While trawling through the internet (as one does), I came across an advert featuring ‘the most interesting man in the world’. It was purely fictional but it got me thinking, what makes a man…well..a man? Truth is it’s not an exact science, life is ever evolving and what made sense 10 years ago may seem strange today, while some things remain timeless. One thing was apparent, you can’t slink through life in obscurity, continually taking the easy route, sometimes you just have to man up and grow a pair.
Demanding a raise. Getting up and dancing at a wedding instead of sitting at the table alone like a huge loser. No one is going to make you do these things. But you’d better make yourself do them when the opportunity arises — because you’ll regret it later if you don’t.
Big choices steer the paths of our lives, but it’s the little choices that determine if they’ll be lives that we can be proud of. AskMen.com polled their readers, contributors and staff about the tough things that they opted to do, even when it would have been easy to not do them.
If you do these things when confronted with them, you’ll be able to walk tall into your old age, your self-respect forever secured. If you shy away from them you will shrink into a teeny, feeble little mouse of a man. The old ladies in the retirement home will pity you and the old men will scoff at you. Here is the list, consider yourself warned!
1. Tell your buddy his girlfriend is not “The One.”
2. Hang out alone with your father-In-Law, instead of hiding behind your wife.
3. Do not go home with the ‘other’ woman.
4. Make the toast. The table is demanding it; don’t just stare at your chicken and wait for them to forget.
5. Learn how to ask for exactly what you want.
Learn how to ask for a haircut — or anything, for that matter. Too many good men get caught up in routines they’re afraid to break because they don’t know how to ask for what they want.
6. Go to an event alone and leave your smartphone at home.
Force yourself to talk to new people. Think a little less about showing everyone on Instagram that you’re having a good time and actually have a good time.
7. Call a sick friend.
You hear that a friend has a serious illness. The last thing you want to do is call him. That’s understandable: You’re busy and you have problems yourself. You don’t want to expend stress on a painful call. Anyway, what’s there to say to him? If he’s terminally ill, how can you cheer him up? Even if he’s got a chance, you might end up blurting out the wrong thing.
But you have to call, or at least email. Even if he doesn’t reply because he can’t face the conversation, it will still cheer him up to know you’re there for him. If he does reply, let him talk. Ask him how he’s doing, offer to do something — buy him a drink, walk his dog — but mostly just listen. Perhaps he doesn’t want to talk about his illness. He might have done enough of that already. Maybe he wants to talk about girls or good times you’ve had together. Let him guide you.
If he doesn’t want a heavy conversation, then don’t start to emote; let him emote if he wants to but don’t make him deal with your feelings. Your only job is to be his friend.
8. Sing karaoke solo.
Of course you have a crap voice — isn’t that the point?
9. Start and finish a race that may actually kill you.
We’re not talking Hunger Games here… but maybe try a mini marathon.
10. Look them in the eye.
Nobody remembers the shoegazer.
11. Buck up and go talk to the girl that everyone’s looking at.
12. Just jump already.
A group of your friends are on vacation in Hawaii. After hiking all morning along the coastal cliffs, you come to a breathtaking waterfall. You’re all standing at the edge, watching locals jump down to the clear blue swimming hole below. It’s paradise. It’s also a pretty far drop. Now is the time to tell your responsible internal monologue to keep quiet. Just jump. Don’t be the guy standing at the edge, nervously eyeing the drop while your friends tread water and taunt you from below. Be one of the first guys in. You’ll experience a split second of fear followed by pure, rare euphoria.
13. Stand up for the little guy.
Stand up for something or someone when everyone else in the room is silent.
14. Kick that terrible friend to the curb.
You know the guy we’re talking about. He’s not doing you any good. Time to say Adios.
15. Have your Hangover night.
16. Never, Ever Break A Promise.
17. Send a woman a drink from across the bar.
You’ve told people you’ve done it. You’ve actually never done it. Time to do it.
18. Choose “Dare” instead of “Truth.”
19. Eat At A Restaurant Alone.
20. Bribe the bouncer.
There’s not a single woman who wants to wait in line, so bring enough bills to close the deal.
21. Be brutally honest.
‘As a labour lawyer, I am utterly amazed at the number of men who cannot face another man and have a frank conversation about the other person’s shortcomings. I have lost count of the number of times I have had CEOs, managers, business owners, etc. call me looking to terminate an employee who they’ve been dissatisfied with forever but have never told what they need to do to improve. I see it in my own profession, as well. My vote for Tough Things is: Be honest with someone, even when you know it may hurt; I don’t mean angry honest. I mean sincere, sensitive honest. In my view, you owe it to the person and most actually appreciate it.’
22. Demand a higher salary.
When you’re starting a new job, don’t just accept the first salary offer. They won’t respect you as much if you do. Don’t be antagonistic, but know that if they’re offering you a job, it means they want you. Due to budget demands, they will try to lowball your salary, but they almost always have some wiggle room. Do the dance and find out how much room there really is.
23. Don’t cheat on her.
Being faithful to your wife for years and years is very tough for men.
24. Pull a Ferris Bueller.
You may not have a Ferrari, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a day off.
25. Unfriend Your Ex.
She’s not coming back. You won’t be able to perv over her pics anymore, but you’ll send her the right message.
26. Say “I’m sorry.”
You may feel a slight sting. That’s pride messing with you. Pride only hurts. It never helps.
27. Have that weird conversation where you tell your parents you appreciate them.
28. Blow off your girlfriend to hang out with your friends.
29. Blow off your friends to hang out with your girlfriend.
30. Open a beer without a bottle opener.
Yep, you may have to use your teeth.
31. Cook for an entire dinner party. Don’t outsource.
Being able to cook for yourself is a given. Cooking for yourself and a woman is a useful skill. But cooking for a crowd, and making it look easy (or at least not making a big show of how hard it was), is the mark of a skillful man. Everyone notices this skill. No one fails to appreciate it. The food doesn’t even need to be elaborate, but it does have to be delicious.
32. No condom = no sex.
We told you these were going to be tough things.
33. Fire a gun.
Just not at another person. It’s a great way to blow off some steam.
34. Cut In On A Dance.
35. Take control in a bad situation.
Channel your inner John McClane.
36. Play To Win.
37. Be a mentor.
38. Get over being dumped with dignity.
39. Say yes to a spontaneous road trip.
Everyone else had things to do this weekend too. Just get in the car.
40. Sit at the high-Roller table.
Because no one ever brought an unbelievable story back from the $5-dollar table.
41. Take the heat.
This is a tough one because you have to go out of your way to take the blame for someone else. That and getting a reaming is never fun. Why take the heat for someone else? Maybe they don’t deserve the blame. Maybe they can’t take another strike against them. Maybe they’re not tough enough to take it. But you are — and that’s the point. It doesn’t matter if it’s a colleague who’s been overworked and made a stupid mistake or a buddy who needs some help fixing things with his girlfriend — sometimes you have to get in front of them and take that bullet.
42. Work, No Matter What.
‘In order to make ends meet, I had to chase after a dozen jobs that had nothing to do with my profession. But by picking up some labour gigs rather than asking for a loan, I was able to keep myself afloat independently.’ Working, no matter what, can be hard and nerve-racking, but it motivates you to focus on your real career goal. And you have to keep on paying the rent and eating food if you’re going to keep on dreaming.
43. Give A Eulogy.
44. Share your real fantasies with her.
Well, maybe not that one.
45. Keep your annual checkup annual.
46. Know when your pursuit is getting creepy.
Accept that if a girl doesn’t like you or you aren’t getting good vibes back from her, it’s better to leave it alone.
47. Throw her a surprise party.
You will have to call her friends. Even her crazy friend.
48. Pull your weight with the kid.
Every man should raise a child. It’s one of the toughest things you can do. There will be bodily fluids (and solids) on your skin, your clothes, your car, your home and anywhere else you take the little destructive force. You will not get enough sleep. Your social schedule may not survive the early years. Your relationship with your spouse/significant other will be strained and require major adjustment. You may go gray and all that sleep deprivation isn’t going to help your looks. But the sacrifices required to raise a child will refine your character in ways nothing else can, and it’s more than worth it in the end.
49. Invest — financially — in something you believe in.
Put your money where your mouth is.
50. Be a good Samaritan.
Nobody likes a bad Samaritan.
51. Experience being debt-Free.
52. Be in the delivery room for the birth.
53. Get in a fistfight.
Do this even if for no other reason than to really learn why fighting is rarely the answer.
54. Be On Time.
55. Refuse to tip the bad waiter.
And explain why you didn’t when he stops you at the door.
56. Break up like a man.
‘When it comes to relationships, few things scare guys as much as breaking up. Some men just don’t like conflict while others have an innate fear of being the bad guy and causing pain to someone they care about. I fall into the latter category.’
‘When I was 22 (I’m now 30), this fear, this aversion to causing pain, led me to stay in a relationship long after I’d realized that the woman I was with was not right for me. I stayed so long that we got mired deeply in each other’s lives. Because I wasn’t happy, I turned snarky and resentful, picking fights and looking for excuses to leave. I became emotionally distant, and, eventually, I forced my girlfriend into a situation where she had to break up with me for her own sanity. In a weird way, it allowed me to “escape” without being the bad guy, but in retrospect I realize that the extra six months we spent together didn’t do either of us any good and probably prevented us from being friends down the line. If I had to do it over again, I would face the issue like a man and tell her that I just didn’t see it working and that we’d learned a lot from one another but it was time to part.’
57. Eat what you’re served.
58. Drink what you’re served.
It doesn’t matter where, but give time to others.
60. Defend your woman in public.
You will always carry the shame if you don’t.
61. Make a new “man-Friend” as an adult.
And we’re not talking about your wife’s friend’s husband.
62. Tell your kid when you’re proud.
63. Change your own tyre.
Emergency services are for little old ladies
64. Admit that you’re wrong.
65. Say no to sex with an ex.
Don’t reheat the old pizza.
66. Be your own man.
We should not seek acceptance from others to validate our own identities. As a teenager, it was about fitting in; as a grown man, life is about being who you really want to be. When we become comfortable enough in our own skin, we stop trying to impress our friends, family and women. We become removed from the superficial and evolve into our own unique individual, our own man.
For more visit uk.askmen.com