suspected I was not alone in this. So I decided to make something happen.
I started The Roundtable.
The Roundtable is a monthly conversation in a pub, bringing together thoughtful guys for good conversation.
The Roundtable has four rules, which keep us on target:
- No small talk.
- Don’t be a jerk.
- Keep it personal.
- Tip well.
Once a month, we show up right after work, buy a great beer (here), tip well, and then grab a seat.
I ask what’s on the agenda, and people share questions or topics, like:
- What do you regret?
- Where do you want to be in 10-years?
- Why don’t we have more and better friends?
- What effect has your father had on you?
- What is technology doing to us?
- How do you stay in love?
Guys I’ve invited have in turn invited others they know. Our regulars include James (my best friend in third grade), John (who I met at church), Kyle (a friend of John’s from work), Derek (in whose neighborhood I used to live), and Brian (the father of my daughter’s best friend). Last time, a new friend I met on a flight started coming. Others have floated in for a conversation or two.
We come from a variety of places—New York, Utah, Nebraska, Sheboygan.
We range in age from 23 to 48.
We hold a variety of worldviews—TBD, Christian (of various stripes), lapsed Unitarian, and “reluctant atheist.”
It’s only a couple hours each month, but last time we ended by all agreeing how much we look forward to it.
I think a lot of men would.
When James passed me the article mentioned above, he wrote, “Heard this on public radio the morning after The Roundtable. I think it highlights the importance of Mr. Jeske’s efforts in organizing this. Thanks, Adam.”
My pleasure. My friends’ gratitude for The Roundtable and that article have pushed me to go public with The Roundtable. It’s too good to not share.
First, if you’re in Madison, come to The Roundtable next month. We’ll split into a couple of tables. Let me know if you’re interested.
But more importantly, I want you to try to replicate The Roundtable. I’m looking for a few guinea pigs.
I’m looking for guys who can pull others together, lead The Roundtable in their neighborhood with their friends, and keep on track with The Rules.
If you want more time for better conversation with good friends, let’s try to replicate The Roundtable—post a comment below, tweet this, hit me up on Facebook, or email me. I’ll answer questions, explain more, and help out in anyway I can.
You should try it.
Your friends will thank you.
Nota bene: While in college, my friend James Wawrzyn started the Rathskellar Roundtable, for discussion of current events. I’m indebted to him for the general idea of The Roundtable (though I’ve redirected it a bit), as well as for teaching me how to tie a bow tie.
Warning: The Roundtable is not for everybody. Some guys aren’t willing or able to step into the depth. But I think a lot of guys wish they could have such conversations with such friends.